.As Enyimba’s Udoh Shatters Goals Record –
It may go down as the most dramatic eve of the final Match Day of the Nigeria Premier League, NPL, with records shattered and new ones set.
Three hat tricks, breached season’s goal record and confirmation of title win are part of the make-up of the excitement and anxieties of the 2013/14 season that may have been brought to a high ending even with a match left to go as defending Champions, Kano Pillars raced to a 4-0 win at home to Nembe City for their third Glo NPL title on the trot.
Chasing rivals Enyimba International could only salvage a draw in Port Harcourt against Dolphins but for the Aba Elephant’s forward, Mfon Udoh, it was a mixed grill as he left the pitch as the first player to have scored 21 goals in a league season.
Some of the other high points of the day include the hat tricks in Abuja, Benin and Jalingo. In Benin, Bayelsa United’s Peter Ebimobowei scored thrice to bring his total for the season to 18 goals as his side came from behind to maul Lobi Stars 4-1.
Saviour Fidelis got the second hat trick of the day in Jalingo in a 3-0 demolition of Crown FC by FC Taraba while in Abuja, Ocheme Edoh hit three past El-Kanemi in a 4-2 win by Giwa.
Pillars win at home to Nembe City established an unassailable lead at 65 points and there isn’t any club with even a mathematical chance of getting par with the Cup holders.
Enyimba needed an outright win to keep the title race open but stuttered on 54 minutes when Chidiebere Okolie’s effort took a deflection to put goalkeeper Femi Thomas on the wrong foot.
And it was Enyimba’s Udoh that made a history of his own, becoming the first player in the history of the League to net 21 goals in one season courtesy of his 76th minute’s header that leveled scores for the former champions who have seen their record three consecutive league wins equaled by the Masu Gida boys.
Chidiebere Okolie had put Dolphins ahead on 54 minutes when his effort benefited from a deflection that had Femi Thomas wrong-footed.
Pillars victory on the day began on 23rd minute by Gambo Mohammed when he headed off a delivery from Promise James. Azeez Shobowale scored the first of his two on the day with a superb finish after Chijioke Umeonaku failed to completely deal with another good delivery by James on 29 minutes. Adamu Hassan would get his 14 goal of the season when he increased the tally off a goalmouth scramble before Azeez completed his brace on 65th minute.
Celebrations continued along the France Road axis of the ancient city as Pillars fans know their team would be given the guard of honour at Aba on the last match day with a fixture that is more important for Enyimba to guaranty a second place finish and Champions’ League ticket.
In another high scoring win at Umuahia, Abia Warriors continued to hold on to their fairy tale continental ticket chase with a 3-0 win of Sharks.
Okoro Marshall, Chisom Chikatara and Chima Uluocha were responsible for the goals.
Heartland continued to be the bogey team of Akwa United thanks to Bobby Clement who leapt highest to nod home on 61 minutes in the only away win of the day.
Playing in front of their home fans in Warri, Warri Wolves failed to make the numerical strength of their supporters count as Gombe United picked a very vital 1-1 draw that may come to play in their favour as they battle to escape the drop.
Sunshine Stars thrashed relegated Kaduna United 4-0 with Tunji Adeniji netting a brace while in Enugu, Rangers International was held to a nil all by continental ticket chasing Nasarawa United.