NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 19 – Nakumatt FC earned the advantage over Ushuru FC hitting the National Super League side 1-0 at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on Friday in the first leg of the Kenyan Premier League promotion and relegation play-off.
Tom Adwar hit the all important goal in the 21st minute as the KPL side avoided conceding an away goal, putting them a step into remaining the top tier ahead of the second leg next Sunday.
Hungry to remain in the top tier league, Nakumatt showed hunger from the opening minute of the game. In the seventh minute, Timonah Wanyonyi came to the end of a brilliant team move he had initiated himself, breaking into the box but his eventual shot was saved by Nakumatt keeper Kennedy Obwanda.
They came close again after 18 minutes off a well executed counter attack, Cornelius Juma sent Wanyonyi through on the left, the former Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards man cutting back for Joe Waithira whose one time shot was saved by Obwanda.
However, Nakumatt were one up just three minutes later.
Waithira was fouled from 25 yards out by David Otieno and midfielder Tom Adwar took responsibility taking a superb low shot straight into the net with Ushuru keeper Obwanda thinking he would be going for a cross instead of a direct effort.
Three minutes after conceding, Ushuru had a chance to draw back level but keeper Philip Odhiambo punched out Evans Maliachi’s inswinging corner. The rebound fell on the left back again, but his shot from the right came against the crossbar.
Nakumatt continued dictating the tempo of the game and pinning the taxmen in their own half. In the 28th minute, Luis Masika lost the ball in midfield to Waithira with the striker trying to lob the keeper off his line but the effort went wide.
On the other end, Ushuru had a chance with a freekick from a good scoring range but veteran Oscar Mbugua sent the effort straight to the wall. Antony Ndolo picked the rebound at the edge of the six yard box, but he couldn’t get on target.
Four minutes to the break, Ushuru came close but were denied by the upright but Bill Oporia’s shot came off the post and the rebound huffed away by the defense.
In the second half, Ken Kenyatta’s men came back an improved side and they were more adventurous offensively. Nelson Marasowe came on for Fredrick Kentile as the tactician sought to have a more dynamic and mobile backline.
They had a chance in the 66th minute when Benson Amianda poked the ball towards Oscar Mbugua, but the former City Stars man lifted the ball over the bar with only the keeper to beat.
They continued to put Nakumatt on the back foot, creating chance after chance but they couldn’t get the composure to hit the back of the net.
Ten minutes to time, they came very close when a split pass from midfield found an overlapping Maliachi on the left with the wingback striking a superb first time shot on his stronger left foot but it came off the bar.
The taxmen piled the pressure, dumping ball after ball into the Nakumatt box but they couldn’t find the composure to score.
Burly striker Maxwel Ravel came on to force in the goals, but he was kept at bay. Skipper Eugene Ambulwa had to make a superb tackle inside the box in added time to block the forward’s shot after he had broken into the box.