After a good showing in the first half which gave their teeming supporters justifiable hope of carrying the day, Stationery Stores resumed the second half on a sleepy note and conceded two quick goals before settling down to chase what was left of the game.
This was really a painful loss because Stores had the game under control with additional psychological edge from their supporters who were conspicuous in every corner of the Agege stadium. The two First Bank goals came through the same route as our left sided defenders always left a First Bank striker unmarked inside the penalty area, practically gifting them an open net to score.
Fatai Amoo was to respond with some very harsh words which brought the defenders (and midfielders) back to their senses and saw Stores taking the initiative for the rest of the game.
Midfield maestro Emmanuel Obinna forced the First Bank goalkeeper to make a spectacular save from his long range shot and minutes later ripped open the opponents’ defense with his now trademark visionary pass which Festus Ajah once again finished off brilliantly. The goal came too late though, as the referee failed to give adequate extra time to cover the serial time wasting of the First Bank boys throughout the second half.
The other brilliant player for Stores today was new found defensive midfielder Daddy Samuel who used his imposing physique very well to shield his defenders.
On the flip side (apart from the loss) was the serious arm injury to midfielder Fidelis Azuka who looked likely to join Eleazar Okorie on the treatment table for a similar injury.
My simple observation was that our players found it a little difficult to adjust to a much larger pitch than the Onikan that they’re used to. The midfielders did not track back quickly enough, thus leaving the full backs badly exposed. It’s a learning period though, and we must take consolation in the consistency of Emmanuel Obinna and try hard to win our subsequent games.
GOALKEEPER: Anthony Okoro 6
. Largely on holidays until badly exposed by his defense.
RIGHT BACK: Kehinde Adefemi 6
. Worked well on the right.
LEFT BACK: Hassan Dimeji 6
. Very confident as usual.
CENTRE BACK: Nurudeen Olatunde 6
. Had a generally good game.
CENTRE BACK: Tinat Gideon 6
. Had a good game.
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER: Daddy Samuel 7
. A real midfield battler.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER: Buchi Ogu 6
. Worked hard on the flanks.
MIDFIELDER: Fidelis Azuka 6
. Good battling game until the injury.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER: Fuad Ekeloju 5
. Really struggled against his multiple markers.
STRIKER: Onyemuche Ajah 6
. Again, connected Obinna’s pass with efficiency for the goal.
STRIKER: Akeem Arewa 5
. Fine effort but not so effective today.
PLAYMAKER: Emmanuel Obinna (replaced Azuka) 7 (MVP)
. The maestro: This boy will go places.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER: Chisom Nwani (replaced Arewa) 6
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER: Seun Afefu (replaced Ogu) 6
COACH: Fatai Amoo
PHOTOS (l-r) Youngest ball boy ever!, Midfield Maestro Obinna, and the injured Azuka
Up Super !