Akwa United recorded their fifth win on the trot under new coach Kennedy Boboye and move up to fourth on the log following a hard fought 1-0 victory over Wikki Tourists of Bauchi at the Nest of Champions in Uyo on Wednesday.

Winger Ubong Friday netted the only goal of the match in the 30th minute when he finished off a great attacking team move assisted by right-back Etboy Akpan. It was the winger’s first goal of the season.

The Promise Keepers, who won all their previous four matches, had to work hard to break down their northern visitors who went into the match having recorded one win in their last six league games.

After taking the lead, United failed to turn their superior possessions into further goals, but were able to repel the late charge of their opponents and held on to their first victory at home in the new year.

With just one change to the starting line up that defeated Jigawa Golden Stars in Kano, Paul Obata was given the nod to start taking the place of Aniekeme Asuquo.

Both sides engage each other fiercely early on with the visitors enjoying a good spell of possession, but a more disciplined Akwa United, slowly established their authority and dominated play.

In the 20th minute, United had two clear cut opportunities to go in front. Ubong Friday received a good pass on the half way line and raced towards goal before firing a low shot but it was parried away for a corner kick. Morice Chukwu also saw his long range strike sailed over the bar following a poor clearance by the visitors.

Few minutes later, in-form striker Akarandut Orok had a good chance to make it five goals in five games but he didn’t time his run to perfection when he blasted Ifeanyi Ifeanyi’s through ball over the bar, although he was flagged offside by the assistant referee on the near side.

United’s last chance in the first half came five minutes before the break, when left-back David Philip delivered a delightful cross into the box, but Paul Obata’s header lacked the venom to trouble Abubarka Adamu in Wikki’s goal.

On resumption, United poured forward in an attempt to double their advantage. In the 50th minute, Paul Obata comfortably beat his maker and drop a long ball to Ubong Friday but the winger spooned his effort. Moments later, Ndifreke Effiong was fouled outside the visitors box in a promising position but Paul Obata strike was way over the bar.

Wikki Tourists had their first attempt at goal in the 61st minute. Adamu Muhammad’s shot from close range was blocked by Jean Efala. Coach Boboye threw Wisdom Fernando and Dare Ojo into the frey to replace goalscorer Ubong Friday and Paul Obata.

The pressure from the home side almost resulted in another goal in the 75th minutes. David Philip found himself in a space and in a good position to score but he decided to square it to onrushing Wisdom Fernando who couldn’t reach it on time, allowing Adamu to make a save.

Captain Otobong Effiong came off the bench to taste action for the first time this season amids cheers from the spectators, when he replaced injured Etboy Akpan towards the end of the match

With two minutes to the end of the match, cameroonian goalkeeper Jean Efala produced a Man-of-the-Match save to deny Wikki Tourist the equaliser and secured all three points for his side.

The victory propelled the two-time Federation cup champions to 4th on the NPFL log with 22 points from 13 games. They will be guests to leaders Plateau United this weekend in Jos.

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