Sunshine Stars fell short of expectations in another NPFL matchday following a narrow loss to FC Ifeanyiubah at The Fortress on Sunday.
Ekene Awazie’s low drive inside the opening eight minutes tipped the balance of the keenly contested round 22 tie in favour of the Anambra Wariors.
The Owena Whales took the game to the hosts minutes after going down but failed to punish their opponents from chances created; first on an indirect free kick awarded them inside the box after the goalkeeper collected a desperate back pass that denied Fuad Ekelojuoti a chance at goal.
The visitors went close to drawing level again when Sharp Uzoigwe spilled Kehinde Adedimpe’s volley, but the goalkeeper reacted fast to stop Fuad Ekelojuoti from pouncing home from the rebound 10 minutes from the break.
In the 41′ Adedimpe evaded his marker with a nutmeg in the area; shot on target, but Fredrick Obomate dragged wide from his rebound. Then three minutes later Emmanuel James drew a save from the goalkeeper with a free kick.
The task could have been made more daunting at the interval, but David Ariyo spared the coach Gbenga Ogunbote tutored side’s blushes with a top of the drawer save from a goal mouth lose ball at the stroke of half time.
Ariyo was on hand in the 69′ to deny the hosts with another brave stop from goal mouth, while at the other end a combination of good goalkeeping and desperate defending thwarted a certain leveler from Sadeeq Yusuf’s low drive.
Four minutes from time, Ariyo stood firm again to keep his side in the contest with a big save from inside the area, which set the stage for a last minute attempt at equaliser in the shape of Sunday Emmanuel’s curling effort that drifted just wide.
“I thought we were going to have a break here but unfortunately we didn’t. Yes, I think we can survive relegation, we just have to take our chances; if we had taken those chances in the first half, maybe we would have been three, four goals up. We need to be calm in front of goal”,Ogunbote said speaking to Journalist.
“The government is trying now to live up to their parental responsibilities to ensure that things are done to get the team motivated and I think that will boost the team; yes the governemt is more committed than before.
“When a team does not win the confidence level drops and is nowmore of psychological problem than technical, but we will keep working on correcting this.”
The Akure landlords next host MFM FC in a Southwest derby on match day 23.