Good morning All,
So it ended goalless, both sides taking a share of the spoils to the disgust of a sizeable Warri crowd looking to cheer their club away from relegation.
Surely an improvement on last season’s visit here where we lost 2-1 enroute our historic seventh title but in all honesty, Warri Wolves look a side already down and out. They looked that bad. They are no longer that swashbuckling attacking side they were last season. Much of that has to do with the fact that Paul Aigbogun and his trio have switched sides.
It has been a strange old season for both these clubs- from finishing within the Continental places last year to a forgettable campaign this time around. Of course “forgettable” is relative; for us, it is sitting in 5th place, five points off the League leaders with two games to play. For Wolves, relegation stares them square in the face.
This should offer some much needed context. As Kevin Keegan said in his now infamous rant as Newcastle boss, “We’re still fighting for this title”. All things considered, this is a very welcome point. I mean when was the last time we got anything on the road? Perhaps in Udoji’s rally of “Every game a cup final” the fight is on.
The game itself was one of two identical halves. Mr Aigbogun went for same lineup against Akwa United with four changes. Razak Aliyu, Thankgod Ikeh, Chima Akas and ex Wolves midfield maestro Ikechukwu Ibenegbu. Akas drafted for injured Uwadiegwu as Udoji sat the game out. It appears our plea for some rest for him did not go unheeded.
Emma Anyanwu and Thankgod Ikeh centerback partnership worked to perfection. Emma producing his usual excellent positioning and good reading of the game. Ikeh himself was his usual leader of the defence. Uche John at Right Back looks a revelation. Afelokhai had just a few saves to make. Our defence was very impressive.
There were shots aplenty, both sides hit the woodwork twice each. Most notable was Ibenegbu’s freekick at the death. He was mightily close to repeating his freekick heroics from the weekend but could only strike the crossbar. In the end, a draw was just about the fair result. Neither team did enough to win and neither deserved to lose.
By the way, it was nice to see Razak Aliyu get a game. Kelly Kester has been immense all season but Razak was one of the standout performers of the last regime that lifted the trophy last season. That he has struggled for a place in the team is testament to our strength in depth. With the run in the Continent done and dusted, this depth in squad may give us an edge as the League season enters the home stretch.
Anything is possible.
Back tomorrow and one more thing, Happy New Month.