The Restoration Boys usurped the Peoples Elephant at the top of the league table after the NFF's Appeals Committee ruled that the Kano Pillars/Enyimba cracker be replayed in LokojaNPFL Round-Up
By Kolade Oni
3SC 1-1 ENYIMBA
The Oluyole Warriors will require more than a miracle to stay in the top flight for another season after the club lost more grounds in their push for elite division in their league clash with the Aba Millionaires at the Lekan Salami Stadium,Ibadan on Wednesday.
3SC had hoped to capture all points against Enyimba and then strive to get at least an away win from their visits to Yenagoa and Kaduna United to face Nembe City and Kaduna United.
Enyimba showed they were not in Ibadan for any tea party when they shot into the lead through defender, Andrew Abalogu in the 55th minute before another defender rescued 3SC from the jaw of defeat with an 82nd taken spot kick which salvaged a point.
The Oluyole Warriors are last on the log with 43 points from 35 matches while Enyimba's quest to win a double was done a lot of good in Ibadan. They however slipped to third on the log after the NFF's Appeals Committee ruled that they should replay the botched clash with Kano Pillars in Lokoja. They now have 56 points from 35 games and are behind Bayelsa United and Kano Pillars in the race for the league crown.
The win made the Restoration Boys the new league leaders with 58 points from 35 matches after the NFF's Appeals Committee overruled its O&D decision and ordered a replay of the league tie involving Pillars and Enyimba. Wolves rough path to the end of the season continued after the loss but they got a cheering news when they were awarded three points and goals by the NFF's Appeals Committee in their botched tie with Kwara United. They now have 52 points from 35 matches. They are now fifth on the log.
AKWA UNITED 0-0 NEMBE CITY
Akwa United are in danger of an early return to the lower league after only two seasons in the top flight after the Uyo side were held to a goalless draw by desperate Nembe City.
Akwa United have remained winless in their last five matches prior to this tie in both home and away games after their failure to pick maximum points from their last three consecutive home games against Heartland, Nasarawa United and now Nembe City. Their last win was on September 1st,2013 when the club dimmed Sunshine Stars 4-0 at the Uyo Township Stadium. They have equally lost at Enugu Rangers and Enyimba. They gained a road point at Sharks after the impressive win over the Akure Gunners.
Besides 3SC that is nearer to a return to the National League, Akwa United are almost set to follow suit expect if something special happens in their last three games which included two away games at troubled Warri Wolves and Kwara United.
Akwa United are 19th on the log with 44 points from 35 matches while Nembe City slipped a spot down to 17th with 46 points from 35 games.
SHARKS 3-1 HEARTLAND
Gbenga Ogunbote magic wand continued in glowing style at the Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt on Wednesday when he spearheaded the Blue Angels' 3-1 triumph over troubled Heartland of Owerri.
The Naze Millionaires almost boycotted the league tie in Port Harcourt after they alleged the Imo government had reneged on the promise he made to offset their outstanding debt before a meeting with Imo's helmsman, Owelle Rochas Okorocha brokered a truce.
Sharks easily dispatched a dispirited Heartland to improve their lot on the league table to best ever position this season-sixth. Goals from Jonah Abutu, Stowe Thompson and Fortune Omoniwari sank Heartland before Akor Isah Umoru broke his long term goal drought to reduce the tally to 3-1.
The Blue Angels have 50 points from 35 matches while Heartland are gradually fading away after some uninspiring results of recent. They are now in danger of slipping to drop zone if they fail to beat El Kanemi Warriors this weekend. They are currently 14th on the log and only away from the relegation by virtue of their better goals difference. They have same 46 points as 17th placed Nembe City.
SUNSHINE STARS 1-1 ENUGU RANGERS
Enugu Rangers survived late push by Sunshine Stars to win the home tie by all means. The match official inexplicably awarded two penalty kicks to the Akure Gunners which they couldn't convert while an alleged own goal scored by the home team was not sighted by the centre referee as the Flying Antelopes held on to the draw in the game played at the Akure Township Stadium.
Rangers' players were left unhappy after they could only get a draw as against a road victory they targeted so highly in the Glo Premier League Matchday 35 tie. Rangers' players were promised a whooping N500,000 and N300,000 respectively if they get either a win or draw at away in the remainder of the league season by the club's Board chairman, Festus Onu.
This propelled the Coal City side against Sunshine and they aptly took the lead in the 44th minute through in-form Chinedu Udeagha but Sunshine fought back gamely and equalised through Philip Auta who was also responsible for the goal that sank the Akure Gunners' last home opponents, El Kanemi Warriors.
Speaking with Goal from Akure the director, media and publicity, Foster Chime said that the players put up one of their best displays of the season to hang on to the morale boosting draw as they seek a late onslaught on a place on the continent.
"We are happy with this draw although a win would have been ideal because strove to get win to booster our continental ticket target. We shall continue to do our best to ensure we get it.
"The promise made by Rangers' Board Chairman, Festus Onu and other well meaning personalities of the club is working wonders and we shall go back home to face Sharks full of optimism," Chime said. Rangers retained 5th position on the log with 52 points from 35 games while Sunshine are eighth on the log with 49 points from same number of matches.
BAYELSA UNITED 1-0 WARRI WOLVES
At the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa, Bayelsa United overcame Warri Wolves 1-0 through a penalty kick converted by Azubuike Okechukwu in the 49th minute.
Bayelsa United's media officer, George Ameli told Goal that the centre referee pointed to the penalty spot in the 49th minute when a long throw-in into the vital area of the Seasiders touched the hand of a defender.
The win kept the Restoration Boys in second spot behind Enyimba with 58 points from 35 matches while Wolves rough path to the end of the season continued as they remain on 49 points from 35 matches. They are seventh on the log
WIKKI TOURISTS 2-0 KADUNA UNITED
Wikki Tourists made home advantage count after they eased to a 2-0 win over Kaduna United at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi in a Matchday 35 Glo Premier League tie.
The Bauchi side who are dodged by relegation worries grabbed a morale boosting victory through goals from Ahmed Ahmed and Usman Sani.
They predictably went off the block faster than the visiting Kaduna United and despite the heavy presence of the Ambrose brothers, Skipper Emma and Peter(siblings of Efe) the Crocodile couldn't muster any attempt to get a draw in Bauchi.
Wikki moved to 18th on the log with 45 points from 35 matches while Kaduna United are 13th with 47 points from as many games.ABS 1-0 NASARAWA UNITED
Audu Akeem’s solitary strike sealed maximum points for the Ilorin side at home to the Lafia visitors as the race to stay in the elite division heats up in the league that is on home stretch.
ABS have 46 points from 35 matches to be placed 16th while Nasarawa United are just a step higher than the Ilorin side with 46 points from as many matches.
EL KANEMI WARRIORS VERSUS DOLPHINS
The tie would be decided later Thursday after the League Management Company(LMC) moved the game by one day because of force majeur had by Dolphins on their way to the acclaimed territory of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
A win will keep El Kanemi in third position while a draw will further keep the Port Harcourt dwellers off the relegation zone. They are currently 12th on the log with 47 points from 34 matches while El Kanemi are presently fourth with 54 points from as many matches.
KANO PILLARS 2-0 KWARA UNITED
This game was concluded Thursday morning after it was abandoned due to downpour on Wednesday at the Kaduna Township Stadium the new home ground of Kano Pillars. Kano Pillars eventually triumphed 2-0 against Kwara United. Pillars were banished out of Kano after the unruly behaviour of their fans during their league game with Enyimba some weeks ago.
The game was first called off in the 32nd minute by the match officials after consultation with both teams and the match commissioner because the pitch was water logged and only situable for water polo sport. But it the remaining minutes were played on Thursday morning.
Pillars were in control before the game was abandoned as the club took the lead in the sixth minute through an own goal converted by Kwara United's defender, Uche John. Another defender, Promise James made it 2-0 when he netted in the 71st minute of the encounter.
Pillars are now second on the log with 57 points from 35 matches. They benefitted from the ruling of the NFF's Appeals Committee which ordered a replay of their tie with Enyimba. Kwara United however lost out in their bid to have their abandoned tie with the Seasiders replayed. The Afonja Warriors lost three points and goals to Warri Wolves and they fell heavily to 12th on the log with 48 points from 35 matches.
Follow Kolade Oni on