Swallows ended their 13-year trophy drought when they came from behind to beat Manning Rangers 3-1 in the ABSA Cup final at the Vodacom Park Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Swallows came from behind to beat Manning Rangers 3-1 in the ABSA Cup final at the Vodacom Park Stadium on Sunday.
Goals by Lungisani Ndlela, Samuel Ngobeni and Dennis Lota ensured Swallows their first trophy in 13 years after Kerryn Jordan had given Rangers an early lead.
Gavin Hunt's side struggled to find their rhythm early on, while Rangers made their intentions clear from the offset.
The Birds found themselves 1-0 down after just five minutes when defender Rufus Mokoti was harshly adjudged to have fouled Rangers' Edson Minga inside the area, but the referee showed no hesitation as he pointed to the spot.
Rangers and former Swallows striker Kerryn Jordan stepped up to send goalkeeper Conrad Hendricks the wrong way to become the leading scorer in the competition with six goals to his credit.
The goal spurred Swallows into action and the Swallows side deservedly equalised after 12 minutes when Ndlela rose highest to head Marc MacVeigh's corner past Maulers stopper Chad Harpur.
Steve Komphela's men almost restored their lead three minutes later when Alton Meiring fired his edge of the area free-kick just wide of the near post following Peter Petersen's foul on Jordan.
The Birds threatened from another corner in the 26th minute when Warren Lewis' goalbound header was cleared off the line by Frank Schoeman.
However, Swallows were in total control of the match for most of the first stanza and almost made it 2-1 in the 30th minute when Gabriel Mofokeng ran onto a neat pass from McVeigh to dribble past two defenders, but the lanky midfielder's shot just grazed the outside of the far post.
The rest of the first half was a scrappy affair as both sides failed to threaten the other's goal, with the possession continuously being lost in the middle of the park.
Swallows got the second half underway and immediately went on attack, unfortunately for the Birds Edzai Kasinauyo could not reach Lota's long ball to the left wing.
Kasinauyo went close after 65 minutes when he latched onto Petersen's curling cross, but the winger's powerfully struck volley was brilliantly saved at the near post by Harpur.
The shot by Kasinauyo and the save by Harpur seemed to spur on their respective teams as the match came alive again with both sides throwing caution to wind as they went in search of victory.
Swallows should have taken the lead after 77 minutes when Ngobeni headed Goodman Mazibuko's lob back across goal for the onrushing Ndlela, but the striker headed over the bar from just six yards out.
However, the Birds were not to be denied and duly took the lead eight minutes later when Shaun Permall beat the offside trap to surge into the area from the right flank before playing a square ball past Harpur to Ngobeni, who tapped the ball into an empty net for his fourth goal of the competition.
Rangers then had captain Frank Schoeman sent off for using abusive language towards referee Bennett.
And matters got worse for the Maulers a minute later when Swallows were awarded a penalty after Ngobeni was brought down inside the area, and striker Lota stepped up to send Harpur the wrong way for his third goal of the competition and hand Swallows a thoroughly deserved 3-1 victory.