Goals from Geofrey Massa and Grant Kekana ended a run of successive league defeats, lifting the Pretoria outfit to 31 points and up to 10th in the league standings, with four games left until the end of the league season.
Despite trailing after 35 minutes following Roger da Costa’s breakthrough, Massa and Kekana converted either side of half-time to take AmaTuks past the crucial 30-point barrier, which in recent seasons has proved the magic number in surviving relegation.
“We’re not safe yet. A lot of things can happen in football, so we probably still need more points to make us mathematically safe,” Barker said after the game at the Tuks Stadium.
“But it’s a big step in the right direction. At times, when you have to scrape a result like we had tonight, you have to take it.
“A great victory for us and a big step forward. Credit again to the players for putting in a great effort in that second half, especially to see out the game.”
Chasing a top eight finish for a second season in a row, AmaTuks are nine points away from reaching the 40-point mark they achieved in the 2012/13 campaign, and Barker admitted it would be difficult to do the same again, due to a tough run of fixtures between now and the end of the league.
AmaTuks have away visits to Free State Stars and AmaZulu in their next two fixtures, before taking on Kaizer Chiefs in a “home” game at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, before ending the season against the surprise package this year, Mpumalanga Black Aces.
“It’s a tough run in, we’re playing against Free State Stars a notoriously tough team away from home and they’re fighting for their lives [to survive relegation].
“[Then] AmaZulu away. Mbombela Stadium has been good for us against Chiefs, but the title race could still be on, so we’re not expecting an easy game from them.
“Last game of the season, away to Aces. So a tough run in and that made this game even more important to get the victory that we needed.”