at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Golden Arrows saw their domestic woes stretched when they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium in an Absa Premiership match on Sunday afternoon.
Steve Komphela’s men were able to move onto 30-points for the season courtesy of an Orlando Smeekes’ decisive strike.
The encounter was a relegation battle between the two teams as Arrows continued to sit stranded at the bottom of the league table, while the Team of Choice were still fighting to preserve their top-flight status.
Maritzburg were looking promising with their attacking runs in the opening 10 minutes of the fixture, but, as the visitors went forward, they saw a chance terribly wasted as Nkanyiso Mngwengwe swirled his effort well wide.
The home side deservingly broke the deadlock seven minutes later through Orlando Smeekes. A looping ball was sent to the midfielder from inside his own half and it met him inside the box where he drove home an unstoppable half-volley into the roof of Arthur Bartman’s net.
Then, in the 24th minute, Shu-Aib Walters was seen making a brave save off his line when he dove to snatch a crossing ball from an Arrows player inside the box.
There was little exciting action to report on for the remainder of the opening 45, as Arrows welcomed a rare shot on target through Thembela Sikhakhane five minutes from the interval, but it was easy for Walters.
Shaun Bartlett threw on both Rudolf Bester and Deon Hotto at the restart as he looked to add more stability with a bit of attacking flare to his line-up.
The 54th minute saw a great chance fall to Arrows when Siyanda Zwane supplied a great cross into the box that sailed past the fingertips of Walters, but couldn’t reach any of his onrushing teammates.
With a quarter of an hour remaining Hotto tried to level things up with his shot from the edge of the area, however, it skimmed just over the angular of the goal.
It could have been 2-0 to Maritzburg in the final ten minutes of the match, but Arthur Bartman pulled off a great save to keep the scoreline the same, as Victor Gomes correctly waved away penalty appeals for the visitors.
Jabulani Nene was handed a red card after the final whistle after receiving two cautions in quick succession for protesting.
Maritzburg United: (1) 1 (Smeekes 17’)
Golden Arrows: (0) 0
Maritzburg United: Walters, Cloete, Booysen M, Awal, Evans, Mkhize, Hartog, Lentjies (Mandaza 59’), Jayiya, Smeekes (Morton 65’), Sarfo-Gyamfi (Shandu 57’)
Golden Arrows: Bartman, Zwane, Ntombayithethi, Musonda, Sikhakhane, Mngwengwe, Shange (Bester 46’), Moholo (Hotto 46’), Katongo (Zothwane 75’), Nene, Ntuli – Backpage Media