United put up a stubborn defence and capitalised on Arrows' two lapses in defence. Abafana Bes'thende dominated the early exchanges of the half but they failed to create any clear-cut chances in front of goal.
It was destined to be a half full of frustration which was highlighted in third minute when Richard Henyekane broke down the left flank before cutting back inside to deliver a telling ball to the far post.
The cross was met by the head of Thokozani Meshengu who headed the ball across the face of goal only needing a slight touch to nudge it over the goal line, but no one was there to meet it.
Bay United's tactics were clear from the out set; they packed the middle of the park with players and tried to suffocate the Arrows midfield by restricting their movements and not allowing them to play those dangerous through-balls.
Arrows dominated possession and created one of their best chances in the 20th minute when Nhlanhka Zothwane pulled the best out of Arthur Bartman. Zothwane latched onto a good pass on the right side of the box and let fly from about 16 yards, but the United keeper was up to the task as he dove full stretch to his left to tip the ball around the post for a corner.
Despite their dominance it was United who went ahead in the 30th minute snatching their only decent opportunity with both hands. A deep ball from the right was completely missed by the Abafana Bes'thende defence and found its way to Gareth Ncaca arriving late in the box. Ncaca finished expertly, firing the ball home powerfully into the roof of the net from eight yards out, 1-0.
Arrows responded almost immediately three minutes later when Mshengu found the equaliser in a very similar manner. A cross came in from the right and Njabulo Manqanya rose above the defence to header the ball back across the face of goal to find Mshengu arriving late in the box who also finished superbly, thumping the ball into the corner of the goal from six yards out, 1-1.
The men from Durban should have gone ahead in the 39th minute when Mshengu ran onto a good through-pass down the right before cutting the ball back into the box to find Zothwane, but he rushed his shot and squandered the chance firing the ball high and wide when he should have at least hit the target.
The last bit of action in the half came from United when Jimmy Zakazaka put Helton Da Rocha to the test a minute before the break. Zakazaka hit a low dipping shot from 22 yards, but Da Rocha played it save tipping the ball over the bar for a corner.
Arrows started the second half the way they began the first; on top and dominating possession. Again, Abafana Bes'thende played some pretty football with some eloquent passing movements but they continued to fail to produce a good scoring opportunity.
Henyekane came closest to coring for Arrows in the second half when he forced Bartman into another fantastic save in the 74th minute. Henyekane let fly from about 25 yards out and the United keeper was at full stretch to palm the ball over the bar.
Six minutes from the end of time Abafana Bes'thende were made to rue their missed opportunities as Cyril Nzama handed the United fans an early Christmas present.
Ncaca hit a thunderbolt of a free-kick from 30 yards out that was headed towards the top corner, Arrows keeper Da Rocha dove high to his left to palm the ball away from goal, but he only succeeded in pushing the ball into the path of Nzama who latched onto the rebound to head his side in front, 2-1.
The game ended 2-1 to Bay United and Patrick Mayo received the Man of the Match award for his heroic performance in defence.
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