Johannesburg - David Mathebula netted a first-half goal to give Moroka Swallows a 1-0 Premiership win over Free State Stars in Phuthaditjaba on Wednesday night.
This was also Stars' first loss of the campaign at Charles Mopeli Stadium where they are often difficult to beat.
Mathebula, the on-form midfielder, latched on to a cross from striker Siyabonga Nomvethe inside the box to drill home the crucial winner after 14 minutes.
Swallows now move up to fourth spot on the standings from the maximum three points gained from the hard-fought victory.
They carry 33 points after 19 games with an inferior goal difference to second-placed Kaizer Chiefs and third-placed Orlando Pirates, who are also on the same number of points.
Stars, though, came back in search of an equaliser soon after conceding as Mpho Makola tested Swallows goalkeeper Greg Etafia, with the Nigerian up to the task.
Shortly before the break, Boitumelo Sekgobela attempted a shot that the shot stopper also easily saved.
In between their attacks, Swallows looked at doubling their margin with Bennett Chenene narrowly missing the target from the edge of the box.
Mathebula also attempted a freekick outside the penalty area that was easily dealt with by Bruce Mtshali in the Stars goal.
The hosts went on the offence in the second-half with Tshidiso Mosikidi and Danny Mbo shooting wide on the hour mark.
With time running out, Mosikidi also fashioned a shot from outside the penalty box that sailed narrowly wide of goal with Ea Lla Kkoto showing desperation to salvage a point against a resilient Swallows.
Against the run of play, a bustling Nomvethe also attempted to seal the victory for the visitors but saw his shot saved by an agile Mtshali.
However, the sun soon set on Stars as Edward Manqele shot wide of goal in injury time, as his side went down for their seventh league loss.
They remain in seventh place in the standings carrying 29 points after 19 matches.