Spirited Heartland produce fightback to edge Kada City
By Promise Etim
A spirited second half display was the tonic Heartland FC needed to edge new boys Kada City in a Matchday 6 fixture in the NPFL at the Okigwe Township Stadium on Sunday.
The home side had taken the lead earlier in the first half through Samuel Nonshiri on 19 minutes, before Sadiq Suleiman drew the Kaduna-based team level eight minutes later.
Heartland were stunned when Anayo Iwuala put the visitors ahead before the break. An own goal early in the second half and Chinonso Okonkwo’s moment of brilliance turned the fixture on its head and handed Heartland the initiative once again.
Heartland could have taken the lead within seven minutes of action, but not for Uche Michael’s poor half volley ten yards out. City goalkeeper Sochima Ndukauba was forced into an acrobatic save off Nnoshiri’s clever free kick from 20 yards on 12 minutes.
Five minutes later, Uche headed Nnoshiri’s corner into the path of Chinonso Okonkwo, whose overhead kick was blocked by the goalkeeper, but straight to an onrushing Nonshiri, who slotted in from a tight angle.
Heartland would only watch the visitors draw level on 28 minutes, when Sadiq Suleiman skipped past his marker, before sending goalkeeper Oluwasegun Fatunwase the wrong way. Anayo Iwuala got the second for the away side in a similar fashion five minutes later, this time dribbling past three.
Seven minutes after the break, Heartland drew level, when Papa Idris turned Maduabuchi Okereke’s low cross into his own net. With parity restored, the home team struck on 55 minutes, Okonkwo forced his way into the penalty area, before squaring past Sochima.
There would be no further goals as both sides preferred to keep each other in check. Late on, the visitors showed some intent going forward, but an organized Heartland defence stood their ground to protect the result.
The result moves Heartland back to top of Group B, level on points with El-Kanemi Warriors (12 points). They face oriental neighbours Abia Warriors on Wednesday in Umuahia.
Heartland: Fatunwase; Oguchi, Osia, Ubido, Michael, Desmond, Nnoshiri, Egbujor, Okonkwo, Yarhere, Ajoku
Kada City: Sochima; Solomon, Idris, Obi, Nduka, Collins, Felix, Coker, Iwuala, Onovo, Sadiq
Heartland 3-2 Kada City
On Target 6-4