Swallows earn hard-fought win
Posted: 24 February 2010 Time: 22:32
Moroka Swallows earned a hard fought 1-0 victory over the struggling Platinum Stars in an Absa Premiership match played at Dobsonville Stadium on Wednesday night thanks to a solitary strike by Siyabonga Nomvete in the 37th minute.
Platinum Stars went into this game as underdogs after collecting only three points out of a possible 12 in their last four matches and were regarded as sheep going into the slaughterhouse.
With Swallows being unbeaten in their last five games, including one CAF Confederation Cup match, no one would have blamed the masses thinking the Soweto lads would hold the upper hand and it was not the other way round.
Playing at home, Swallows were in a mean mood as they exerted pressure but they seemed to run out of ideas on entering their opponents’ goal area. And their supporters and technical staff must have been devastated when they failed to convert what they created.
Nomvete, who was a constant thorn to the visitors’ defence, could have put his side ahead in the 26th minute but his goal-bound attempt was blocked by Stars’ Raymond Seneo, much to the disappointment of coach Rainer Zobel
The 37th minute brought the stadium to its feet when Ritchie’s crisp cross to Nomvethe saw the latter chest trapping the ball before unleashing a powerful left footed shot to stab it home and give his side the much awaited lead.
The goal did wonders for the game as Platinum Stars were forced to come out of their slumber and try some attacking options.
But the main problem on the night was how to get past Ashraf Hendricks and company in the Swallows’ defence.
Stars had Bradley Grobler and Henrico Botes upfront and the two found the going tough as their supply was quickly dealt with by Lefa Tsutsulupa and Ramahlwe Mphahlele in midfield where Vaughn Miller and Joseph Malongoane operated.
Botes could have equalised for his team, but his attempt in the 40th minute went wide with Greg Etafia in no-man’s-land.
The half time score was 1-0 to Swallows.
Coming from the break, both sides showed great determination, attacking each other from all angles but their rearguards stood firm.
Stars’ Kagiso Senamela had a chance to score in the 61st minute but his shot went over the bar.
As if not to be outdone, Nomvete also failed to score his second for the day when he shot wide in the 67th and 70th minutes respectively.
From that moment, Platinum Stars were impressive on their forward forays with Malongoane and Senamela orchestrating the proceedings as Swallows offered little resistance and retreated amid the onslaught but their defence stood firm. Keeper Etafia also remained defiant and the status quo remained until full time.