Johannesburg - Siyabonga Nomvethe’s treble helped Moroka Swallows come from behind to beat Golden Arrows 3-2 and boost their Absa Premiership title challenge at Dobsonville Stadium on Sunday.
Nomvethe’s hat-trick saw him stay on top of the scorers chart and stretched his goal tally to 16 while Thanduyise Khuboni and Thamsanqa Gabuza scored for Arrows.
In a highly tactical game Arrows’ newly appointed assistant coach Shaun Bartlett was in charge of the team with head coach Muhsin Ertugal sitting in the grand stand but constantly keeping in touch through a mobile phone.
Arrows nearly took the lead in the 8th minute but Collins Mbesuma’s powerful shot flew wide off goalkeeper Craig Etafia’s left upright.
Swallows were quick to respond and their persistence was rewarded by a goal from Nomvethe in the 14th minute. The veteran striker headed in Shere Lekgothoane’s cross to give the hosts the lead.
Bartlett was forced to make a change for Arrows in the 19th minute, with the injured Siyabonga Nkosi making way for Russel Mlotshwa.
Mlotshwa wasted no time in making an impact as he won a penalty for Arrows in the 20th minute after he was hacked down by the Birds captain Lefa Tsutsulupa. Abafana Besithende skipper Thanduyise Khuboni stepped up and levelled the scores from the spot kick.
In the beginning of the second half Arrows suffered yet another injury blow, when the on-fire Mbesuma was forced out by an injury.
The substitute Thamsanqa Gabuza was in the mix right away and put Arrows ahead in the 52nd minute, firing home a cross from Marc van Heerden much to the jubilation of Bartlett on the Arrows bench.
Nomvethe’s head was back again to haunt the Arrows goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede in the 66th minute, the evergreen striker finishing Joseph Makhanya's corner kick to level the scores at 2-2.
Five minutes later, Nomvethe capped his fine day and put some icing on the Birds' cake with yet another brilliant header after being set up by Bongani Twala.
The win means Swallows move to fourth spot with 47 points, just two points adrift of log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who beat Santos 3-1 in Pretoria.