For the second outing in a row, Elijah Mwanzia bailed us out as he scored a late winner to ensure we beat Western Stima 2-1 in a fiercely contested Round 23 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match played at the Rauraka Grounds on Saturday 9 September.
Chrsipin Oduor had opened the scoring in the 13th minute to net his ninth goal of the season before Robert Achema stepped off the Stima bench to restore parity. However Elijah Mwanzia showed his predatory instincts to produce a carbon copy of his stoppage time equalizer against Bandari last time out.
Both sides came into this match desperate to grab maximum points and steer clear of the relegation zone and the early exchanges though cautious hinted at an explosive encounter thereafter. The first real chance of the game fell to Oduor who fired a half volley towards goal after connecting to Derrick Nzosi’s delivery from the right but Samuel Odhiambo showed great positioning to gather comfortably.
Three minutes later, Roy Okal dribbled from the center circle unchallenged and picked out Edward Seda with a short pass at the edge of the box . Seda cleverly flicked the ball into the area to pick out the run of Oduor who showed composure to slot past the advancing Odhiambo.
The goal sparked some life into the match and the visitors almost levelled on the other end. A big clearance from the Stima defence took an awkward bounce off the bumpy surface and the ball fell behind Andrew Juma. Brian Marita grasped the opportunity and sprinted past the recovering Juma into the box where his shot came off George Owino’s thigh. The rebound fortunately fell behind Oromchan Villa and Ezekiel Otuoma who lay in wait.
Stima continued to press for an equalizer and Otuoma was unlucky to his freekick bravely punched back into play by Levis Opiyo moments before the half hour mark. A scrappy period of play ensued thereafter with Vitalis Akumu landing in the referee’s book for a malicious two footed challenge on Seda.
John Mwangi squandered a glorious opportunity to cushion our lead shortly after the restart when Chris Ochieng’ and Seda exchanged passes brilliantly to play him through on goal. However Odhiambo came off his line to deny the youngster.
Henry Omino played his first card introducing Bernard Ondiek for Daniel Masinde and Francis Kimanzi replied by replacing Ronald Reagan with Derrick Onyango. The tide swung Stima’s way but still the equalizer proved elusive prompting Omino to send Khamadi Mbumba and Robert Achema into the fray.
That gamble worked almost instantly as the new inclusions played a part in the equalizer. Brian Marita was played through on goal by Ondiek. He showed quick feet to beat an onrushing Opiyo to the ball who had a slight touch on it. The diminutive winger did well to head the ball back into play where Khamadi rose above Owino to flick it towards the blind side where Achema had the simplest task of guiding the ball into an empty net.
The reply almost arrived immediately on the other end when Mwangi found himself one on one with Odhiambo but his effort went slightly wide Odhiambo having done enough to narrow Mwangi’s angle. That was his last contribution as he was replaced by Brian Nyakan who was making his debut.
With the tie heading into the final ten minutes, Kimanzi played his last card. Elijah Mwanzia coming in for the injured Seda. It only took him nine minutes to produce the moment the Mathare United fans desperately wanted. Derrick Nzosi embarked on his trademark overlap down the right flank, sent a sumptuous delivery into the area which Mwanzia connected to with a towering header to beat Odhiambo.
The win sees us climb to 15th place on the log with 25 points, four above the relegation zone. League action resumes on Wednesday with an away match against Kariobangi Sharks.
Starting XI: 30. Levis Opiyo (GK) 12.Andrew Juma 21. Derrick Nzosi 6. George Owino (C) 23. Lennox Ogutu 22. Roy Okal 4.Edward Seda (80’ 17. Elijah Mwanzia) 29. Chrispin Oduor 15. Ronald Reagan (63’ 14.Derrick Onyango) 9. Chris Ochieng’ 13. John Mwangi (75’ 19. Brian Nyakan)
Subs: 1. Mark Kioko (GK) 20.Martin Ongori 24. Victor Ashinga 27. Tyson Otieno