Swallows down Arrows

Towering defender George Hummel ended his four-year duck when he scored the winner to take Moroka Swallows to third on the table by beating Golden Arrows 1-0 in a Castle Premiership match at the Germiston Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Beset by long term injuries that have been hampering his progress, the Namibian international defender connected brilliantly with Japhet Zwane's well taken free-kick in the 10th minute to give his team a resounding victory.

Faced with the prospect of wanting to win the championship for the first time after four decades, the ?Birds' have clawed their way towards the summit in fine style.

Despite losing their last league encounter against champions elect Mamelodi Sundowns two weeks ago, Swallows are vastly improved and have made their once-chastised coach Gavin Hunt a messiah.

With the title pendulum swinging towards Chloorkop, Swallows will be content by finishing second and judging by their recent display, they look set to achieve that feat.

Arrows? failure to have a clear scoring chance in the first half was their own downfall as Mabhuti Khanyeza was struggling. Minus the vision of Papi Zothwane, Arrows must thank Swallows? misfiring strikers that they weren?t buried.

The Swallows goal was an indication that they are unmatched when it comes to set-pieces. And when the twinkle-toed Zwane took the free-kick and Hummel was left unmarked to slot home, danger was looming for ?Abafana Bes?thende?.

What followed next was a bombardment by Swallows when Cecil Oerson?s free-kick was narrowly missed by veteran left-back Lovers Mohlala in the 28th minute.

Looking for his fourth goal of the season, diminutive striker Evans Gwekwerere was unlucky not to beat the advancing Brendan Wardle, as he looked for that killer goal.

Arrows? only chance was wasted by Khanyeza when he ballooned his free-kick two minutes before the break, and Swallows were happy to go to the break in a commanding role.

For a team that bundled out defending Absa Cup champions Kaizer Chiefs last weekend, Arrows stand-in coach Manqoba Mngqithi made two substitutions by bringing in Smith and Siyabonga Ntombela for Vusumuzi Vilakazi and Nhlanhla Ngubane respectively at the restart.

Their contribution was commendable but could not penetrate the Swallows rearguard marshalled by Patrick Mabedi and Hummel.

The presence of Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira added much oomph into Zwane?s way of doing things but failing to score with such an inviting chance might hamper his chances of receiving a call from Parreira.

The bulky Khanyeza?s two thunderbolt strikes were indicative enough for Arrows to avoid losing their second game in a row, but Swallows held on with a swagger.

With the game swaying towards the end and despite the introduction of Nhlanhla Zothwane, Swallows showed indications of  a team that have turned the corner.

The introduction of 2.05m Mame Niang with eight minutes to spare was not enough to torment the Arrows defence, despite Niang?s aerial threat. But he spurned a golden opportunity with a goal-line backheel that was spectacularly saved by Siybonga Sangweni - illustrating why Niang is struggling to regain last season?s form.

The teams:

Swallows (4-4-2): Greg Etafia, Rudi Isaacs, Lovers Mohlala, George Hummel, Patrick Mabedi, Lefa Tsutsulupa, Mark Haskins, Japhet Zwane (Bongani Mbele 76) , Cecil Oerson, Evan Gwekwerere (Songwe Chalwe 59), Henrico Botes (Mame Niang 82).

Coach: Gavin Hunt

Arrows (4-4-1-1): Brendan Wardle, Siyabonga Sangweni,  Kampamba Chintu, Joseph Henyekane, Sakhile Mhlangu (Nhlanhla Zothwane 75), Kagiso Dikgacoi, Vusimuzi Vilakazi (Ntombela 46),  Thanduyise Khuboni, Sehlolo Nale, Nhlanhla Ngubane (Norman Smith 46), Mabhuti Khanyeza.

Coach: Manqoba Mngqithi

Referee: Jerome Damon

Cautions: Hummel 18, Oerson 52, Botes 70, Smith 80

By Patrick Baloyi/Backpagepix

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Sunday, March 11
Castle Premiership:
Wits v Swallows
Kick-off: 3.45pm
Venue: Bidvest Stadium

March 3
Castle Premiership
Won 1-0 v Arrows
Venue: Germiston Stadium

February 24
Absa Cup
Lost 0-2 v Pirates
Venue: Olen Park

February 17
Castle Premiership
Lost 0-1 v Sundowns
Venue: Loftus Stadium

February 11
Castle Premiership
Won 2-0 v Ajax CT
Venue: Germiston

Where will Moroka Swallows finish this season?

Win the league
Top three
Top five
Top eight