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PREVIEWS & REPORTS

Celtic hold Swallows to draw


Moroka Swallows? woes continued on Sunday when they were held to a 0-0 draw by high-flying Bloemfontein Celtic in a Castle Premiership match at the Johannesburg Stadium.

Going into the match with his team needing nothing but a win, Gavin Hunt?s boys started well with a powerfully-struck header by pint-sized Evans Gwekwerere in the fifth minute but the defence kept the ball out.

'Phunya Sele Sele' were impressive despite missing the services of Moses Spandeel, Gary Goldstone, Lebohang Kukame and captain John Maduka through injuries. They passed the ball well and defended in numbers.

Spurred by their vociferous supporters, Celtic tormentor Patrick Malokase's well-taken free-kick was parried away by goalkeeper Greg Etafia, who came in for Aubrey Mathibe.

Lesotho international Lebajoa Mphongoa exposed Swallows? sloppy defence when he outran them from a deep position but his cross went straight into the hands of Etafia.

In the 13th minute, Celtic nearly scored when bulky defender Timothy Batabaire?s header was once again parried away by Etafia from a corner.

Still trying to please their fans, Swallows failed to capitalise after winger Cecil Oersen was fouled just outside the penalty box, and veteran Lovers Mohlala's shot was blocked by the Celtic defence.

If there was one player who rose to the occasion for Swallows, that player was offensive midfielder Sibusiso Themba, who gave a virtuoso performance.

His combination with evergreen midfielder Lefa Tsutsulupa was something to write home about. However, a lack of composure in the box by tall striker Hendrico Botes cost them dearly when he failed to connect from Oersen's cross to the dismay of the Swallows supporters.

Swallows upped their game in the second half but could not penetrate the Celtic defence, marshaled by Batabaire.

Feeling the pinch, Hunt brought in striker Songwe Chalwe but he also found the going tough.

The introduction of Thapelo Liau, Petrus Mahlatsi and Jurry Merahe for Malokase, the injured Mphongoa and Ntokozo Sikhakhane made Celtic look more dangerous but Swallows defended well and the game eventually ended in a goalless draw.

Swallows (4-4-2): Greg Etafia, Patrick Mabedi, Lovers Mohlala, Tebogo Monyai, Bevan Fransman, Sibusiso Themba (Mark Haskins 67), Bongani Mbhele, Lefa Tsutsulupa, Cecil Oersen (Sibusiso Dlamini 83) Evans Gwekwerere, Hendrico Botes (Songwe Chalwe 53)

Coach: Gavin Hunt

Celtic:(4-5-1): Posnet Omany, Jamaes Madidilane, Thabo Nthethe, Timothy Batabaire, Sashi Chalwe, Abram Nteo, Patrick Malokase (Jurry Merahe 71), Ntokozo Sikhakhane (Thapelo Liau 68), Carlo Scott, Kleenbooi  Taaibos, Lebajoa Mphongoa (Petros Mahlatsi 78)

Coach: Tony De Nobrega

Referee: Charl Theron

Yellow cards: Sikhakhane 18, Oreson 29, Nteo 45, Madidilane 87

By Patrick Baloyi/Backpagepix

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Sunday, January 28
Castle Premiership

Swallows v Premier United 
Kick-off: 3.45pm
Venue: Germiston Stadium

January 20
Castle Premiership
Draw 0-0 v Pirates
Venue: Ellis Park

January 14
Castle Premiership
Won 1-0 v Silver Stars
Venue: Germiston Stadium

January 10
Castle Premiership
Lost 0-1 v Supersport
Venue:
 Loftus Stadium

Sunday, January 7
Castle Premiership
Draw 2-2 v Leopards
Venue:
Germiston Stadium

Wednesday, December 20
Castle Premiership
Won 1-0 v AmaZulu
Venue: Princess Magogo

POLL
Which areas need reinforcement at Swallows?

Strike force
 37%
Midfield
 8%
Defence
 55%