Baroka FC sprung off the foot of the PSL table and up to 12th position after edging out struggling Maritzburg United 1-0 in a league game at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night.
Apart from the final 20 minutes of the night, when they had to hold on in the face of an onslaught from the home side, Baroka were in control for most of the game, with Jemondre Dickens’ goal right at the end of the first half enough for maximum points.
On a wet evening in the KZN Midlands, both sets of players struggled for fluency early on in the slippery conditions – play disjointed and clearcut scoring opportunities at a premium.
Although the men from Pietermaritzburg enjoyed plenty of possession, they struggled to spark in attack, as has been their problem all season long. For their part, Baroka were happy to keep it tight at the back before trying to break on the counter.
The Limpopo team then came even closer to breaking the deadlock when Dickens struck a 34th-minute free-kick against the woodwork.
And it was Dickens who was to give Baroka the lead, in first-half added time, when was left unmarked in the box and looped a header into the corner of the net.
There was little response from Maritzburg after the break as they continued to struggle to find any real cohesion, while conversely, Bakgaga appeared to grow in confidence and Dickens was again unlucky with the woodwork after he hit the crossbar with a deflected effort on the hour mark.
It took Maritzburg some time to muster any fight – it was only around the 70-minute mark that they really began to pose any threat – and it took a goal-line clearance from Bakgaga defender Goodman Mosele to stop Fortune Makaringe netting from a tight angle.
Baroka were then close to adding a second goal in the 82nd minute when an attempted clearance from Maritzburg defender Rushine de Reuck went inches wide of the post.
However, the Team of Choice remained on top for the closing minutes of the match, putting the visitors under some sustained pressure. But it just wouldn’t fall for them as Makaringe was denied by goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze in added time before Zakri’s header from the resultant corner bounced back off the crossbar.