It was an energetic display on Wednesday as visiting Giwa FC capitalized on an error by Bayelsa United to carve out a 1-1 draw on Match Day 27 of the Glo Premier League in front of a loud Oghara Township Stadium crowd.
Kadiri Samad put the hosts in front during added time of the first half before Henlong Charles cancelled the lead for Giwa in a match that Kokoriko Erepamo missed a 90th minute penalty which could have sealed a deserved victory for Bayelsa United.
The result ensured that Giwa FC stayed put in their fifth position with 43 points from 27 matches while Bayelsa United are last on the log with just 23 points.
The atmosphere of the encounter was charged even before kick off when centre referee Isaiah Patrick from Kaduna and other officials were contemplating shifting the match due to the heavy downpour that rendered the natural turf of Oghara Stadium waterlogged.
Although, the match was delayed for 30 minutes due to bad weather and late arrival of security personnel, the home fans vehemently rejected any plan by the officials to postpone the game. The 2,500 spectators however shouted in relief when the whistle signalled the beginning of the technically contested match.
Seeing that the fans were yearning for good football, players of both clubs took the same spirit to the pitch with the home side gaining an upperhand, driving and aggressively attacking their visitors.
It was Bayelsa United all the way as the hosts went in search of the first clear chance early in the match, when Raphael Onwurebe broke through from the left flank.
Unfortunately, the agile striker watched in disbelief as his volley, which had beaten the Giwa goalkeeper got stuck in the muddy part of the visitors’ goalpost. ‘Oh no!’ The fans retorted as the lucky Giwa goalkeeper Friday Achimugwu hurriedly picked up the ball.
When Bayelsa United realized that their efforts were ending in the mud, they changed to aerial ball passing and started shooting long range shots but nothing positive came from their efforts.
For Giwa FC, the Jos-based team did not announce their presence early in the match as they played a defensive game till the half hour mark but gave the hosts a run for their money.
Samad, who was later adjudged as Man Of The Match by a selected group of the media and some visiting football coaches, broke the deadlock about three minutes into the added time.
The Bayelsa United striker, who had two chances and wasted them midway into the rain-soaked tie grabbed a loose ball off a cross by Eric Frimpong, and coolly slotted the ball behind Achimugwu in goal for Giwa.
Half time score remained 1-0 in favour of Bayelsa and they maintained the score line for about 29 minutes into the restart before their hardworking defender, Dengo Ebinipere jumped high to handle the ball in the box.
Skipper Henlong Charles knew how precious the chance was for his club so he clinically curled the spot kick beyond goalkeeper Gideon Gambo on 76 minutes to restore parity for Giwa FC.
With less than ten minutes left on the clock, the infringements began to increase as players of both side exchanges hard tackles, earning Eric Frimpong (Bayelsa) and Henlong Charles (Giwa) a yellow card apiece.
Bayelsa players had penalty shouts while some funny fans were shouting for penalty kicks even when the fouls were committed around the centre circle but the no-nonsense referee Patrick and his assistants were not cajoled into taking such decision.
With just a minute left to play, the entire Bayelsa squad swarmed into Giwa’s defence and a pass sailed through to substitute Idehen Osamudiame. As Idehen drove the ball into the box, Giwa defenders went after him with their boots, that saw the player spinning down in the visitors’ box and referee Patrick wasted no time as he pointed to the spot.
The hosts however wasted a golden opportunity to clinch maximum points when Kokoriko Erepamo docilely played the ball into the waiting hands of Giwa goalkeeper Achimugwu on the dot of time and allowed the visitors to share the points in Oghara.
Giwa FC coach Aminu Musa spoke to npfl.ng in a post-match conference; “I’m happy that our effort in this match was rewarded with a point. It goes a long way in our plans to finish among the top teams in the Glo Premier League this season.
Bayelsa were not that easy, but we played our hearts out to get the draw. Our players gave a good account of themselves and I’m particularly happy because our proprietor, Chris Giwa himself was here to support the club. It was good he saw the high spirits in the boys.”
Bayelsa United coach George Ederekuma, was short of words to describe his disappointment, but managed to say: “I don’t know how to say what happened. It was a match we controlled. I don’t know why Dengo Ebinipere handled the ball at that crucial time. In short, I’m not in the mood to talk further about this game.”
Bayelsa United: 2 Gideon Gambo, 22 Ogundimu Mutiu, 15 Oladimeji Hazzan, 5 Adeboye Gabriel, 13 Dengo Ebinipere, 34 Henry Ezekiel, 12 Jafar Buhari, 4 Kokoriko Erepamo, 26 Kadiri Samad, 11 Onwurebe Raphael, 14 Kelly Lubo
Subs: 18 Raphael John, 29 Otakho Aghahowa, 27 Idehen Osamudiame, 10 Sanni Mohammed, 17 Eric Frimpong, 19 Essien Joseph, 7 Chinedu John Paul
Giwa FC: 23 Achimugwu Friday, 18 Hassan Abubakar, 29 Shitu Lawal, 35 Ambrose Jimmy, 6 Raji Nojeem, 5 Akide Ibrahim, 13 Mohammed Saleh, 27 Okoro Charles, 1 Henlong Charles, 11 Gyang Amos
Subs: 12 Ojo Olorunleke, 31 Ofordum Emeka, 33 Abubakar Hammed, 22 David Sunday, 28 Jacob Friday
On Target 7-6
Corner kicks 7-0
Yellow cards 1-1
Red Cards 0-0
CR: Isaiah Patrick
AR1: Idris Nuhu
AR2: Aliu Madugu
RR: Omonadevuae Stanley