Mfon Udoh’s spectacular goal, direct from a corner kick, proved decisive as Akwa United recorded a one-nil victory over Adamawa United on Matchday 8 of the Nigeria Professional Football League on Wednesday in Gombe.
Udoh’s curling corner kick in the second half, flew above everyone in the crowded box and bounced into the bottom left corner of the post as the Promise Keepers secured their first away win of the 2020/2021 NPFL season in Adamawa United’s adopted home ground at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe.
The goal was Mfon Udoh’s second of the season after scoring his first in a 2-1 defeat to Heartland in Owerri on Matchday 6.
Coach Kennedy Boboye kept faith with the same starting eleven that defeated Kano Pillars in Uyo on Match-day 7 and the boys responded with a brilliant display against a struggling but determined Adamawa United side, who are winless since the start of the season.
A purposeful start by Adamawa United almost paid off in the 9th minute following a quick break of play. Adam Yakubu and Isa Garba combined to release Idris Abubarka, only for the striker to hit his shot against the cross bar.
Despite enjoying a greater percentage of ball possession, the Promise Keepers were unable to break the defense of their hosts. And in the 24th minute Mfon Udoh and Etboy Akpan fed Salisu Saidu with a wonderful pass. The striker got the best of his markers before firing a weak shot off target.
Three minutes later, Ndifreke Effiong did well to muscle his way through in the midfield to drop a defense splitting pass in-between Seth Mayi and Salisu Saidu but both players failed to make the most of of it.
Coach Kennedy Boboye’s men continued their dominance and in the 34th minute, Seth Mayi cleverly cut through Adamawa United’s defence and released a fierce strike from a tight angle only for his shot to come off the post.
Towards the end of the first half, Akwa United pushed forward and Sampson Gbadebo dropped a long diagonal ball to Etboy Akpan, who delivered a good cross into the box, but Saidu Salisu’s header lacked the needed venom to trouble Victor Philemon in Adamawa United’s goal, leaving both teams to go into the half time break on level terms.
Coach Boboye made two substitutions shortly before the commencement of the second stanza, David Philip and Amadi Samuel replaced Ubong Friday and Otobong Effiong. But it was the hosts that missed the chance to go in front when they were awarded a free-kick in a promising position after a foul by Olisa Ndah but Silas Alfred’s attempt went off target.
Enterprising Seth Mayi lifted a good pass over Adamawa United’s defence to release Saidu Salisu, the striker in an attempt to get the ball, sustained what appeared to be an ankle injury and was replaced by striker Charles Atshimene, three minutes into the second half.
The Promise Keepers’ attacking play opened up Adamawa United’s defence as Ndifreke Effiong did well to fend off a challenge before cutting it back to Mfon Udoh whose low strike was heading towards the bottom corner but the goalkeeper Victor Philemon was in his element to punch it out for a corner. A second attempt at goal by Mfon Udoh within a space of four minutes was blocked out for a corner kick.
Mfon Udoh took the responsibility and delivered a spectacular curling corner kick which evaded everyone in the box to find its way into the back of the net in the 58th minute.
Six minutes later, a beautiful piece of play between Mfon Udoh and Ndifreke Effiong fell for Samuel Amadi, but the winger blasted his effort over the bar.
Akwa United’s goalkeeper Adewale Adeyinka was called to action in the 69th minute when Emmanuel Ibiekwu latched onto a lose ball which was flying towards the far post but Adewale pulled off a brilliant save to deny the home side.
Coach Boboye introduced Ubong Essien and Dare Ojo to replace Mfon Udoh and Morice Chukwu in the closing stages of the game.
Adamawa United, in a desperate attempt to find the equalizer poured forward but they were kept at bay by a water-tight back-four of Etboy Akpan, Olisa Ndah, Sampson Gbadebo and David Philip as they held on to seal their first away victory of the season.
The result moves the Promise Keepers to 9th on the log with 12 points from eight games. Akwa United will next entertain Katsina United on Match-day 9 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Nest of Champions on Monday February 8, 2021.