THIKA, Kenya, Apr 17- Dennis Mukaisi’s goal on the quarter hour mark was enough as Posta Rangers maintained their unbeaten start to the 2017 season, skipping back to second on the Kenyan Premier League table just a point shy of leaders Gor Mahia.
Rangers defended perfectly especially in the second half, guarding their sole goal lead even when Mathare head coach Francis Kimanzi went all attacking pulling out both his fullbacks.
Kimanzi however was frustrated with the loss, heaping blame on referee Agnetta Itubo and a poor Thika Sub-County Stadium playing surface.
“Football is all about tempo and momentum and all the time the referee was killing it off. Their (Posta) goalkeeper went down for three four times and treated for up to four minutes but she only added four minutes. To be honest, the referee was very poor today,” Kimanzi said after the match.
His opposite number Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo, winner of the KPL title in 2011 with Tusker FC was impressed with his side’s performance especially with their second half defending.
“We did very well especially in the second half when Mathare were pushing. In training we always work more on off the ball defending and it is not just about the back four but defending as a team. But generally, Atudo (Jockins) and Luke (Ochieng) did a superb job today,” Omollo told Capital Sport after the match.
It was a frantic start to the match and Mukaisi scored a superb goal in the 15th minute, placing the ball far beyond Levis Opiyo after Edwin Mwaura had put in a little touch to place him through from a Geoffrey Kataka pass.
Before then, both sides had good chances to score. Within the first two minutes, Joseph Mbugi attempted to catch Mathare keeper Opiyo off his guard with a lofted ball from midfield but the effort bounced wide.
In the fourth minute, Daniel Mwaura put cliff Nyakeya through on goal, but Posta keeper Patrick Matasi was quick off his lines to block the effort.
After the goal, Posta took control of the match though Mathare never showed panic. They kept on pushing and David Mwangi should have done better in the 36th minute with a header off a Mwaura free kick but the ball caught his shoulders and went over.
Two minutes on the turn, Atudo saw his header from a Joseph Mbugi corner cleared off the line after keeper Opiyo had miscalculated his flight going to fist it away.
Mukaisi had a chance for a brace in the final minute of the half from a Luke Ochieng long throw, but his header at the far post bounced wide off target.
In the second half Posta were mainly defensive, seeking to guard their solitary goal advantage.
Kimanzi went all out attack pulling out full backs Martin Ongori and Mwangi for Alphonce Ndonye and Ronald Okoth. The change meant Mwaura and Nyakeya plied on the left and right sides as wingbacks.
Later on, he pulled out Abubakar Keya in midfield for striker David ‘Messi’ Owino but Posta managed to defend perfectly especially the aerial balls. Two minutes to the end, Kataka had a goal ruled offside after rushing on to meet a spilled ball by the keeper from an Atudo freekick.
Mathare almost grabbed the equalizer at the death but Substitute Owino’s cross which had ricocheted off the Posta defense came off the post and Titus Achesa was at hand to clear away the ball hanging around dangerously.