Heartland FC were unable to consolidate on their back-to-back Oriental Derby victories when Katsina United came calling at the Okigwe Township Stadium in a Match Day 16 game decided on Sunday.
The Naze Millionaires met a very sharp Katsina United set-up who gave them a pretty tough time with their sleek movements in the midfield area during the game. The midfield trio of ageless Usman Bara’u, tenacious Dominic Abah and effervescent Lukman Mohammed gave a dutiful account of themselves to sometimes confound their hosts.
Katsina United head coach Henry Makinwa was a satisfied man after the game and he was appreciative of his wards’ efforts.
“We are happy with the point we picked here, you can see it was a well deserved one,” began Makinwa to www.npfl.ng
“The boys did a great job in what was a well contested match. It could have swung either way in the end though because both teams had chances but I think we deserved the point.”
After containing their hosts for the most part of the game, Katsina United indeed rode their luck in the final fifteen minutes of the game with Heartland’s pearl Samuel Nnoshiri twice denied by the cross-bar after the youngster came off the substitute bench.
In between both efforts by Nnoshiri, Katsina’s Nigerien goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly also pulled off a magnificent save to deny another Heartland substitute Joseph Onoja with five minutes left on the clock.
Katsina United had their own chances early in the game but their former goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, now playing for Heartland denied Joseph Atule while Lukman’s effort flew agonisingly off target.
There was nothing to separate both sides at the end of the day as Katsina United continue with their tag of being the league’s draw specialists.
Heartland’s captain on the day Ezenwa however expressed his disappointment at the draw at home to Henry Makinwa’s men.
“It’s a painful one,” began Ezenwa to www.npfl.ng
“Why I call it a painful one is because it is the team I left before joining Heartland. Though we did our best and we will take it as one of those things in football.
“At least we went out last Wednesday to beat Enyimba in Aba, coming home to draw is not the result we wanted but we just have to accept it in the spirit of sportsmanship,” said Ezenwa
Ezenwa has kept clean sheets in his last three matches and will be hoping that his personal run continues when Heartland visit Akwa United in Uyo next weekend.