Ocheme Edoh’s 90th minute header rescued a point for Akwa United in their last home match of the 2018/2019 NPFL season as they held relegation threatened Abia Warriors FC to a 2-2 draw at the Godswill Akpabio international stadium in Uyo on Monday.
Ibrahim Olawoyin put the visitors’ in front in the 30th minute before Aniefiok Godspower levelled the scores two minutes later. Obi Samson then benefitted from a lose ball to restore his team’s lead before substitute striker Ocheme Edoh rose to head home the equaliser in the 90th minute as both teams have a share of the spoils on Matchday 21.
The League Management Company had directed that all Matchday 21 fixtures be played simultaneously on Monday. And the Promise Keepers who lost their last away game in Asaba didn’t have much to play for having already secured their place in the season ending Super-Six playoffs, but coach Rafael Everton fielded a strong side for his team’s last home match of the season.
Shortly before kickoff, Akwa United players displayed a banner – with inscription “SUPER 6 HERE WE COME. THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT. ONLY GOD” thanking their fans for their support throughout the season.
Cocah Everton handed goalkeeper, Emmanuel Iwu his first start of the season. Etboy Akpan, Blaise Adou, Wilson Elu and Kodjovi Dadzie started in the defence. Youngsters Ubong Essien and Emmanuel Charles accompanied Brazilian Alberico Da Silva in the midfield, while Wisdom Fernando, Aniefiok Godspower and top striker Mfon Udoh operated up front in a 4-3-3 style of play.
The Promise Keepers’ dominated the early parts of the game and created plethora of chances but failed to convert them.
In the 6th minute, Wisdom Fernando skipped past Abia Warriors defenders and delivered a delightful cross into the box but his pass met Mfon Udoh in an offside position. Two minutes later, Alberico Da Silva pushed his way towards the visitors’ goal but his final effort sailed over the bar. In the 10th minute, Akwa United again had a great opportunity to go in front when Mfon Udoh decided to shoot at goal from a tight angle instead of passing to Aniefiok Godspower who was unmarked in the box.
Four minutes later, Godspower out paced his markers with a searching run forward but his cut back pass intended for Wisdom Fernando was deflected out for a corner kick. Godspower deliver a great ball into the vital area but Alberico could not direct his header towards goal.
In a rare counter attack, Abia Warriors took the lead after some brilliant interchange in Akwa United’s box which finally fell on the path of Ibrahim Olawoyin who scored beautifully.
The Visitors’s joy was however short lived when Aniefiok Godspower levelled the scores less than 90 seconds of Olawoyin’s goal. The in-form forward directed Wisdom Fernando’s low cross from the right into the bottom left corner of the net for his 4th league goal of the season.
Coach Rafael Everton substituted Mfon Udoh at half time and he was replaced by Ocheme Edoh. The first real chance of the second half fell for Emmanuel Charles following a good move by Aniefiok Godspower but the youngster failed to pull the trigger when it mattered most.
The visitors’s had a crack at goal but goalkeeper Emmanuel Iwu was in his right element to tip Ozioma Goodluck’s long range strike over the bar. With twenty minutes before the end of the game, Coach Everton introduced Cyril Olisema and Chigozie Chilekwu in places of Alberico Da Silva and Wisdom Fernando.
The lively Chigozie Chilekwu made three great attempts in the space of few minutes but his effort were not enough to trouble goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo in Abia Warriors’ goal. Instead, it was the visitors from Umuahia who restored their lead in the 82nd minute when substitute Obi Samson displaced Kodjovi Dadzie to score his team’s second of the game.
The home side in an attempt to get back on level terms, piled more pressure on the visitors and it paid off in the 90th minute when Man-of-the-Match Aniefiok Godspower produced a brilliant work down the left and delivered a delightful cross into the box. Bulky striker Ocheme Edoh rose the highest and nodded it home from close range as the game ended 2-2.
Both sides had earlier this season played out a 1-1 in Umuahia and the results in Uyo means that Akwa United will go into their last match of the season on 38 points from 21 games against FC Ifeanyi Ubah in Nnewi this weekend while Abia Warriors Will host Kano Pillars at Umuahia Township Stadium in a match that may determined their feat in the NPFL next season.