Royal AM scored a well-taken 2-1 win over Cape Town Spurs in their DStv Premiership match at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening after leading 1-0 at halftime.
Royal AM, who came into the match with only three wins from 11 matches, managed a fourth win. They moved one place up the standings from 14th to 13th place.
Spurs remained marooned rock bottom in the standings and unable to add to their one win earlier this season.
With German-born Ernst Middendorp making his debut in the Spurs dugout, the home side started on a positive note. They produced early attacking sorties, mainly down the middle. However, despite the early penetration, they did not create scoring opportunities.
The KZN took some time to get into stride, and when they did, they used the space out wide to make frequent entries into the final third. By the time Eastern Cape referee Thando Ndzandzeka had blown the halftime whistle, Royal AM had recorded five shots at goal, but they made one count which gave them a slender lead 1-0 lead at the break.
Spurs' best first-half scoring chance fell to the 17-year-old Spurs prodigy Luke Baartman who was denied by the upright. His deft left-footed grasscutter left Hugo Nyame, Royal AM's Cameroonian goalkeeper high and dry a few minutes before the break.
Earlier in the first half, Therlo Moosa and Keagan Buchanan had half chances for Spurs, but their efforts were blocked.
The two goalkeepers also played their part in the opening 15 minutes when the teams each had set pieces in favourable positions, but the shot-stoppers averted danger by gathering first-time.
As the first half wore on Royal AM started enjoying greater possession and in the 40th minute fullback Khulekani Shezi scored his first goal of the season. He stalked into the striking zone unmarked and was handily placed to score after teammate Menzi Masuku had done well to feed him with a back-headed pass (1-0).
At the start of the second half, Spurs introduced striker Ashley Cupido who was the leading goalscorer in the first Division last season. He helped to lift the side's attacking ability and in the opening 15 minutes of second-half play, Spurs looked the more likely to score.
However, against the run of play, Royal AM staged a counter-attack which caught the Spurs defence napping and Menzi Masuku scored after he was sent away by Thabo Matlaba with a pass from deep options (2-0).
It took Spurs some time to recover and they did they reduced the deficit through Cupido, who is still battling full fitness after suffering a groin injury. He was left unmarked in the striking zone and when Thabo Matlaba's goalmouth cross came in, he stabbed the ball home (2-1).
In the final minutes, it was all Spurs as they fluffed half-chances to score and in the end, they ran out of time to grab a possible equaliser and ruin Middendorp’s debut in the other City.