The lads produced a remarkable comeback to register a 3-3 draw with Wazito at the Kenyatta Stadium on Saturday.
Klinsman Omulanga came off the bench to notch a late equalizer to dim Wazito’s hopes of picking maximum points from this fixture and inspire their relegation battle.
Derrick Onyango, who was facing his former employers for the first time since being released in June, opened the scoring in the 11th minute before Cliff Nyakeya levelled five minutes after the half hour.
Edwin Lavatsa restored his side’s lead moments later to ensure they went into the break leading. Onyango then gave Francis Kimanzi some food for thought ten minutes after the restart when he completed his brace to make it 3-1.
Nyakeya halved the deficit in the 72nd minute and when the tie looked destined for another loss for the hosts, Omulanga crowned his impressive cameo with a thunderbolt with only a minute left to play.
Francis Kimanzi had handed June signing James Situma his debut as Alphonce Ndonye profited with his first start of the season. However it was the visitors who started brightly with their twin strikers Derrick Onyango and Edwin Lavatsa looking dangerous in the early exchanges.
It was no surprise when Onyango drew first blood after he showed George Owino a clean pair of heels to step into the box where his shot was parried by David Okello back into play.
Piscas Muhindo picked the rebound rode two challenges inside the box but his effort was blocked by Samuel Olwande. With the entire defence committed to deny Muhindo, Onyango found himself unmarked to slot the loose ball home.
The boys struggled to find their way into the match but the tide swung their way as the clock ticked towards the half hour. John Mwangi, who had beaten the offside trap to go clean through on goal, was only denied by Edwin Wanjala’s outstretched foot.
There was no stopping the youngster in Mathare’s next foray upfront as he received a long ball from Situma on his chest, drove past Wazito skipper Oliver Kilonzo but was denied by Martin Musalia who had read the danger and raced off his line. The ball fell kindly for Nyakeya who rounded Musalia and guided the ball into an empty net.
Wazito lead again
Even before Kimanzi reorganized his charges, Wazito regained their lead. Lavatsa made space himself in the box to pounce on a rebound after Okello had palmed Onyango’s shot. He made no mistake with an assured finish from close range.
Kimanzi played his first card at the restart withdrawing Martin Ongori for Omulanga. The youngster thought he had scored five minutes later but he was denied by an alert Musalia who pulled a brilliant one hand save.
Onyango completes brace
On the other end, Onyango proved his worth with his second of the day. He arrived early in the six yard box to meet Eric Odhiambo’s cutback.
Omulanga sought to reply but his header at the back post was once again kept out by Musalia. Wanjala should have put the game beyond doubt but his long range drive destined for the top corner cannoned off the bar with Okello well beaten.
Omulanga, who was making a good claim for a place since his introduction, dispossessed Emmanuel Tienan at the byline, drove into the box but his cutback fell behind Chrispin Oduor as the lads continued piling pressure.
The indefatigable forward kept asking questions of the Wazito defence and his best chance almost counted. Tyson Otieno, brought in for John Mwangi, set him through one on one with Musalia but he lost his cool as Musalia denied him once again.
Playing with five midfielders, the Slum Boys took full control of the game pinning Wazito to their own half. Nyakeya should have scored in the 70th but he failed to keep his header down after Omulanga had picked him out with a good cross.
Double for Nyakeya
His second of the day arrived two minutes later rounding off a great team move. Oduor at his creative best lay the ball into his path at the edge of the box and the finish from Nyakeya was unerring coming off the inside of the left upright on its way in.
Omulanga late equalizer
The last 15 minutes were a nightmare for the Wazito defence as Kimanzi threw more men forward in search of the equalizer. Their efforts were finally rewarded in the 89th when Oduor chested the ball for Omulanga whose volley arrowed into the roof of the net to send the Mathare fans into a frenzy.
There was a nervy ending for both sides missed potential winners. Okello saved at his near post to deny Lavatsa and on the other end Otieno slalomed past four black shirts but his curler went narrowly wide from a tight angle.
Man of the match: David Okello
The draw leaves us at sixth place with an improved tally of 35 points.
Starting XI: 18. David Okello (GK) 25. Samuel Olwande 20. Martin Ongori (46’ 24. Klinsman Omulanga) 6. George Owino (C) 28. James Situma 5. Francis Omondi 8. Alphonce Ndonye (57’ 16. David Owino) 29. Chrispin Oduor 11. Cliff Nyakeya 13.John Mwangi (65’ 27. Tyson Otieno) 21. Clifford Alwanga
Unused subs: 30. Job Ochieng’ (GK) 19.Johnstone Omurwa 22. Roy Okal 15. Ronald Reagan