Lungisani 'Masinga' Ndlela scored his first top-flight hat-trick and helped Moroka Swallows overcome Zulu Royals 4-2 at the Rand Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Ndlela struck in the 1st, 43rd and 53rd minutes in a six goal encounter as Swallows soared to fourth place on the Castle Premiership table.
The Birds are now four points behind the leaders Santos who have amassed 43 points and the Soweto team is still in contention for league honours.
Six minutes after Ndlela opened the scoring former Orlando Pirates striker Dennis Lota made certain of his opportunity.
Royals were not to be outdone and in the 23rd minute Jackie Ledwaba headed home after ex-Kaizer Chiefs winger Robson Muchichwa's cross found Ivan Zwane and the defender headed the ball to Ledwaba who made no mistake from inside the 18-yard area.
Ndlela increased the Birds lead to two goals after Royals keeper Gareth Ormshaw mishandled a corner kick and the gangly striker pounced on the former Hellenic stopper's error.
Swallows went into the break with a comfortable 3-1 lead.
Usuthu pressed on early in the second half and Zwane provided Ledwaba, the leagues top goal scorer on 10, with his second of the game within a minute of the restart.
The slender lead did not seem to go down well with Ndlela who again showed his prowess in the air.
Mark McVeigh found the 24-year old rookie with a good cross from the right and Ndlela made no mistake to register his hat-trick with a well-placed header.
Royals suffered their 12th loss of the season and with only 15 points are favourites to be relegated while Swallows, on their 12th win, seem intent to finish off better than their 4th placed finish last season.