It’s in the bag, our first three points of the season. If however we had thought it was going to be a repeat of the 4-0 mauling we saw last season, we surely had it coming.
Kadiri Ikhana had quite a number of selection changes from that 1-1 draw with Lobi Stars. Captain Chinedu Udoji was unwell, giving room for Chibuzor Madu to partner Emmanuel Anyanwu (our captain on the day) in the heart of our defence. Chima Uluocha was injured (yet again) and Solomon Babatunde(not Razak Aliyu) came in his place. The other changes were up front where Mfon Udoh made his second start of the season for us.
Bayelsa United themselves fielded our ex goalkeeper Paul Godwin who left at the start of the season on mutual consent. Talk about impressing against your former teammates in a ground where you were once adored. Not that he got a bad reception, Aba fans don’t care about you being an ex player. What counts is that you are on the losing side in the day.
We started better with Babatunde with the first effort in the 4th minute but Hassan Oladimeji stood in the way of his strike. Daniel Etor who has been our best player so far this season was making those darting and forward runs that kept troubling our opponents. Ezekiel Bassey too in his first home appearance for us in the league also impressed but the visitors stood firm. We kept knocking on the door, coming close through Nonso Okonkwo and Mfon Udoh but a combination of good goalkeeping and woeful finishing kept things level at the break.
We eventually found the back of the net two minutes after the break. Mfon Udoh exchanging passes with Idris Aloma to get his first goal of the season, it’s the first of 30, according to him. Prior to the game he said he was fired up for the game, showing how dangerous a fired up Mfon Udoh can be. He’s not yet there physically yet but more games under his belt will do him some good and us as well.
We had more chances in the second period through Bassey and Etor. Kadiri would sub Nonso Okonkwo for Odeyemi who had a good game too. Two chances, one on target and the other off target in the 20 minutes he was offered to play. They were even reduced to ten men later on in the game but we couldn’t add to our tally.
In all, it was a good game, a welcome three points but we must learn to be more potent in front of goal. Its still early days and what matters more is the three points but to be honest, we will face quite some challenge this season with the likes of Pillars and Heartland looking strong already.
A line about the referee though. His performance was really interesting; sending off their player for basically doing nothing wrong and for denying us two penalties in the game. Balancing things?
There is an FA Cup game tomorrow and I will give you more details about that in the course of the day and of course in tomorrow’s blog post.
Enjoy your day guys and happy first three points.
P.S Congratultaions to Manu Garba and his boys for winning the AYC yesterday. Wellsone lads. Keep winning tournaments.