Returning to the venue where they left scarred by the old enemy on Sunday, Leopards fans did not wait long to celebrate since it took danger man Mike Baraza barely 90 seconds to get the Isikuti drum beat tolling when he net the opener.
Straight from kick off, AFC strung together some passing in midfield and before Stima could get a look in, Jimmy Bagaye, a mid season signing from City Stars released immediate the former Ulinzi striker Baraza through on goal.
Seconds later, he made it eight goals of his current campaign when he slid the ball past Stima custodian David Juma for one of the quickest goals of the campaign.
That proved to be the winning goal as dominant Leopards failed to add to their tally and they were barely hanging on at the death, with their hero stretchered off moments before the final whistle when he caught the full impact of the ball from a corner as they frantically defended their lead.
It was the second win for their Dutch coach, Jan Coops and although he was delighted by the victory as Ingwe fans celebrated at the final whistle, he felt his side that moved up to tenth in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) log still had a lot to do.
“It was great for the fans but my team did not play football. The win was very narrow and they were playing long balls and that is not how I want the club to play football,” Coops, who made three changes to the team that was stuffed by K’Ogalo said post match.
Out went faltering left-back, John Amboko, club captain, Nicholas Muyoti and Francis Chinjili up front as lanky defender, Martin Imbalambala, Oscar Kadege and Salim Kinje slotted in their places.
The changes had the desired effect as Leopards looked more cohesive in midfield that effectively linked with attack and could have been out of sight had Bagaye not gone down with ease in the box when he looked poised to convert a Baraza pass in the eighth minute.
Then it was the turn of Charles Okwemba who shot tamely at Juma when the ball played ping-pong around the Stima area giving him a chance from point blank range.
On the stroke of half-time, Bagaye missed a tap-in after Baraza drifted to the right and crossed across goal with the Stima rearguard of Victor Oduor and Jacton Saleh nowhere to be seen.
Leopards started the second half in the same dominant fashion and two minutes after the re-start, Kadenge missed the inside left post by a whisker after more suicidal defending from Stima saw him receive the ball in the box, turn, then pull the trigger unchecked.
Stima coach, Henry Omino brought in Dennis Onkangi, a recruit from Sony Sugar for veteran Mark Sirengo and he was soon involved in the half chances the side created.
However, Leopards were looking the likely side to score and Bernard Makori, arguably the man of the match in midfield, initiated and almost finished a sweeping move on 71 minutes.
He swiftly shifted the ball to Baraza on the left before the striker cut it back to his advancing team mate in the danger area but Makori fired fractionally wide.
Ingwe almost paid for their profligacy five minutes later when Western Stima failed to pounce on a loose ball in the area with keeper Bernard Tiema rooted to the spot and his defence all at sea, as Okangi came within inches of connecting with the ball.
A hectic finale in the Leopards box saw Tiema scramble away a corner as Baraza took the full force of the ball returned to the area but they held on to a deserved victory.
“I believe we can bounce back from this, there is no need to worry yet. The early goal gave Leopards the motivation to come out and attack and that is the mistake we did. We also had a problem in attack and we are yet to replace Chinjili but Onkangi is settling and soon will get the goals,” beaten Omino said.