Top striker Ndifreke Effiong scored his third goal of the season on Match-day five of the Nigeria Professional Football League though his effort was not enough to fetch the Promise Keepers the victory they needed as they were forced to a 1-1 draw in Uyo by Wikki Tourists.
Akwa United went into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw against Kwara United on Match-day four and they needed a win to move into the top half of the table.
Coach Boboye made just one change to the team that drew in Ilorin. Samuel Amadi returned to the starting line up taking the place of Ubong Essien.
The Promise Keepers’ bright start to the game saw them mounting pressure on their visitors and pushing for the curtain raiser. They took the lead in the 24th minute through striker Ndifreke Effiong. The top scorer benefitted from a defensive mix-up, kept his cool to beat his marker before slotting home his third goal of the season.
Moments later, Ubong Friday received a good pass inside the box but his tame effort was comfortably saved by Stanley Nwabili. Sampson Gbadebo released Ikechukwu Nwani who did well with a wonderful solo-run and was one-on-one with Nwabili, he elected to dribble instead of passing to Ndifreke Effiong who was unmarked. Wikki Tourists defenders recovered well to relieve the pressure with a last-minute clearance.
The visitors from the North leveled up the scores with their first attempt at goal six minutes before half time when Chinedu Udeagha smashed home from outside the area to finish off a brilliant team move.
On resumption, Coach Boboye made two early substitutions, Wisdom Fernando and Charles Atshimene were introduced in place of Ikechukwu Nwani and Samuel Amadi.
Few minutes after his introduction, Charles Atshimene thought he had scored his first goal for Akwa United when he tapped in Etim Mathew’s low cross after Nwabili had parried Ndifreke Effiong’s superb free-kick, but the referee controversially ruled out the goal for an offside.
Akwa United’s goalkeeper Jean Efala was called into action when Chinedu Udeagha fired a long range shot that was flying towards the top corner but Efala timed it to perfection and tipped it over the bar for a corner kick.
Mfon Udoh and Akarandut Orok were introduced towards the end as they made frantic efforts to secure maximum points.
In stoppage time, Ndifreke had the opportunity to seal the win for his side but his attempt went inches off target as Wikki Tourists held on to close the game at 1-1.
With the result, Akwa United move up two places from 14th to 12th on the log with six points from five matches and they will next travel to Owerri to face Heartland FC on Match-day six.