An Alice Ogegbe brace turned out to be enough for Rivers Angels to reclaim top spot in Group A of the Nigeria Women Premier League after seeing off South South neighbours Bayelsa Queens 2-1 in an engaging matchday 7 fixture decided on a rain soaked evening at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.
Following series of end to end action, it was Ogegbe who first found the back of the net on 40 minutes to put the mind of the home fans at ease.
An error by Rivers Angels goalkeeper, Tochukwu Oluehi saw Yetunde Adeboyejo equalize for the Yenegoa-based visitors.
However, Alice eventually had the final say when she nodded home a powerful Ugo Njoku cross.
Despite conceding for the first time on home turf, the Jewel of Rivers extended their unbeaten run to six matches and are the only team still to lose a game as the league goes on a two-week mid-season break.
After Bayelsa Queens got the match underway, it was Rivers Angels that began asking the questions inside the first 10 minutes such that Udegbe Esther almost headed in an own goal.
When the pendulum swung a little to the other end, Bayelsa Queens’ pacy Aminat Yakubu was caught offside, before Tessy Biawho’s free kick kissed Tochukwu Oluehi’s gloves.
By the 16th minute, the visitors were back in their own penalty area, defending. Patience Kalu sent in a cross from the left flank which met Alice. But at the end of the chain, Chioma Wogu’s final ball could only brush past the post.
Aminat Yakubu then had another chance for Bayelsa Queens but Gladys Akpa was on hand to clear.
Finally the deadlock was broken in the 40th minute when Alice shot from close range.
On resumption of the second half, Bayelsa Queens – anchored by Yakubu’s speed down the left – began to press for an equalizer.
With some parts of the pitch waterlogged, ball movement was a bit distorted, nonetheless, Yetunde Adeboyejo pounced on a mistake by Tochukwu Oluehi to level the scores. Oluehi was taking a quick goal kick but it bounced off a Rivers Angels defender to the waiting boot of Adeboyejo who said “thank you”.
Few minutes after Cynthia Aku came on for Rafiat Sule, her header – off an Ugo Njoku cross – forced Bayelsa Queens’ goalkeeper, Rabi Ihiabe to a brilliant save.
Then Alice completed her brace with a header that perfected a delightful assist from Ugo Njoku.
In the 79th minute, Tochukwu Oluehi almost made the same mistake that gave her away earlier but Ugo Njoku came to the rescue. Three minutes later, the crossbar denied substitute Macleans Okogba from equalizing for Bayelsa Queens.
And Rivers Angels held on for all three points.
Both teams will meet again on matchday 8 in Yenegoa when the league resumes in two weeks time.
In the meantime, Rivers Angels lead group A with 12 points.