NAIROBI, July 12 – Champions Gor Mahia’s unbeaten run barely survived when they salvaged a point to force a 1-1 draw against Mathare United in a pulsating Kenyan Premier League clash played at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
In the early kick-off, Jesse Were grabbed a hat-trick to help Tusker FC thrash struggling Chemelil Sugar 5-1 to put the Sugar Millers head coach, Mike Mururi’s job on the line.
Elsewhere, Oscar Wamalwa and Geoffrey Kokoyo were on target as Ulinzi Stars beat basement side Nairobi City Stars 2-0, Thika United fell 1-2 to Western Stima as Bandari topped struggling Sony Sugar 1-0.
All focus was at Nyayo Stadium’s second match of a double header where K’Ogalo protected their unbeaten run, but only just, before heading to Tanzania for the regional Cecafa Kagame Cup that kicks-off next weekend.
“We dominated possession and created some chances and thankfully we managed to put one behind the back of the net. Karim picked up an injury and made it difficult for the strikers to get the ball in the box but Wafula did well,” Gor head coach, Frank Nuttall underscored after the match.
His opposite number, Stanly Okumbi was disappointed with the draw that saw the 2010 champions extend their winless run to seven.
“I’m upset because this is the eighth matches that we have failed to hold on the lead. Our plan was to win and I’m not happy with the draw because we conceded an easy goal, the keeper could have punched away that ball,” Okumbi who saw his side remain rooted 10th on 22 points said.
Meddie Kagere cancelled out midfielder, Eric Johana’s 24th minute opener when he nodded home an Enoch Agwanda long throw in the 70th minute to see Gor maintain their 12 point lead at the summit on 46.
Despite starting on attack from the onset with Godfrey Walusimbi and Abuoba Sibomana were denied by Mathare keeper Odhiambo, Gor were forced to chase the game after defensive blunder cost them for the first time since July last year.
K’Ogalo old boy, Edwin Lavatsa started the move when he beat two midfielders before finding Johana with a fine defence splitting pass that saw the Harambee Stars midfielder leave keeper Boniface Oluoch for dead to slam the ball into an empty net for the opener.
Mathare pushed the champions to the edge but Kagere came inches close to pulling them level when he controlled Sibomana’s pin point pass to shoot from a tight angle to leave them trailing at the break.
Gor returned with a bang, taking only seven minutes to threaten an equaliser when Kagere thought he had restored parity from his header, only for referee, Amos Ichingwa to rule it offside.
Nuttall was forced to make two changes due to injuries, withdrawing midfield king pin, Collins Okoth for Agwanda and right-back Karim Nzigiyimana for winger Innocent Wafula.
Kagere forced Odhiambo to spill the ball in the box with his long range shot but defender George Owino was at the right place to clear the danger for a fruitless corner in the 64th.
Six minutes later, Kagere finally beat Odhiambo when he headed home from Agwanda’s long throw in to light up the Green Army who thought their 17 match unbeaten run was coming to an end.
The early kick-off saw Mururi’s job put on the line with club chairman, Robert Nyakundi revealing to Capital Sport they will decide his fate on Monday after the sugar millers fell to a hiding.
Mururi who was voted last year’s Coach of the Year has so far gone eight successive matches without a win.
The Brewers bounced back from Wednesday’s 1-1 away draw to Ulinzi Stars in an encounter that saw Were jump above Gor’s Michael Olunga to the top scorers chat on 13.
Were opened the account after two minutes when he tapped home a Noah Wafula cross from the left but the lead only lasted until the half hour mark when Daniel Murage sneaked a header past Tusker keeper Martin Musalia to level the match.
With both sides destined to head to the break tied on one all, defender Lloyd Wahome extended the lead from a powerful header to net his third of the season.
Were, scored his second two minutes later after winger Wafula beat his former AFC Leopards teammate Titus Wamalwa to find the Tusker FC’s talisman who beat Chemelil keeper, Fredrick Onyango for the third.
Things got from bad to worse for Mururi’s side when another defender, Joakins Atudo added the fourth in the 60th from a set piece before Were completed the rout ten minutes to the final whistle for a match ball performance.
The result that was Francis Kimanzi’s biggest win of the season saw them climb to fifth on 29 points while Chemelil dropped one place off the relegation zone on 15.