Bernard Ovoke’s second half strike condemned Warri Wolves to their first home defeat of the season as Rivers United claimed the spoils in a tightly-fought Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) contest yesterday.
Ovoke’s goal against Wolves at the Warri City Stadium, his third in two games, was the end product of good work by Chinonso Okonkwo and Godbless Asamoah for the visiting side following a devastating counter attack.
The home side had their moments, particularly in the first half but poor marksmanship from Uremu Egbeta and particularly King Osanga, let them down.
United however had the best chance of the half and it arrived on 24minutes when Obomate Frederick’s goal bound effort was cleared off the line by the Wolves captain, Goodluck Onamado.
Auxiliary striker, Chigozie Ihunda hurt his left knee in the build-up following a clash with the Wolves goalkeeper, Dele Ajiboye and had to be stretchered off.
The Wolves attackers continued to pour forward in numbers after the restart but found the two United centre halves, Festus Austin and Olalekan Gabriel in uncompromising mood.
The visitors continued to look menacing on the break and finally got their reward through Ovoke who tapped home Asamoah’s cross from the right from close range, ten minutes after the break.
Ovoke almost scored a second for United in the 72nd minute but drew his shot marginally wide off Ajoboye’s left hand post, after taking the entire Wolves back line to the cleaners.
The electrifying winger was given a standing ovation by the home fans when he was eventually substituted in the 80th minute-a just reward for a barn storming display.
United held on for the win-their second on the road this season-and match winner, Ovoke was understandably pleased with the accomplishment.
“I was pleased to have received a standing ovation from the Warri Wolves fans.
“Right now, I am doing well, but I am still not yet back to my best. I was playing a lot better when I was at (former club) Bayelsa United but slowly, I am getting back there,” Ovoke told Rivers United moments after the game.
Rivers United’s technical manager, Stanley Eguma also took the time to assess the performance of his charges.
“Beating Wolves was not easy but this is not the time to celebrate.
“We have other games to play. We will continue working hard until we achieve our set objectives,” Eguma said.
The Wolves assistant coach, Tosan Blankson cut a forlorn figure after the contest but advised fans of the club to remain steadfast ahead of upcoming matches.
“Football is just a game where you win, draw or lose.
“Today, we have lost but we can also win tomorrow.
“We can go to Ibadan and win (our next game against 3SC) so we are calling on the fans not to lose patience with us,” he said.
Sunday’s win for United-the only away win in the NPFL on match day 15- sees them climb one place to fifth on the log with 25 points from 15 games.
Wolves dropped three places as a result of the reverse and are now in 12thplace with 19 points from 14 matches.