- Published on Monday, 13 March 2017 18:21
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By Mohammed Suleiman Yusuf
A third home draw for Gombe United and no points picked on the road left for Coach Manu Garba grieving over squandered chances at goal that would have sealed their fourth home win.
A late goal from substitute Nonso Mbakwe helped Shooting Stars to force Gombe United to a 1-1 draw at the Pantami Stadium in a Match day 13 game of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
It was Gombe United that took the fight to the visitors from the start in search of an early goal, with Samuel Agba leading their hunt for the lead, ably assisted by Idris Bakare and Austine Oladapo.
However Shooting Stars goalkeeper Abubakar Adamu who was playing in front of his hometown fans for the visitors was equal to all attempts from the home team.
He was however beaten on the 31st minute, when defender Samuel Olabisi gave away a penalty by carelessly controlling a harmless pass onto his arm with no pressure on him.
Agba stepped up and buried his spot kick emphatically to give Gombe the lead, and they held on to their advantage going into the half time break.
Agba, who has in the past won the colours of Bayelsa United, Kaduna United, Enugu Rangers and Nasarawa United, squandered three good chances to increase the lead for his side before he was substituted.
He was particularly guilty of trying to tap in an effort on goal, where a shot would have been the best option, as his weak effort was cleared off the line with Adamu beaten.
His misses proved costly in the second minutes of the two minutes added after regulation time of 90 minutes, when Mbakwe leveled for the visitors.
Waheed Afolabi hit a free kick from the edge of the box of Gombe United, which landed on the feet of an unmarked Mbakwe to side foot home a late equaliser past Emmanuel Fabiyi in goal for Gombe United.
Garba was livid with the players for the numerous chances missed and attributed it as part of the reasons they failed to take all three points.
"We have to blame ourselves for the result. We had chances to put the game to bed but we failed to take them, Shooting Stars punished us from what was there only real chance in the game. We are not happy", Garba said at the post match meeting.
His opposite, Fatai Amoo was full of praises for his wards for their never say die attitude, which culminated in the goal scored by Mbakwe.
"We gave away a needless penalty under no pressure but my boys never gave up, they fought to the end, and Mbakwe, one of the three offensive substitutes I introduced did just what I asked of him", a smiling Amoo concluded his reading of the encounter.
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