Mere saves the Birds from first home defeat

Vuyo Mere © Backpagepix

Vuyo Mere struck a last-gasp equaliser as Swallows FC saved themselves from a first home defeat of the DStv Premiership season, holding Golden Arrows 1-1 at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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The result sees the Birds retain their unbeaten home record, though they have now gone nine league matches without a win and remain in sixth place, while second-placed Abafana Bes’thende missed out on the chance to move just one point behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

Swallows offered the first real threat on goal, with a 10th minute scramble in the box allowing Musa Nyatama to fire off a shot which was bravely blocked by Velemseni Ndwandwe.

Fourteen minutes later the Birds should have claimed the lead, with a poor pass out of defence from Nkosinathi Sibisi intercepted by Zaphaniah Mbokoma, who powered through on goal but was then denied by a brilliant save from ‘keeper Sifiso Mlungwana.

Arrows offered little penetration in attack, with Swallows goalkeeper Virgil Vries not called upon to make a save through the first half, while the visitors also suffered an injury blow just before the interval when they were forced to replace striker Michael Gumede with Knox Mutizwa.

The hosts made a change in midfield at the start of the second half, with Sammy Seabi replacing Given Thibedi, and they blew another great chance to go ahead six minutes after the restart: Kgaogelo Sekgota provided a superb cross from the left to pick out Kagsio Malinga, but his header flashed wide of the far post.

Malinga had another threatening moment just past the midway point of the second half, with a set-piece routine seeing the striker go for goal from just outside the box, but his left-footed effort flew just wide of the mark.

On 71 minutes, and completely against the run of play, Arrows claimed the lead: Mutizwa ran onto a ball over the top and pulled a good ball back across the face of goal – Pule Mmodi missed the initial chance, but Seth Parusnath’s run was perfectly timed and the midfield powered home a low shot to put Abafana Bes’thende 1-0 up.

Swallows, in their efforts to recover, introduced Bantu Mzwakali and Joseph Mhlongo off the bench. However, it was starter and veteran Vuyo Mere who rescued his team deep in injury time, turning home the ball from close range after Arrows failed to clear their lines and allowed two points to slip through their fingers.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action on Sunday 11 April, with Swallows at home to Black Leopards and Arrows hosting Bloemfontein Celtic.

Swallows FC (0) 1 (Mere 90+4’)
Golden Arrows (0) 1 (Parusnath 71’)

SWALLOWS: Vries, Mere, Ngcobo, Letlabika, Matlaba, Mahlatsi, Nyatama (Mzwakali 84’), Thibedi (Seabi 46’), Sekgota (Mhlongo 84’), Mbokoma (Gozar 76’), Malinga

ARROWS: Mlungwana, M. Dube, Sibisi, Zuke, Lunga, Parusnath, Ndwandwe, Makhubela, Sibiya (Mtshali 55’), Mmodi (Phiri 79’), M. Gumede (Mutizwa 44’)