Two goals in the first five minutes ensured Abia Warriors defeated Gombe United at the Umuahia Township Stadium on Sunday.
Peter Onyekachi and Chisom Chikatara got the goals for the home side early in the first half while Babalo Haruna pulled one back to give Gombe United the hope for a likely comeback and Effiong Ndifreke missed a second half penalty to ensure an edgy finish.
Ladan Bosso made four changes to the side that lost in midweek to league leaders Sharks FC of Port Harcourt. Leading goal scorer Bishop Onyeudo could only make the bench and was joined by Ogbonna Okemini, Omonigho and Sampson Chuks. In came Nwabalogu Chukwuemeka, Okoro Marshal, Jackson Daniel and Chisom Chikatara. The visitors had their own changes too- Alhassan Yusuf, Papa Idris, Ola Ogundele and Mba Obinna were all left out.
Abia Warriors came out with guns all blazing and should have been ahead when Onyekachi hit the woodwork in the first minute.
Gombe ignored the warning and three minutes later, Onyekachi got his goal. Ifeanyi Onyeali had sent in a lovely corner kick that fell nicely to the striker. His header was already in the back of the net before the visiting goal keeper could react.
No sooner had they scored than they doubled. Okoro was fouled about 20 yards out and when Nwabalogu lifted the ball into the box, Chikatara reacted fastest to nip in the ball beyond Ahmed Yusuf who came rushing out for the ball.
Warriors put their foot off the pedal and the visitors began to create their own chances.
Sadiq Shuaibu laid the ball to Haruna Adamu at the edge of the box but his strike was wayward. On the 29th minute, Babalo pulled one back for his side. Anyanwu was disposed by Adamu Mohammed and the striker found his team mate just outside the Abia Warriors box. The former El Kanemi Warriors striker curled his effort beyond Joseph Onuoha to half the deficit.
There could have been more goals in the second period but both sides couldn’t convert the opportunities created. Abia Warriors even missed a penalty on the 57th minute after Jackson Daniel was fouled by Macmarcel Obioha.
Babalo struck wide from Timothy Simon’s cross while substitute Sani Yarma nodded Shuaibu’s corner kick over.
Gombe had one more chance through Peter Jang but again his effort was over the bar. In the end, Abia Warriors held firm to deny Gombe United any points in Umuahia.
Abia Warriors: Onuoha, Ndifereke, Garba (Yellow), Nwabalogu, Anyanwu, Obaroakpo, Daniel (Obiegbu 58’), Marshal, Onyekachi, Onyeali, Chikatara(Onyeudo 73’).
Gombe United: Ahmed, Obioha, Simon, Kinairanga (Yellow), Efevwie, Jang, Madu (Yarma 69’), Haruna, Mohammed, Haruna (Usman 77’), Shuaibu (Asuquo 87’).
Stats: Abia Warriors Gombe United
Shots on target 6 4
Shots off target 8 7
Corner kicks 4 4
Offsides 3 1
Fouls 14 14
Yellow Card 1 2
Red Card 0 0