Second half substitute Noah Wafula scored the the all important goal to guide Ingwe to their first win of the season and ease pressure on under-fire coach Tom Olaba
AFC Leopards coach Tom Olaba was a relieved man after his side picked maximum points courtesy of a 1-0 win over Western Stima in Kenyan Premier League (KPL) played match at Nyayo Stadium on Sunday.
New signing Noah Wafula scored the lone goal in the 70th minute latching onto a Bernard Mangoli quickly taken throw in to ensure Leopards picked their first win of the season.
Before Sunday, Olaba was a man under siege as on two occasions, the fans turned against him calling for his sacking and it is not clear what would have happened if the team had come short against Stima.
Coming into the match with desire to win, Leopards showed more urgency in front of goal as Allan Wanga won a free-kick that was taken by Charles Okwemba but Ben Roberts in Stima's goal kept it out.
Stima also had a chance to go ahead in the seventh minute but Job Omuse's cross was quickly intercepted by Matin Musalia in goal. Omuse and Wesley Kemboi, who won the man of the match Award, were a thorn in the Leopard's defense with the latter making his mark with a powerful shot that went just inches over the bar.
At the quarter-hour mark, Stima were denied a goal after Hedmound Mauda was judged to have scored from an off-side position.
Paul Were then swerved a curling shot which went just wide above the Stima bar with five minutes to the break. It was however, Stima who ended the half on a positive note but still with no goal after Dennis Onkangi headed out with only Martin Musalia to beat in the Leopards' goal.
Stima kept up the pressure in the second half and were unlucky not to go ahead after just five minutes when Dennis Okangi headed into the post from a Wesley Kemboi free-kick.
Leopards then rested Paul Were for Bernard Mangoli and Charles Okwemba for Noah Wafula in a move that gave them some strength upfront. Hudson Mukaho was cautioned by centre referee Damaris Kimani for rough play on Mangoli as Leopards began to exert pressure on their opponents.
Stima still dominated possession and will blame themselves for not having been ahead. A lapse in concentration after 70th minute allowed Mangoli to quickly take a throw in which found Noah Wafula unmarked and he ran into the Stima defense blasting home the only goal of the match.
The goal gave Leopards plenty of confidence afterwards allowing them to take control of matters in the match and will be glad to pick their first win of the season.