Johannesburg – Free State Stars triumphed in a relegation dogfight as they edged Golden Arrows 2-1 in their Premiership match at the Goble Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Paulus Masehe and Richard Henyekane scored for Stars while Bongi Ntuli saved face for Arrows.
Stars should have taken the lead through Henyekane in the sixth minute but the striker fired his effort wide of Arthur Bartman's goals.
Arrows had their first real chance came in the 15th minute when Vuyisile Ntombayithethi shrugged off a challenge and unleashed a pile driver but keeper Tshepo Motsoeneng was equal to the task.
In the 24th minute, Bartman was summoned to make a save from a sharp Masehe shot on the edge of the box which the Arrows keeper did well to keep out.
Two minutes later, Muhamad Patel broke loose and found space for a shot but his effort flew wide of goal.
Stars continued to apply pressure and it finally paid off in the 36th minute as Masehe slotted home after being set up by Lehlohonolo Thebakang.
With just a minute left before the break, Angelo Kerspuy was booked for a foul on Philani Shange. The Arrow midfielder stood up and took the resultant freekick but his ferocious strike found the side netting.
Arrows came back from the break a much better side and nearly levelled matters in the 55th minute through a powerful Ntuli strike but Motsoeneng was on call to make a great save.
Mthokozisi Yende put through a great ball for Henyekane, who made no mistake in the 57th minute with a sublime finish which beat Bartman to double the lead.
Arrows came close to pulling one back in the 62nd minute when Festus Mbewe broke away from his marker and let fly, but his effort flew wide.
Katlego Mashego did well for Stars in the 73rd minute as he broke away from a defender but his final touch was disappointing as his blast was off target.
Arrows eventually pulled one back in the 83rd minute when Ntuli's shot – from an excellent William Twala pass found its way into the back of the net.
The win sees Stars move to 16 points but remaining in 15th position while Arrows remain rooted to the bottom of the table with 13 points. – Sapa