Cape Town - A first half goal from Sheldon Van Wyk handed bottom of the table Maritzburg United a 1-0 win over Free State Stars in an Absa Premiership match at Goble Park on Tuesday night.
It is a vital three points for Maritzburg who are up to 20 points, joint with 15th placed Cosmos but having played a game more.
Free State, on the other hand, remain in ninth place with 33 points.
The home team started slowly and were unable to find their rhythm in the game while Maritzburg pushed forward from the first whistle.
In the ninth minute the Free State defence allowed Evans Rusike some space just outside the box, but the United player saw his shot brilliantly turned around the post by goalkeeper Johnny Mathole.
Four minutes later Free State were made to pay for their poor start when Sheldon Van Wyk gave Maritzburg the lead after turning home a cross from Rusike, 1-0.
After going behind the home team began to find their footing in the game and had their first significant effort on goal in the 30th minute courtesy of a strike by Paulos Masehe, but goalkeeper Virgil Vries made a super save to deny him.
The Ea Lla Koto continued to push forward, but could not pull a goal back before the break.
The second half was a bit of a scrappy affair with both teams struggling to create decent goal scoring chances.
The closest we came to a goal in the second half was in the 75th minute when Danny Venter fired a 24-yard free-kick narrowly over the crossbar.
The most exciting action in the second half was the sending off of Maritzburg’s Pogiso Sanoka in the 82nd minute after receiving a second yellow card.
Maritzburg defended stoically in the final minutes of the game to earn the win.
Free State Stars (0) 0
Maritzburg (1) 1 (Van Wyk 13’)