Veteran Surprise Moriri netted the winner for Highlands Park on Sunday. Photo: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

TEMBISA – A solitary goal at the Makhulong Stadium on Sunday afternoon secured a 1-0 win for win for Highlands Park over Maritzburg United and lifted the Premiership rookies out of the relegation zone.

Maritzburg started with purpose and made the early running, but some determined defending from the home side meant that there were no clear-cut chances for the KZN side.

Having played their way back into the game, the Lions of the North took the lead via a 23rd-minute set-piece, Surprise Moriri timing his run well before heading home from a corner kick.

Although Maritzburg enjoyed a good period of play in the final 10 minutes of the first half, they again failed to find the penetration needed to break down the opposition defence.

Instead it was the home side who had a decent chance to double their lead when the ball fell for Charlton Mashumba on the edge of the box, but he fired straight at Virgil Vries.

In the early stages of the second half, play moved from end to end, but neither team were able to create any proper scoring opportunities.

Fortune Makaringe did manage to get in two shots on goal for Roger de Sa’s side, but both were wayward, as was a volley from Mashumba.

United began to increase the pressure as the game moved into the final 15 minutes, but apart from an effort in the 84th minute by Mondli Dlamini, which was well dealt with by Tapuwa Kapini, the visiting side failed to pose too many problems for the Highlands defence.

In the end, the Lions of the North managed to get over the line without too many problems as Gordon Igesund finally saw his side escape from the relegation zone and move up to 13th spot.

The Team of Choice, meanwhile, have won only one of their last eight league matches.