Stellenbosch FC suffered a 2-0 DStv Premiership defeat to Moroka Swallows on a wet evening at the Danie Craven Stadium.
Stellenbosch’s seven-match unbeaten run against Swallows was brought to an end on Tuesday evening after Steve Barker’s heavily-rotated side suffered a 2-o defeat at home, compounded by the sending off of defender Ismaël Touré.
The guests made a flying start to the match and opened the scoring within the opening two minutes when Ntsako Makhubela fired home a loose ball past stand-in captain Sage Stephens to give his side the lead.
Stellies responded positively to the early set-back and threatened frequently over the next 20 minutes, coming closest through the boot of striker Iqraam Rayners from a set-piece.
Following a dangerous run, Rayners’ was cynically fouled outside the box and dusted himself off to take the resultant free-kick, only to see his effort curl narrowly over the bar from range.
Swallows’ Lantshene Phalane and Stellies’ Devin Titus then traded half-chances on the half-hour mark, before Gabadinho Mhango fired wide just before the break following a swift counter-attack by the away team.
Following the half-time interval, Kgaogelo Sekgota, Sibongiseni Mthethwa, and Jayden Adams were all introduced as substitutes as Barker looked to get his side back into the encounter in the second stanza.
Adams, who has already scored twice this season, almost made an immediate impact in front of goal but saw his effort well saved by Daniel Akpeyi following a neat passage of build-up play with Devin Titus.
However, things turned for the worse just before the hour mark when the home team was reduced to 10 men after last-man Touré was sent off after being deemed to have fouled Mhango,
The resultant free-kick was fired just wide by Mhango himself before Stellies rang further changes in an attempt to claw back an equaliser on the night.
The first of those changes saw Antonio van Wyk introduced for Basil Mphahlele, and in doing so the 21-year-old made his 50th appearance for the club, becoming the third-youngest player to reach the milestone behind Ibraheem Jabaar and Adams.
Van Wyk’s introduction spoke to the attacking intent of the hosts but ultimately it was the numerical advantage that counted in Swallows’ favour as they sealed the three points with a 73rd-minute effort from Tshegofatso Mabasa.
With time all but over, Nhlanhla Mgaga stung the palms of Akpeyi who could only parry the ball into the path of Rayners, but his effort was fired high over the bar in a moment that summed up a disappointing night in the Winelands.