Morgon Shivambu opened the scoring for the Birds, before Fadlu Davids got one back for United. Davi Rancan then stole the late winner for the home side.
United were dealt a blow in the 64th minute when Bryce Aka was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Sibusiso Khumalo was the first to test the young United keeper, Tashrique Goldman, in his first PSL match, when he let fly with a casual shot from 30 yards out that was headed to the top corner, but Goldman was up to the challenge as he tipped the ball over the bar for a corner.
Maritzburg looked the better team controlling possession and playing some nice football. They were continuously on the attack producing good crosses into the box but no one was there to meet them. The Birds, on the other hand, sat back in defence, soaked up the pressure and tried to hit on the counter.
Although United had the lion's share of possession it was Swallows that created the best chances in front of goal.
In the 12th minute the Soweto side broke down the right flank with a good through-ball from the back to Sandile Ndlovu who strode forward and hit the inside of the left post from only 12 yards out.
United managed to create their first decent chance on goal in the 20th minute after a quick one-two put Dhladhla one-on-one with Swallows' keeper, Greg Etafia. Etafia was out quickly to deny Dhladhla who could only shoot against the chest of the Birds number one.
Morgan Shivambu grabbed the game's opening goal in the 33rd minute after beautiful counter-attack by the Dube Birds. David Radebe showed some great vision to find Lefa Tsutsulupa open on the right flank who produced a perfect cross for Shivambu to header home from only six-yards out, 1-0.
In the second half United had numerous chances to draw level, especially Dhladhla who squandered a couple of golden opportunities in front of goal.
In the 51st minute a nice passing movement by Maritzburg allowed Dhladhla to find himself with the ball at his feet 16 yards out from goal, but his shot hit the side netting when he should have done better.
In the 64th minute Maritzburg's fans must have thought a win impossible when they were reduced to ten men after Brice Aka was sent of by referee Buyile Gqubule for receiving a second yellow.
However, despite losing a man United showed some real heart when they equalised only two minutes later through substitute Fadlu Davids. A cross came in from the right and as Etafia came to collect it Davids snuck in front of him to header the ball into an empty net, 1-1.
Dhladha should have grabbed his side's second goal two minutes later as Tony Tsabedze broke down the left wing and cut the ball back for Dhladhla to shoot, but he hit his shot straight at Etafia who did well to hold onto to it.
From the scoring of the game's second goal, action went to-and-fro, from goal mouth to goal mouth. Young Goldman probably pulled off one of the saves of the season in the 73rd minute when he denied Kagiso Denge, diving full stretch to his right to tip his shot over the cross-bar for a corner.
The hearts of the Maritzburg players must have sank when Davi Rancan snatched a goal in the 89th minute, which proved to be the winner. A cross came in from the right and Rancan managed to sneak in front of the United defence to finish acrobatically past Goldman, 2-1.
The Birds picked up a vital three points and they will be looking to continue this form into the next couple of weeks, hopefully putting themselves back in contention for the league title.
Report by Backpage