/ 16 January 2011

Birds swoop to first premier league win

After 14 games, Moroka Swallows finally provided a measure of relief to their long-suffering supporters at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday afternoon by beating Wits 1-0 and recording their first Premier Soccer League win of the season.

However, the belated success of the once highly-vaunted Dube club, which eases the Birds away from bottom position on the log was anything but convincing.

The two teams have a long-standing reputation for producing the weird, bizarre and sometimes wonderful in their match-ups — and the latest encounter proved no exception.

Both sides were awarded penalties in the last quarter of the game, with former Bafana Bafana star Siyabonga Nomvethe barely sneaking the ball into the corner of the net from his spot-kick for Swallows’ all-important goal in the 65th minute.

Ultimately Swallows barely deserved their success as a result of what Wits captain Junaid Mashanaite conceded was “a performance from a team that seemed hungrier than us to emerge with the three points”.

Everything is relative and while Swallows remain in second-bottom position on the log, a good number of points behind the third last club, the victory was greeted by officials, supporters and indeed the players alike as though it had heralded the winning of the league title.

Gordon Igesund was literally lifted towards the heavens by admiring fans. The recently-appointed coach seems to have made a significant difference in inserting a greater degree of tenacity and determination into the team’s play.

Wits, however, could well have gone into the interval with the lead, but for a superlative save from Swallows goalkeeper Aubrey Mathibe, who edged a ferocious 30-metre drive over the crossbar.

The breakthrough goal came like a bolt out of the blue and the Swallows camp held their collective breath as Nomvethe approached his spot-kick. But to the relief among the Birds’ fans in the 4 000-strong crowd, Nomvethe was on-target.

Swallows appeared motivated by the goal and for 15 minutes afterwards came close to increasing their lead. – Sapa