Highlands Park have risen to fourth place on the Absa Premiership log following a 2-0 win over Chippa United at the Makhulong Stadium on Saturday night.
Goals from Spiwe Msimango and Tendai Ndoro secured a fourth win from their last four league matches for the Lions of the North, who are five points adrift of log leaders Kaizer Chiefs. The Chilli Boys, meanwhile, remain rock bottom of the standings.
Highlands looked the better team from the opening stages and they claimed the lead in the 19th minute. An over-hit corner kick was steered back into the danger zone by Tendai Ndoro and Chippa goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb was guilty of indecision, as he allowed the ball to pass between himself and a defender, giving Spiwe Msimango a tap-in on the goal line.
Chippa gradually began to gain a foothold in the game, though their attacking endeavours were restricted mainly to long-range efforts – none of which were any particular worry for Highlands goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni.
Highlands thought they had scored a second goal late in the half when a counter attack ended with Reneilwe Letsholonyane teeing up Peter Shalulile to score from close range, but the offside flag incorrectly ruled the effort out, leaving the hosts only 1-0 up at the break.
Chippa, in an effort to turn the game around, made an attacking double substitution early in the second half, as Augustine Kwem and William Twala came off the bench to replace Lehlogonolo Masalesa and Lerato Manzini.
The duo livened up the Chilli Boys’ forward play, as did third and final substitute Kurt Lentjies, who arrived just after the hour mark. In fact, Chippa were also hit by an incorrect offside call after Twala had struck home a low shot.
Midway through the second half Chippa were again let down by their goalkeeper, as Tendai Ndoro scored the hosts’ second goal with a long-range volley. The striker hit a dropping ball from well outside the box – his effort bounced awkwardly ahead of Tignyemb, but the keeper’s attempted save was sub-par to say the least.
Ndoro’s strike took the sting out of the game and allowed Highlands to settle back and keep Chippa at arm’s length with relative comfort. The Lions of the North saw out the remainder of the time to secure three points and continue what has thus far been a highly impressive campaign.
Highlands will be back in league action on Tuesday when they welcome a stuttering Orlando Pirates to Makhulong, while Chippa will wait until November 6 to host Kaizer Chiefs in Port Elizabeth.
HIGHLANDS PARK (1) 2 (Msimango 19’, Ndoro 67’)
CHIPPA UNITED (0) 0
HIGHLANDS PARK : Ngobeni, L. Mokoena, Mbhele, Msimango, Rae, Mbunjana, Williams, Letsholonyane (Mbatha 59’), Shalulile (Motsepe 89’), Mvala, Ndoro (Nyembe 77’)
CHIPPA UNITED: Tignyemb, Damons, K. Moyo, Nsabiyumva, E. Moyo, Komane, Masalesa (Twala 51’), Maziya, Maphangule (Lentjies 63’), Malepe, L. Manzini (Kwem 51’)