Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Cape Town — Ajax Cape Town moved to within a point of leaders Stellenbosch FC as the race for the automatic promotion place in the National First Division (NFD) threatens to go down to the wire.

Just two points separate Stellenbosch and Royal Eagles in third‚ with the latter set to host Ajax on Saturday in a game that in effect could knock one of those two out of the running.

Stellenbosch‚ who at one point enjoyed a healthy lead at the summit‚ but have been reined in after just a single victory in their past six matches‚ were surprise 2-1 losers at home to mid-table Uthongathi.

That has allowed Ajax and Eagles to make up ground at the top of the table.

Ajax defeated local rivals Cape Umoya United 1-0, thanks to a goal from Tashreeq Morris in the second half as they continue to flourish under Dutch coach Andries Ulderink‚ with their performances chalk and cheese from the at times hapless play under former boss Muhsin Ertugral.

Had they found this form all season long they would have already secured their return to the top-flight. Eagles were 1-0 winners over TSG Galaxy‚ though a video of the penalty they were awarded to claim the win has left Twitter unamused.

Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila continued their bid for promotion with a comprehensive 3-0 victory at relegation threatened Maccabi FC and are now just three points behind Eagles in the last play-off position.

Likewise Mbombela United‚ who drove another nail in the coffin of Witbank Spurs with a 1-0 success‚ with the latter potentially relegated this coming weekend when they travel to fellow strugglers Ubuntu Cape Town.

Spurs are seven points from safety with just nine games still to play‚ meaning anything less than three wins and they will likely head to the ABC Motsepe League.

Real Kings and Jomo Cosmos played to a 0-0 draw in a battle between two sides also in danger of the drop‚ while Ubuntu did their chances of survival a power of good with a 5-0 victory over Richards Bay‚ whose promotion hopes now look dead.

There are therefore five sides still in the running for promotion heading into the last three games‚ and six still in danger of the drop‚ showing that it is not only the elite league that is headed for a thrilling finish.