Heartland Beat Pillars In NPL Clash

Defending champions and league leaders, Kano Pillars, were subdued by Heartland FC in a Match Day 30 game decided at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri on Sunday.
Heartland’s new signing, Bobby Clement scored the game’s solitary goal in the first half to continue the Naze Millionaires’ recent surge on the Glo Premier League table.
It was also a remarkable win as it made the Owerri side the only team to so far claim four out of six points from Pillars with the reverse fixture in Kano ending 1-1.
The highly-entertaining clash decided in front of an appreciable crowd got off to the sort of start that the locals would love with the hosts making forays into their opponent’s penalty area.
Heartland almost got their noses in front after just four minutes when the enterprising Collins Nwaneri beat a badly set offside trap. He then teed up Clement but the striker blazed over the bar under pressure from Isaac Loute.
Clement however made amends with an instinctive finish in the 10th minute. The goal came after a swift interchange of passes between Julius Ubido and Collins Nwaneri down the left flank. The former then sent in a cut-back at the byline, allowing Clement to side-foot home leaving Pillars goalkeeper, Moses Ocheje rooted to a spot.
He continued his constant checks on the Pillars defence line and he almost added a second two minutes later. Having received the ball at the edge of the penalty box, he took on his marker with a couple of step-overs but his left-footed effort went narrowly wide.
Pillars managed to produce a response of some sorts. But for a goal-line clearance, the Sai Masu Gida would have equalized in the 17th minute.
Former Bayelsa United defender, Anthony Abawula’s long throw was flicked goal-wards by an unmarked Abdul Haruna but Kalu Orji was on hand to clear with goalkeeper Ebele Obi already beaten. The hosts hung on to their lead throughout the first half that witnessed a goal, dribbles, injuries and moments of anxiety.
Pillars started the second half looking more business-like and Ebele Obi was twice called upon in the opening ten minutes of the half to preserve his team’s lead.
Heartland there and then seized back the initiative and despite dominating for greater spell in the encounter, they could not create clear cut opportunities to kill off their opponents.
The last quarter of the game was seen out with some more entertaining stuff on display by both sides whilst both goalkeepers Ebele Obi and Moses Ocheje were booked for their time-wasting antics.
Heartland held on to their advantage and thus recorded another vital win (albeit a narrow one) as they climb the league ladder to seventh place.

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