Golden Arrows gave their fight against relegation from the Absa Premiership a shot in the arm with an impressive 4-1 win over Platinum Stars at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
Abafana Bes’thende remain odds-on favourites to finish bottom of the log and be demoted directly to the National First Division, but this victory is a confidence-booster that at least ensures they have something to fight for in their next league fixture.
After a tame opening half hour, the match came to life just over ten minutes before the end of the first half. Thanduyise Khuboni converted his eighth penalty of the league season to put the visitors 1-0 up in the 34th minute, with the spot kick having been awarded after Philani Shange was adjudged to have been tripped by Sibusiso Hadebe.
However, Arrows’ lead last just 10 minutes. A high-foot foul in the away side’s 18-yard area gave Stars an indirect free kick. Vuyo Mere teed the ball up for Siphelele Mthembu to blast a shot into the roof of the net and make it 1-1.
It seemed the teams would head into the interval on level terms, but Festus Mbewe capitalised on an unfortunate slip from Stars goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane, who lost his footing in trying to intercept a long ball and allowed the Zambian an easy finish for 2-1 in injury time at the end of the first half.
Arrows almost extended their lead in the 54th minute when substitute Rudolf Bester drove forward on a strong run and powered a low drive on target, but Mponstahe redeemed himself with an excellent diving save to his right.
However, Mpontshane was completely beaten by the same Bester just three minutes later – the former Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates player stole the ball off Stars’ defence before firing a stunning long range drive into the top corner to make it 3-1.
The Stars goalkeeper’s afternoon went from bad to worse in the 65th minute. He completely misjudged a long ball from his counterpart Arthur Bartman and allowed Bongi Ntuli to get round him on the by-line and enjoy a tap-in goal to extend the visitors’ lead to 4-1.
Platinum Stars (1) 1 (S. Mthembu 44’)
Golden Arrows (2) 4 (Khuboni 34’ pen, Mbewe 45+2’, Bester 57’, Ntuli 65’)
Stars: Mpontshane, Mere, Gumede, Mabule (T. Mthembu 78’), Hadebe (Tshabalala 67’), Mbatha, Mhlongo (Ngele 64’), Mathe, Nyanda, Ng’ambi, S. Mthembu
Arrows: Bartman, Zwane, Nene, Sikhakhane, Mngwengwe, Shange (Bester 46’), Khuboni, Moholo, Mbewe (Ntombayithethi 71’), Ntuli, Katongo (Tom 88’) – Backpage Media