Smash and grab Birds beat Bucs

Pirates and Swallows were level at 1-1 at half-time thanks to a Lantshane Phalane drive and an Oupa Manyisa penalty.

Phalane's 30-yard shot took a big deflection off Siyabonga Sangweni before sailing past a stranded Senzo Meyiwa in the Pirates goal.

Pirates pulled level when Kermit Erasmus was fouled by Rudi Isaacs in the area and Manyisa beat Greg Etafia from the spot. But Lerato Chabangu had the last say, scoring a brilliant winner to snatch three points for the Birds.

A general theme of the first half saw the Buccaneers dominating possession and controlling the play until stout defending from Wits wins the ball back, trying to counter quickly.

Siyabonga Nomvete and co. were caught offside on a number of occasions, while Bucs created several chances after they pulled level but Erasmus and Daine Klate could not add to the scoreline, with Etafia in fine form to deny them.

Man of the Match Etafia was having an immense night in the Swallows goal and produced another vital save in the second half as Erasmus went one-on-one with him for the second time after being slipped on by Makola.

Makola, who was having a good game in general as he combined well with Erasmus, then missed a sitter from seven yards out as Erasmus put it on a plate for him, but with the ball taking a bobble, he could only shin it high and over the bar.

Then came the moment Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic was dreading as Swallows substitute Shere Lekgothoane broke down the left before crossing to another substitute, Chabangu, who smashed home a sublime winner.

Chabangu controlled the ball instantly before moving the ball quickly from his right to left foot, leaving Sangweni beaten and confused, and poking the ball with his left toe into the roof of the net.

Pirates threw Lehlohonolo Majoro on towards the end as they chased the game, and he had a very late penalty appeal waved away, but it was too little too late as Bucs were punished for several missed chances throughout the game.