Akwa United put up a convincing performance on Matchday 13 to record a resounding 3-0 victory over Rivers United on Sunday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo to improve their standing to 5th position on the NPFL table.
First half goal by striker Mfon Udoh and two second half goals by striker Charles Atshimene and midfielder Morice Chukwu saw the Promise Keepers continue their impressive home run.
Coach Kennedy Boboye’s team have now won five, drawn two of their seven home games, and also picked up one win and two draws away from home thus far, this season.
The victory over the Pride of Rivers moves Akwa United to 22 points from 13 games having scored 16 goals and letting in nine.
Coach Boboye made just one change to the starting line up that drew in Aba, with striker Mfon Udoh given the nod to start after recovering from illness while Ubong Essien started on the bench.
After a nervy start to the game, the Promise Keepers turned on the heat and pushed their visitors back into their own half with some eye-catching display.
Akwa United’s first real chance of the game came in the 22nd minute when youngster Godswill Nicholas located Charles Atshimene with a through ball, the striker cut in with his left foot and delivered a low cross with his right foot into the box but none of his teammates was there to finish it off.
Moments later, Rivers United’s goalkeeper Theopilous Afelokhai miscued a clearance and it fell for Charles Atshimene, who decided to cut it back to strike partner Ndifreke Effiong, but the effort was intercepted and cleared.
Six minutes before half time, Ndifreke Effiong recieved a good pass and located Seth Mayi, the midfielder took on three Rivers United’s defenders neatly before sending a low ball through to Mfon Udoh. The striker composed himself and fired a powerful left-footed strike beyond Theophilus Afelokhai into the bottom left corner of the post to put the home team in front with his third goal of the season.
Mfon Udoh had a golden opportunity to increase his tally and his team’s lead when he was served a wonderful pass but he hit it straight at the goalkeeper from inside the six-yard box. Deep into first half stoppage time, Mfon Udoh saw his thunderbolt shot hitting the side of the net, albeit from a tight angle as they went into the break with a deserved lead.
Six minutes after the restart, Akwa United doubled their advantage through Charles Atshimene who benefitted from Theophilus Afelokhai’s error to score his third goal of the season.
In a tactical switch, coach Boboye introduced midfielder Dare Ojo and striker Ikechukwu Nwani to replace goalscorer Mfon Udoh and youngster Godswill Nicholas as the Promise Keepers continued to dominate and dictate the pace of the game.
In the 71st minute, Rivers United who rarely created any chance, had a wonderful opportunity to reduce the deficit when Godwin Aguda combined well with Fortune Omoniwari but their final effort at goal was comfortably saved by Adewale Adeyinka.
Akwa United’s technical crew effected another tactical substitution to add more force to the team. Combative midfielder Ubong Essien and striker Akarandut Orok were introduced towards the end of the match to replace enterprising Seth Mayi and goalscorer Charles Atshimene.
The four substitutes complimented the efforts of their colleagues and continued to press forward for more goals but it was Rivers United who also introduced some fresh legs that threatened their hosts with two quick attempts but failed on both occasions to hit the target.
Towards the closing stages of the game, Abass Sadick was called in to replace Ndifreke Effiong. With a minute before the end of the match, the Promise Keepers hit on the counter attack but striker Ikechukwu Nwani was brought down just outside Rivers United’s box and the referee rightly awarded a free-Kick to Akwa United.
Morice Chukwu took up the responsibility and curled a superb strike beyond Rivers United’s defence wall into the net to cap a superlative team display with an emphatic 3-0 victory over a poor Rivers United’s side who have now lost all six of their away matches in all competitions.
The win is Akwa United’s sixth victory of the season and their fifth win at home in seven matches. They will next engage Warri Wolves on Match-day 14 away from home.