By Ubong Bassey
Ibom Angels will have to wait at least a matchday longer to get their first win in the 2016/2017 Nigerian Women Premier League (NWPL) campaign as they had to settle for a 1 -1 draw against reigning champions, Rivers Angels at the Uyo Township stadium in a week 2 fixture on Wednesday 5th April, 2017.
It took an astonishing 105 minutes to end the fiercely fought match between the two South-South based women football teams as a 93rd penalty goal scored by Ibom Angels’ Charity Reuben cancelled out an earlier 75th minute header by Rivers Angels’ Alice Ogebe.
The climax of the feisty encounter was when Rivers Angels’ Coach, Edwin Okon was issued the marching order by centre referee Conscience, in the 92nd minute for encroaching into the field of play.
From the first blast of the whistle, both teams had a go at themselves with end to end actions throughout the first half. Ibom Angels’ Blessing Dabrinze missed a connecting cross which was sent in from the left flank by her team mate, Blessing Okpe in the 8th minute. In quick succession, Rivers Angels’ Chioma Wogu had an 18-yard screamer parried away for a corner kick by an alert Ibom Angels’ goalie, Andy Lucky.
Rivers Angels’ Rafiat Sule was a handful for the hosts whenever she was in possession of the ball. Meanwhile Coach Ogbonda Whyte of Ibom Angels was on his feet throughout the first half shouting and dishing out instructions from the home team touch line box to his players who were trying to contain a counter attacking Rivers Angels team.
In the 23rd minute, Ibom Angels’ Unyime Johnson beat off challenge from Rivers Angels defender, Mabel Effiom to give a sublime through pass to team mate, Udeme Uko whose shot was smothered down by Rivers Angels’ goalie, Tochukwu Oluehi. The trio of Ibom Angels’ Blessing Dabrinze, Peter Uduakobong and Unyime Johnson were a thorn in the flesh of the Rivers Angels’ defense line of Ugo Njoku, Mabel Effiom and Onyinyechi Ohaduagha.
A perfectly executed free kick by Ibom Angels’ Blessing Okpe in the 42nd minute was punched away by Rivers Angels’ goalie, Tochukwu Oluehi who was the busier of the two goal keepers. A minute later, both teams went for a water sip as the medics were attending to Oluehi.
The second half immediately gathered momentum as both team started taking swipes at each other with their offensive plays. On the 57th minute, Rivers Angels’ Ugo Njoku’s cross from the right flank was aiming straight at goal but the cat like reflexes of Ibom Angels’ Lucky Andy were enough to push it away at the nick of time.
A world class save by Rivers Angels’ goalie, Tochukwu Oluehi in the 62nd minute kept an acrobatic bicycle kick shot from Ibom Angels’ Emem Essien away from danger to the delight of the cheering home fans.
The opening goal of the evening was scored by Rivers Angels’ Alice Ogebe in the 75th minute when a connecting cross from her team mate was headed into the back of the net of Ibom Angels’. Three minutes later, Ibom Angels’ Charity Reuben had her 25 yards’ thunderbolt shot punched back in her direction by Rivers Angels’ Tochukwu Oluehi. A rebound followed but it was punched out by Oluehi yet again for a corner kick.
In the 68th minute, Rivers Angels’ goalie Tochukwu Oluehi was down again due to a tussle of players within her box and was attended to by the medics for a very lengthy period of time. The game was paused by the center referee till when she (Tochukwu) was certified fit to continue the game by the medics.
In the 91st minute, a low boot tackle from a Rivers Angels defender on Ibom Angels’ Celine Ottah inside of the box warranted the center referee, Conscience pointing to the spot for a penalty kick for the hosts. The Coach of Rivers Angels’ Edwin Okon was furious at the penalty call and stormed into the pitch to express his displeasure to the center referee. He was issued a red card and was ordered to leave the football arena.
Ibom Angels’ Charity Reuben calmly played the penalty kick sending Rivers Angels’ goalie, Tochukwu Oluehi the wrong way to level the score line. The match ended at the 105th minute mark to the disgust of the impatient football fans who felt the game was long overdue to have ended.
There were no post match interviews from both coaches at full time due to the tensed atmosphere in the stadium.
IBOM ANGELS: Lucky Andy, Rachael Kolawole (Udeme Okon 85’), Glory Ogbonna, Ceine Ottah, Osamudiame Igbinovia, Happiness Titus, Unyime Johnson (Charity Reuben 56’), Udeme Uko, Blessing Okpe, Joan Etenkpa, Blessing Dabrinze (Emem Essein 55’) and Uduakobong Peter
Substitute(s) not used: Fubiana Briggs, Favour Uzor, Comfort Ibia,
RIVERS ANGELS: Tochukwu Oluehi, Ugo Njoku, Mabel Effiom, Onyinyechi Ohadugha, Uju Joseph, Alice Ogebe, Chioma Wogu (Ayinde Halimatu 59’), Rafiat Sule (Mercy Amanze 58’), Iroka Glory, Chinaza Uchendu (Ifeoma Ikenokwalu 59’).
Substitute(s) not used: Chiamaka Nnadozie, Amaracho Ojinma, Patience Kalu, Mary Ologbosere.
Ibom Angels: Rachael Kolawole (54’)
Rivers Angels: Rafiat Sule (44’) and Mercy Amanze (85’)
Rivers Angels: Coach Edwin Okon (92’)
Ibom Angels: Charity Reuben (93’ Penalty)
Rivers Angels: Alice Ogebe (75’)