Pirates’ first opportunity on goal came as early as the eighth minute after Dennis Masina found himself in some space 12 yards out, but he miscued his shot woefully wide. Five minutes later they had their second attempt on goal. This time the Aces keeper Oscar Ramogoadi was at his best to deny Rooi Mahamutsa from close range.
Ramogadi certainly had to be alert again in the 18th minute when he made another fine save when Mabalane tried his luck from just inside the box.
Chances were few and far between for Aces, with Lindokuhle Mbatha firing over after being set up by Madoda Motha.
Motha nearly scored himself nine minutes later when he drove into the box, beating a couple of players before getting off his shot from just inside the box. Moeneeb Josephs did brilliantly, producing the save of the match, diving full stretch to his right to tip the shot around the post.
The second 45 minutes saw Bucs apply the pressure and it was only a matter of time before the visitors crumbled.
Eventually in the 62nd minute the pressure told as Mabalane struck Pirates in front from ten yards out after a goalmouth scramble.
Try as they may, Aces could not break down the formidable defence of the Buccaneers and were reduced to shooting from long range with very little success.
The game ended 1-0 and Pirates earned themselves another three points which sees them maintain their place at the top of the Absa Premiership.