Elias Pelembe scored the winner late in the second half for Wits against Free State Stars. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

BETHLEHEM –Wits cemented their lead at the top of the log when they defeated Free State Stars 2-1 in a Premiership fixture at Goble Park on Saturday evening.

Wits, though, got off to the worst start possible when they went 1-0 behind as early as the second minute to a fine goal from Stars striker Harris Tchilimbou.

On the back foot early on, the Clever Boys had no choice but to come out hard in search of parity, with Edwin Gyimah and Deon Hotto blasting opportunities high and wide.

The Johannesburg side kept piling on the pressure, though, and they were rewarded on the half-hour mark when Hotto created the opening, and Terrence Dzvukamanja headed in to level the score at 1-1.

With Wits now in the ascendancy, they had a chance to go in front in the 39th minute, but Stars goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare kept his team in the game with a superb save to prevent the brilliant Hotto from scoring.

The Clever Boys came out firing in the second half and quickly fashioned two great opportunities through Buhle Mkhwanazi and Hotto, but on both occasions, Sangare was equal to the task with two excellent saves.

Stars weren’t left behind as they, too, gave as good as they got. Both teams pushed forward in search of a winner as defences were regularly stretched to ensure the scores remain level.

In the 65th minute, Wits coach Gavin Hunt substituted goal-scorer Dzvukamanja for Daylon Claassen in a desperate search for more creativity from his team.

Soon after, Hunt brought on striker Simon Murray in place of Lehlohonolo Majoro, hoping the Scotsman could find a way to break the deadlock.

The changes provided more attacking impetus for Wits, and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 73rd minute.

Again, it was that man Hotto causing the chaos in the Stars defence as he sent in a cross for Elias Pelembe to head in.

The Clever Boys then kept things tight in the closing stages as they saw out the game for a valuable away win.

African News Agency (ANA)