NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 23- Thika United picked a vital point that would go a long way in aiding their bid for survival after holding Posta Rangers to a 1-1 draw at the Ruaraka Complex on Saturday afternoon.
Two goals in two minutes characterized what was hugely a balanced affair with Thika skipper Suleiman Ngotho equalizing for his side just a minute after Georson Likonoh had flicked home a Luke Ochieng long throw.
With goals having been hard to come by of late in their eight-match winless streak, head coach Sammy Omollo had re-jigged his tactics, curiously playing two wide players in central striking roles. John Nairuka and Georson Likonoh were played through the middle while Joseph Nyaga and Edwin Mwaura played wide.
More interesting was that Posta named seven outfield players on the bench without a substitute keeper. Martin Musalia started in between the posts with Patrick Matasi out on suspension while Farouk Shikalo wasn’t part of the 18.
It was a decent start to the match with both sides having scoring chances, John Nairuka having two shots from the edge of the box fly wide. On the opposite end, Eugene Mukangula’s header from a Shami Kibwana cross went in but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Posta broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when Likonoh had the final brush from an Ochieng long throw, the Thika defense and keeper Allan Owiny caught flat out when Jerry Santo had the initial brush to take the ball off the defense’s path.
However, Thika responded immediately a minute later when defender Suleiman Ngotho slammed home from close range after the Posta defense failed to deal with a freekick.
The equalizer gave Nicholas Muyoti’s men confidence and they took on Posta with a lot more ease but they couldn’t create meaningful danger.
Posta had good scoring chances deep towards the end of the first half. In the 42nd minute, Mwaura’s volley from a Nyaga cross went wide while two minutes later, Jockins Atudo’s free header from a Nairuka corner went wide.
At the stroke of halftime, Nairuka had a brilliant chance when he picked up a loose ball at the edge of the box but his shot with a gaping goalmouth went over.
At the start of the second half, Omollo reshuffled his tactics, going in with two centre forward by pulling out Likonoh and Mwaura for Dennis Mukaisi and Jared Obwoge. The change saw Nairuka drift back wide.
The game turned out to be a balanced affair between the two sides with none having clear cut chances. Atudo had another free header from a Nyaga cross go over.
On the other side, Eugene Mukangula had two chances, first with a header from close range which went over after the ball took an awkward bounce while the second was with a freekick which curled beyond the wall but keeper Musalia parried it for a corner.