Monday, April 15, 2019 1:28 am
The match, played at the Umuahia Township Stadium saw both sides posting an uninspiring first 45 minutes, which ended goaless.
While Warriors appeared goal-shy and lame-footed in the attack, the visitors played with caution and made no serious attempts at goals.
The Damaturu-based club, which resumed the second half looking jittery and confused, made glaring defensive mistakes in their goal area.
It took the quick reflexes and prompt responses of goalkeeper Melai Terkaa to save the situation on two occasions at the 48th and 62nd minute.
They however, paid dearly for their obvious loss of concentration at the back in the 81st, after Ibrahim Olawoyin beat two Yobe defenders and poorly-positioned Terkaa in a brilliant dribble run to net in the lone goal.
The goal, which came after two months of repeated poor home-showing by the Henry Makinwa-tutored team, sparked wild jubilation in the scantily filled stadium.
An obviously elated Makinwa told newsmen in a post-match interview that he was happy that the goal drought had ended.
He said that the poor home record in the last two months put the players under serious pressure and tension.
He said that because of the pressure, the team always approached their home games with fear of possible failure.
“For more than two months, we did not record any win at home. It was either a draw or loss.
“I thank God that we have broken the jinx today and I hope that this victory will continue,” Makinwa said.
Captain of the Desert Stars, James Odeh blamed the goal against his side on a “momentary loss of concentration” after a “good game” to contain their host in the first half.
Odeh described the goal as “very painful”, saying that they came to Umuahia with a determination to either pick the vital three points or pull a draw.
Mercy Ahiarah, an ardent Abia Warriors’ fan, described the victory as God’s answer to her prayer.
“I prayed seriously for this victory, because losing the match would have pushed the club further into the relegation zone.
“If it gets relegated it means some people will lose their job in the club, because the management will downsize its workforce since government’s funding will reduce drastically,” she said.
The Abia Warriors recorded their last home victory on Feb. 6 with a 1-0 win against Heartland FC of Owerri.