Abia warriors of Umuahia geared up for its last game in the first stanza as the team welcomed the ‘LALONG BOYS’ (Plateau United) to its temporary abode at the Okigwe township stadium.
The exciting fixture which was originally billed to take place on Sunday, 4th April was later shifted to Monday, 5th April as the venue was arranged for a double header with the Umuahia warlords trading tackles with Plateau United by 2pm whilst Heartland takes on Adamawa united by 4pm, all actions broadcasted live on the network services of the NTA and on NPFL.TV.
After a disappointing outing on match-day 18 away to Nasarwa united, the Coach Imama Amapakabo tutored side were poised to bounce back to winning ways and ending the first round on a high hence a formidable squad unleashed on Plateau United.
Coach Abdul Maikaba and his wards after a resounding victory against Rangers International on Match day 18 hoped to improve its away form in the current campaign hence a made major changes to the squad that won against Rangers at home in Jos.
In the keenly contested fixture which kicked off at exactly 2pm had goals from Paul Samson and Godwin Obaje either side of Mustapha Ibrahim’s penalty to ensure the Umuahia based outfit records a victory against Abdu Maikaba’s team.
Warriors needed just six minutes to take the lead through Paul Samson after a period of sustained pressure. The forward directed Mustapha Jibreel’s pass into the net, leaving goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye helpless.
The Jos based outfit, determined not to succumb to that early setback, threw everything they had including their plates, fork and knife going forward and it was not long before respite came, as Markson Ojobo fouled Oche Ochowechi inside the six-yard box in the 11th minute. Mustapha Ibrahim Yuga steeped foward to convert from the spot, thereby restoring parity for hisd side.
Plateau United’s joy was short-lived as Godwin Obaje restored the lead for the hosts in the 16th minute as Dele Ajiboye in goal for Plateau United failed to deal thoroughly with an aerial ball, allow the former League highest goalscorer to jab the ball into an empty net.
The goal was all the needed ginger the Imama Amapakabo’s side needed to push for more before the half time break.
Plateau United’s woes seemed to have been compounded when goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye was stretchered off after a self-inflicted injury following a miscued kick. Adamu Abubakar came on to replace him.
Few minutes after coming on, the goalkeeper was called to duty. Fatai Abdullahi tried to beat the shot-stopper from 12 yards, but he expertly parried the ball to safety.
Just before the break, the goalkeeper produced another brilliant save to deny Warriors. Mustapha Jibreel flicked Kabiru Mohammed’s corner towards goal but the Nigerian international goalie kept out the effort.
The 15mins rest and pep talk by the visitors had them emerge from the half-time break with renewed strength and showed their intent in the 54th minute, with Abba Umar presented with an opportunity to equalize, but his close-range shot was gallantly saved by goalkeeper Ojo Olorunleke who reacted quick to avert the danger.
Abia warriors nearly doubled their lead in the 62nd minute. Godwin Obaje headed straight at goal off a Mustapha Jibreel corner kick, but no thanks to the woodwork, the striker was denied the opportunity to get a brace.
Abia Warriors defended well in the final minutes to secure all three points, which moved them up to tenth in the standings.
Both teams will face each other again on Sunday, as the league enters its second half.