Highlands Park players celebrate one of their goals during their Absa Premiership match against Golden Arrows at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Saturday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Highlands Park moved up two places on the PSL Absa Premiership log after defeating Golden Arrows at the Makhulong Stadium, Tembisa, on Saturday afternoon.

A goal in each half was enough to claim three match points and Highlands moved up from seventh place to fifth on the latest standings. The result saw Arrows swop places with Highlands and they dropped from fifth to seventh place.

After a subdued start, the match came alive when Arrows set off on a fifth-minute sortie which the Highlands defence checked by clearing the ball away for the first corner in the match.

Arrows' Seth Parusnath reeled in an excellent corner to the far post where Divine Lunga rose above the defence to head the ball goalwards. However, Highlands keeper Marlon Heugh was alert to the threat and punched the ball clear.

In a matter of seconds, Highlands staged a telling counter-attack which took play to the opposite end of the field. Arrows averted danger by conceding a corner which provided Highlands with a platform to open the scoring. Lindokuhle Mbatha's corner was well met by Ryan Rae who slipped the ball into the Arrows' nets (1-0).

The goal seemed to lift Highlands and they started imposing themselves on the match and Arrows were forced to settle for a largely defensive role.

Highlands again threatened in the 24th minute after launching an attack from deep options. Limbikani Mzava managed to round the defence out wide on the right but then sent his parting shot marginally wide of the target.

As a result of the heat, the play came to a halt for a water break in the 26th minute.

When play resumed, Arrows held the initiative for a sustained period and the roles were reversed. Highlands' defence were kept busy and did well to keep Arrows in check in the striking zone. They held out to protect their lead by the time the halftime whistle sounded.

At the start of the second half, Highlands managed to undo Arrows' grip on the match and their efforts were rewarded when Peter Shalulile looked to finish an attack into the opposition penalty area. He was fouled and regained his composure to land the 'spot-kick' and Highlands enjoyed a 2-0 lead, just eight minutes into the second half.

With a 2-0 advantage, Highlands tried to keep the game tight and were quite content to let Arrows make all the play.

Tight marking by the Highlands defence did not allow Arrows much time on the ball in the striking zone. However, on two occasions Arrows managed to shake off their markers but Highlands keeper Heugh stood firm between the sticks.

Arrows launched an all-out attack in the closing stages but failed to capitalise on the few half-chances that emerged and, in the end, came away empty-handed.

African News Agency (ANA)