/ 9 January 2011

Birds throw away first win

Moroka Swallows were left devastated as the last movement of the game saw the visiting Free State Stars equalise to secure a 1-1 draw in their Absa Premiership match at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday evening.

Swallows were agonisingly close to the first victory of their campaign when they were denied the three points by a stunning late header from Stars defender Sipho Nkosi.

The Birds remain in second last position on the log, only ahead of Mpumalanga Black Aces through a superior goal difference.

Swallows nearly showed that persistence can win games in a scrappy encounter that saw them eventually convert one of their countless chances.

New signing Bradley Ritsan gave the hosts the lead in the 68th minute in a match that was looking destined to remain goalless.

The Birds dominated the first half, creating a number of good chances. They dominated the game from the start and kept the ball well.

However, the home side failed to convert any of their chances and will rue their missed opportunities.

As early as the 12th minute Swallows should have scored the opening goal when new midfield signing Lloyd Ramokala found himself in plenty of space in the Stars box. With only Stars goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene in his path, Ramokala fired his effort against the crossbar.

Ramokala was again guilty of not converting a solid opportunity in the 35th minute when he got in behind the Stars defence but sent his shot wide.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 68th minute when Ritsan’s powerful header from an in-swinging cross gave Mweene no chance in the Stars goal.

Birds keeper Greg Etafia was sent off in the 84th minute after receiving his second yellow card which gave the Swallows management a few headaches in the dying minutes.

Substitute goalkeeper Aubrey Mathibe came on to see out the remainder of the game.

Nkosi got one past Mathibe in the last minute of extra time when he latched on to a cross with a well-timed header and found the back of the net. – Sapa