The hard work of the Yenagoa side has eventually paid off as they have been rewarded with a spot at the top of the NPFL after a battling goalless draw in Akure in match day 28
Bayelsa United are the new league leaders after they battled home team, Sunshine Stars to a draw at the Akure Township Stadium on Thursday morning.
Heavy downpour had prevented the game from being played on Wednesday after the heavens opened and forced both teams to retreat till Thursday morning.
Goal was informed that the Akure Gunners did all within reach to scoop all points but they met a determined Bayelsa United side who defended resolutely knowing that at least a draw would take them to the summit of the log.
The Isa Ladan Bosso led team have dislodged Enyimba from the top. The Aba Elephants regained top spot from Pillars on Wednesday night after they beat Gombe United 3-0 but they relinquished the position less than 24 hours to Bayelsa United.
Bayelsa United have 46 points from 28 matches and may still stay top weekend if they beat Sharks of Port Harcourt. Sunshine are 11th with 38 points from 28 games. The Akure side will visit Uyo as guest of Akwa United this weekend.
ENYIMBA 3-0 GOMBE UNITED
Enyimba reign at the top could not last 24 hours after they stayed briefly at the top on Wednesday. The sixth times league champions mauled Gombe United 3-0 at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba in a rather one sided affair but Bayelsa United's goalless draw meant they stay second with a point behind the Yenagoa side.
Goals from Ifeanyi Ede, Bishop Onyeudo and substitute Emeka Nwanna in the 11th, 35th and 55th minutes respectively handed all points to the Aba Millionaires and placed them second on the log.
Both Enyimba and Pillars have 45 points each but the Peoples Elephant are ahead on better goals difference.
Enyimba will make a short road trip to Port Harcourt to face wounded Dolphins this weekend while Gombe United will seek to extend their impressive home record as they welcome Nembe City.
ENUGU RANGERS 2-1 LOBI STARS
Lobi Stars have returned to the bottom of the league table a position they left briefly last week after a 1-2 loss to Enugu Rangers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.
The Makurdi Bombers shot into a surprise lead in the 15th minute when Lobi's academy graduate, Joshua Abanyi scored the curtain raiser to the delight of his team mates.
The hosts however fought back gamely to score two goals through Christian Obiozor in the 40th and 50th minutes to hand all points to the Flying Antelopes.
Abanyi, evaded seas of Rangers legs to plant the lead in the 15th minute but gangling Obiozor leapt highest to nod home the equaliser about five minutes before halftime as both sides ended the first half one goal apiece.
At the restart of the second half, Obiozor again popped up to punish fumbling Lobi's defender, Stephen Eze to score what turned out to be the match winner in the 50th minute.
The win catapulted Rangers to 7th on the log with 42 points from 28 matches while Lobi went down to the bottom of the log as they remain on 35 points from 28 matches.
In a brief chat with Goal after the encounter, Lobi's Boss, Dominic Iorfa put the blame on the loss of concentration of his wards and he promised to liaise with the technical crew on how best to correct this ahead of their weekend game at home to Nasarawa United.
"We lost due to our inability to stay focus for the entire 90 minutes and we paid dearly for it with Rangers coming back to haunt us with two goals after we had scored first.
"We don't have to dwell too much on this loss. We shall go back home and correct our errors to get back to winning ways. I still want to reiterate that Lobi will not go on relegation. We shall get enough points to remain in the elite division next season," Iorfa urged.
HEARTLAND 2-0 KANO PILLARS
Heartland of Owerri played well and chalked up three points in a 2-0 win at home to Kano Pillars at the Dan Anyiam Stadium on Wednesday.
The Naze Millionaires who were a spot from the relegation zone before the match knew they needed a win to steer clear of the drop zone and they quickly settled down to business when they got the first goal in the third minute through Kingsley Udoh according to the record of the centre referee Sylvester Okobi from Edo State made available to Goal . Other media wrongly credited the goal to Happy Okuoka.
The Owerri side kept on the momentum and it paid of when they got the second goal in the 85th minute through Bright Ejike.
The win lifted Heartland to 14th on the log with 37 points from 28 games while the loss sent Pillars to third with 45 points from 27 games. They are only third by their inferior goals difference to Enyimba. They still have a game at hand at home to Akwa United slated for September 4th.
The game was watched by Imo State Deputy Governor Prince Madumere and other top government functionaries who all thronged the Dan Anyiam Stadium,Owerri to show solidarity to Heartland that have complained of neglect from the state government.
Prince Madumere was impressed with the way Heartland defeated the erstwhile league leaders that he doled out N600,000 to the team after the match and he promised to subsequently watch all the club's home matches till the end of the season. He also promised his support to the cause of Heartland.
The Naze Millionaires will next travel to Wikki Tourists who will be desperate for all points to steer them clear of relegation zone after their 1-2 slump to Sharks in Port Harcourt while Pillars will play Enugu Rangers in Kano. Both matches take place this weekend.
WARRI WOLVES 4-0 KADUNA UNITED
Warri Wolves halted their five matches without a win in the NPFL with a resounding 4-0 thrashing of hapless Kaduna United at the Warri City Stadium yesterday.
Musa Najere got a hat trick in the 2nd, 26th and 78th minutes for the home team and Oghenekaro Etebo with the other goal in the 29th minute.
Etebo's strike took his tally to 11 this season in his debut season in the premier league.
The Seasiders moved into 6th on the log with 42 points from 28 matches while Kaduna United slipped to 12th with 38 points from the same number of matches.
Wolves will take a trip to Ilorin to face Kwara United this weekend while Kaduna United host Pillars in a northern derby also this weekend.
NASARAWA UNITED 4-0 DOLPHINS
Victor Namo got his first hat-trick for the Lafia side as they smashed Dolphins 4-0 in the first home match for new head coach, Kadiri Ikhana on Wednesday.
Namo, the former Pillars' striker got the goals in the 2nd, 24th and 79th minutes. Habu Mohammed had earlier netted in the 41st minute for Nasarawa United's third goal before Namo added one more to accord him the right to go home with the official match ball for his heroics.
Despite the loss, the Lafia side only moved two spots up from the bottom position they occupied last week. They have 36 points from 28 matches to be placed 18th while Dolphins capitulation saw them slide to ninth on the log with 39 points from 28 games.
Dolphins must dust themselves as quickly as possible as they host Enyimba this Sunday at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt while Nasarawa United too must be at their best again if they are to get anything at the Chief Emmanuel Akume Atongo Stadium, Katsina Ala this weekend.
SHOOTING STARS 2-0 EL KANEMI WARRIORS
3SC outplayed their visitors from Maiduguri before inflicting a 2-0 home win on them at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Ibadan on Wednesday to move away from the relegation zone.
The Oluyole Warriors were in the 18th position before the start of the matchday 28 tango but the win catapulted them to 16th with 36 points. They need at least an away win and also victory in all their remaining home matches to be safe of relegation worries.
After a barren first half, Raphael Musa put the Ibadan side in the lead in the 56th minute before a fine goal from
Osagona Ighodaro in the 70th minute sealed an important win for 3SC.
3SC could consolidate on their position on the log with another home win against ABS on Sunday. El Kanemi will have a date with Kaduna United at home this weekend. They are fourth with 44 points from 28 matches.
NEMBE CITY 2-0 KWARA UNITED
The Afonja Warriors lost more grounds in their quest to win the league this season with a surprise 0-2 loss to premier league newcomers, Nembe City at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa.
Jonathan Zikiye and Ebitimi Agogo's goals in the 24th and 50th minutes improved Nembe's standing on the log to 13th with 38 points from 28 matches while Kwara United are fifth with 44 points from as many games.
Kwara United's head coach, Samson Unuanel admitted his lads were off day against their more determined opponents but promised to revitalise the side ahead of Warri Wolves' visit this weekend. Nembe will take their survival battle to Gombe as they play Gombe United this weekend too.
ABS FC 1-0 AKWA UNITED
ABS gained a reprieve in their push against facing the chop from the elite division after a laboured 1-0 home win over Akwa United with the visitors' Kelvin Nwoku scoring the only goal of the match in the 55th minute.
Nwoku diverted a cross from the flank through Ajibola Otegbeye into the vital area of the Uyo side into his own net after waves of pressure from the home team.
The Ilorin side were given a three match ultimatum after their 2-2 at draw to Wikki Tourists two weeks ago and they opened the ultimatum with a loss to Bayelsa United last Sunday. They needed a win and they got it 10 minutes after the restart of the second half.
ABS are 18th on the log with 36 points from 28 matches while Akwa United are 15th with 37 points from 27 ties. ABS travel to Ibadan to face 3SC this weekend while Akwa United must make home advantage count as they hosts bad travellers, Sunshine Stars on Sunday.
SHARKS FC 2-1 WIKKI TOURISTS
The Blue Angels had a scare from visiting Wikki Tourists but still did enough to score the winning goal seven minutes from time to record another important three points in their bid to halt being called relegation battlers.
Gbenga Ogunbote’s Sharks started brightly when they led through Ezeoha Okereke in the 26th minute but they allowed Wikki to claw their way back into the game with the equaliser in the 51st minute through
Ibrahim Shuaibu but Thompson Stowe's 83rd minute clincher ensured there won't be a repeat of last year's shocking 2-3 home loss to same side at the Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt.
Sharks are 10th with 39 points from 28 games while Wikki slid to 17th with 36 points from 28 matches too.
The Blue Angels will have their works cut out as they play in-form Bayelsa United at the Samson Siasia Stadium this weekend while Wikki must aim for maximum points at home to Heartland of Owerri also this weekend.