A brace from striker Tebelo Mofokeng gave Steve Komphela’s side the points that saw them leapfrog Swallows into 10th place, while Fabian McCarthy needlessly received his marching orders for two bookings late on.
Ea Lla Koto started like a runner out of the race blocks in a 100-metre dash. The Birds, on the other hand, still looked to be asleep in their nests, but they were rudely awoken when Mofokeng scored the game’s opening goal in the fourth minute, 1-0.
It was Free State’s only real chance of the half and they made the best of it. The goal, however, sparked Swallows into life, with their captain Lefa Tsutsulupa taking control of the midfield and dictating play.
Stars were basically non-existent in attack for the rest of the half as the Birds applied constant pressure on their goal. But what was clearly evident for the entire first 45 was the commitment and dedication of Stars defence, who laid their hearts and bodies on the line to protect their lead.
Tshegofatso Mashego, in particular, was the emblem of effort for Ea Lla Koto as he threw his body in front of a Mark Haskins shot in 31st minute that was definitely goal bound.
Haskins nearly scored two minutes later when he curled a free-kick around the Stars defensive wall, but Kennedy Mweene was at hand to deny him with a fine save, punching the ball over the crossbar for a corner.
The best equalising chance of the half definitely fell to Sandile Ndlovu, who found himself with the ball only six yards out from goal, but his shot was also fantastically blocked by a diving Mweene.
Swallows started the second half determined to find the goal that would bring them back into the game. They were constantly on the attack, pouring players forward in attack and there was always a chance they could be hit on the counter-attack.
Mofokeng basically wrapped up matters in the 73rd minute when he scored his second goal after Sanele Mabaso broke down the right flank and supplied an inch perfect cross for Mofokeng to finish, 2-0.
The Birds’ problems were compounded when defender McCarthy was given his marching orders in the 90th minute after receiving his second yellow card.
Courtesy of Backpagepix