Johannesburg - A late own goal by Tshepo Molala saved Premiership strugglers Free State Stars as they grabbed a crucial three points with a 1-0 win over Polokwane City in Bethlehem on Saturday.
Stars, who were 14th in the standings ahead of the weekend fixtures, picked up their first victory in four league games, while the rookie visitors were handed their first defeat in five matches.
The hosts were determined in the opening period, but Polokwane goalkeeper Modiri Marumo and a handful of wasted chances kept the visitors in the game.
The hosts had two quick chances in the seventh minute, but Marumo denied Danny Venter with a deflected diving save, and Togolese international Sadat Ouro-Akoriko's attempt from the resultant corner was fired over the crossbar.
Themba Tshabalala blasted wide to the left after another set-piece 11 minutes later, while Luyolo Nomandela and Paulos Masehe were also wayward in the first stanza.
In a defensive display from the visiting side, Puleng Tlolane had the only real attempt in the first 45 minutes but it was easily handled by Stars keeper Daniel Agyei.
In a tame second half, with City eager to keep a clean sheet for the fourth time in five matches, they were undone by Molala's goal into their own net with 11 minutes remaining.