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Bush Bucks Break Birds' Rand Record 09/04/05
Bush Bucks ended Moroka Swallows' 22-month unbeaten record at the Rand Stadium when they scored a thrilling 3-2 victory in a Castle Premiership game played on Saturday afternoon.

On the day it was Imbabala's desperation to avoid being relegated which seemed to give them the edge over their hosts.

It was Bush Bucks who enjoyed the better of the first half as they took the game to their hosts, who had goal keeper Greg Etafia to thank for keeping the score-line down.

Imbabala's first chance came in the 14th minute when a great through ball from Edmore Mashiri saw Simo Dlaldla burst through on goal, only for his rather weak shot to be blocked by the legs of Etafia.

A few seconds later the big Nigerian again denied Bucks, this time by moving smartly off his line to intercept the ball from Bulelani Matroos.

The visitors continued to look sharp, while the Birds had very little to show from the first half.

Bucks' dominance finally paid of in the 43rd minute when Matroos sneaked in at the back post from a corner to squeeze his header over the line for the opening goal.

Imbabala should have had a second just before the half-time break when a great move involving Mashiri and Matroos saw the ball pulled back to Sibusiso Mazibuko, who missed an open goal from only 10-yards out.

The advent of the second stanza saw Swallows coach Gavin Hunt bring on Pitso Lekone and Alois Ngwerume in the place of Edzai Kasinauyo and Dennis Lota respectively as the Dube Birds sought to score the goal that would keep their unbeaten record at the Rand Stadium in tact.

Hunt's decision proved to be a good one as Ngwerume popped up at the back post to equalise after a good run down the right flank by Cecil Oerson.

The game seemed to be headed for a 1-1 draw, until a flurry of action in the final 10 minutes saw the outcome swing from one way to the other.

Firstly, Bucks thought they had gone in front in the 80th minute when Dlaldla beat Etafia with an angled shot, only to have the goal disallowed for off-sides.

However, just a minute later Bucks substitute Agent Sawu made a strong run down the left flank, beating Etafia and then doing well to finish off the move, putting the visitors back in front.

However, the Birds fought back to equalise when Oerson turned in Shaun Permall's square ball in the 84th minute.

But Imbabala, who were playing for the Castle Premiership survival, were not finished yet as Mashiri brilliantly slid in at the back post in the 88th minute to convert Jonathan Armogam's cross, much to the joy of coach Professor Ngubane and the Bucks supporters in the crowd.

The result sees Bucks finally able to move off the foot of the table, while Swallows remain fourth.

By Anthony McLennan

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