Akwa United were left to rue their missed chances as second half goals from Samuel Nnoshiri and Pascal Eze helped Heartland Football Club to a 2-1 victory on Match-day 6 of the Nigeria Professional Football League at Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri on Sunday afternoon.
The Promise Keepers put up a dominant display and were clearly the better side from the blast of the referee’s whistle before taking the lead through striker Mfon Udoh’s finish in the 33rd minute.
Moments after the opener, Akwa United had three good scoring chances to increase their lead but the frontmen failed to deliver, with Seth Mayi, Mfon Udoh, Ikechukwu Nwani and Ubong Friday, the culprits, making the Promise Keepers head to the tunnel with a one nil advantage.
Heartland got their equalizer three minutes after the restart when referee adjudged that Morice Chukwu had fouled an attacking player in the box and awarded a penalty to the hosts. Goalkeeper Adewale Adeyinka managed to get his fingers to the ball but could not keep out Samuel Nnoshiri’s strike.
The Promise Keepers continued to surge forward in search of the winning goal and on the hour mark, Mfon Udoh had a one-on-one effort inside the box saved by Ezenwa after a brilliant buildup by Mayi.
Coach Boboye replaced Mfon Udoh with Wisdom Fernando. Akwa United should have taken the lead moments after Fernando’s introduction. Ikechukwu Nwani cleverly carved an opening in Heartland’s backline to locate Fernando but the winger blast his effort across the face of goal instead of passing to his teammate Ubong Friday who was unmarked inside the box.
Towards the closing stages of the game, Charles Atshimene and Ubong Essien were introduced to take the place of Seth Mayi and Ikechukwu Nwani. But it was Heartland who took the lead in a controversial fashion when Pascal Eze who appeared to be in an offside position tapped in a long ball beyond Adewale.
Late efforts by the Promise Keepers to get themselves back into the game was unsuccessful as the hosts held on to secure their second win of the season and their first over Akwa United in their last five attempts.
The result pushed the Promise Keepers further down the table to 14th on the log with six points from six games. They will next battle Kano Pillars in Uyo on Match-day 7.