Ea Lla Koto fought hard to deny Swallows all three points in an enthralling encounter played at the Goble Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon
Free State Stars came into this encounter at the back of a 1-0 defeat away to Mpumalanga Black Aces, and they were aiming to avoid their third successive loss.
Stars coach Themba Sithole made five changes to the team that lost to Aces, but his side was punished as early as in the 2nd minute when Rudi Isaacs headed Dikgang Mabalane’s out-swinging corner past Daniel Agyei.
The hosts reacted immediately after conceding that goal, but captain Paulus Masehe was unlucky not to have found the back of the net as his long range shot came off the crossbar after Greg Etafia’s save.
Swallows did well to allow Stars to knock the ball in their own half and often forced the likes of Masehe and Danny Venter to shoot from range.
Both teams failed to create any clear goalscoring chances in an evenly matched half, as the Dube Birds held on to their lead going into the second half.
Despite a livelier start to the second half, none of the two goalkeepers were tested in the opening 15 minutes of the second 45 minutes.
Lerato Chabangu had a chance to at least force a save out of Agyei in the 60th minute after a foul on Edward Manqele, but the Swallows’ captain blasted his free-kick well over the bar.
Etafia was then forced to go down to his right to deny Lucky Mokoena in the 65th minute, as the home side continued to search for the equalizer.
Stars finally got their equalizer in the 72nd minute when Swallows failed to clear their lines from a dead-ball situation which allowed defender Sadate Ouro-Akoriko get himself on the scoresheet.
However, Stars’ excitement was cut short as Larry Cohen’s 79th minute header from Nkosinathi Ogle’s cross found the back of the net after being left unmarked inside the home side’s box.
Just when everyone thought Swallows had won the game, Etafia’s poor goalkeeping allowed Adam Abdul-Basit to grab his fourth goal of the season as both teams shared the spoils in Bethlehem.