Kudakwashe Mahachi grabbed the winner for Golden Arrows on Saturday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

DURBAN – With their eighth win of the season, Golden Arrows consolidated a top-eight spot in the Absa Premiership when they edged Highlands Park 2-1 at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu on Saturday.

In a frenetic finish to the match, a late goal saw Highlands deservedly equalise before Arrows struck the winner against the run of play through midfielder Kudakwashe Mahachi.

The points lifted Abafana Bes’thende to sixth, three ahead of Polokwane City, who play on Sunday.

Arrows and Highlands looked to continue where they left off before the international break and stuck with their winning combinations.

Arrows kept the same side that blasted Maritzburg United 3-1 in their last outing, and Highlands featured one change from the team that beat Maritzburg 1-0.

The continuity was evident in the home team’s play as they took the game to the visitors, with midfielders Sibusiso Sibeko and Nduduzo Sibiya in particularly fine form on the left touchline.

That’s the area where their first half goal originated in the 31st minute.

It was also where Highlands coach Gordon Igesund had a brief discussion with his defenders at the end of the opening period.

Igesund had a mini bosberaad with Siyabonga Nhlapho, Zamuxolo Ngalo and Chris Katjiukua near the spot where the former lost the ball to Sibeko to concede the goal.

Sibeko won possession near the halfway line, spread the ball inside to striker Lerato Lamola, and he laid it on a platter for attacking partner Knox Mutizwa to gobble his third goal in Arrows’ colours.

With veteran Musa Bilankulu marshalling the midfield to protect the defence, home goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede was a virtual spectator.

The one time that he was hurried into action, he came out tops when he smothered a close-range effort from midfielder Brandon Theron in first-half optional time.

Arrows might have been two goals ahead by halftime had Zimbabwean international Mutizwa done better than fire a free shot against the bar two minutes after his opener.

They were to rue that miss.

The second half was a different affair as Highlands clawed their way back with determination and fighting spirit.

Igesund refreshed his attack with the introduction of Ethiopian international striker Fikru Lemessa and Franklin Cale for Lindokuhle Mbatha and Theron respectively.

The pressure took its toll and they won a penalty, which midfielder Surprise Moriri calmly slotted in for the 83rd-minute leveller.

However, just as Highlands thought they escaped, Arrows delivered a sucker punch a minute before fulltime when Mahachi drilled in a shot for the winner, off a pass from fellow Zimbabwean international midfielder Danny Phiri.

Independent Media