Striker Mfon Udoh capped a superlative performance with two wonderful goals as Akwa United were forced to a thrilling 2-2 draw by Plateau United on Matchday 4 of the 2018/2019 NPFL encounter at the Nest of champions on Wednesday.
Udoh scored in each half to put his team in front but a brilliant solo goal by Bernard Ovoke and an Injury-time strike by Benjamin Turba secured a point each for both sides on Coach Abdu Maikaba first match in Uyo since he left the side in October last year
The result leave the Promise Keepers without a win in their opening three matches of the season as they dropped to 11th on the NPFL Group B table after two draws and a defeat.
Coach Rafael Everton named the same side that started the 1-1 draw in Kano and they took the game to their visitors but struggled to find an opening through a stingy defense line.
Mfon Udoh and Cyril Olisema both went close to getting the curtain raiser but were denied by the sharp reflexes of Dele Ajiboye. However, Udoh gave his team the lead in the 22nd minute when he outpace his marker to slot in Etboy Akpan’s through ball.
Moments later, the Promise Keepers would have doubled their lead before the break, but Dele Ajiboye made a brilliant save to deny Juwon Oshaniwa. Coach Rafael Everton’s boys created two great chances but were unable to convert them when Mfon Udoh picked out Cyril Olisema inside the six yard box but the midfielder’s header narrowly missed the target and Udoh’s sweeping effort from Alberico Da Silva’s pass agonisingly went wide with Ajiboye well beaten.
The visitors stepped up their game in the second half and contained their hosts with some threatening moves going forward. Their effort was rewarded in the 60th minute when Bernard Ovoke dazzled his way into the box before scoring a superb goal to get his team back on level terms.
Persistent pressure by the home side was met by some resolute defending from Solomon Junior, Ogene Elijah, Daniel Itodo and Chizoba Amaefule. Coach Everton in a tactical switch introduced Ubong Friday, Paul Obata and Michael Ibe into the game to add bit to the attack.
The tactics paid off as the Promise Keepers restored their lead in the 76th minute through Mfon Udoh’s curling freekick from 30yards out.
Just as the Promise Keepers were thinking that they have the three points in the kitty, substitute Benjamin Turba broke the heart of Uyo fans with a thoundrous strike in stoppage time which secure the 2017 NPFL champions a vital away point on Coach Abdu Maikaba’s return to the Nest of champions.
With the result, Plateau United have 5 points from 4 games while the Promise Keepers have just 2 from a possible 9 points.
Akwa United will next travel to Lafia to engage Nasarawa United this weekend.