Former Nigeria junior international Joshua Enaholo was the hero for visiting Abia Warriors as his star performance ensured his side ran away with the maximum points against home side FC Ifeanyi Ubah in Nnewi.
The Umuahia-based outfit on Sunday ended the perfect start of the Anambra Warriors in the abridged league by coming back from a goal down to beat the 2016 Federation Cup winners.
The stage was set for a pulsating Oriental Derby as the Warriors went into the game with the mindset of ending the defeatless streak of the Nnewi side. Both sides met for the eighth time in a competitive football showpiece.
The technical crew of FC Ifeanyiubah made just two changes to the side that defeated Kada City FC last Sunday as Ugwuka Emmanuel and Ebetomame Oghenetega replaced the injured duo of Christian Nnaji and Samson Junior.
The Warriors had a dream start as Emmanuel Ugwuka gave them the lead in the third minute off an inviting cross from Chibuike Ezeh. The former headed into the goal past the hapless goalkeeper, Joshua Enaholo.
The Warriors should have doubled their advantage in the 13th minute but for a communication hitch between Alaekwe Chijioke and Ezeh Chibuike.
Ibrahim Olawoyin tried his luck from about 35 yards out in the 19th minute which sailed just wide. Promise James for the Warriors forced a save from goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo in the 24th minute.
Abia Warriors were made to wait till the dying stages of the first period as Samson Obi befuddled Onuoha Chukwujekwu and Charles Okafor to finish off a fine beautiful move assisted by Kola Imini.
On the hour mark, Shedrack Asiegbu rifled an effort past FCIU goalkeeper Anozie Chinedu from about 22 yards out to give the visitors the lead.
Nine minutes after, goalkeeper Enaholo pulled off a world-class save to deny Nonso Nzediegwu.
Thereafter, the centre-referee pointed to the spot in the 80th minute after Nzediegwu Nonso – in a goal-bound situation – was downed by goalkeeper Enaholo.
Charles Okafor, saddled with the responsibility of finishing off from 12 yards, failed to do so as the inspired former MFM shot-stopper denied the defender.
The Ochendo Boys held their nerves to see off a late surge from the Anambra Warriors‘ attacking duo of Nzediegwu Nonso and substitute Onuoha Uche to claim all points at stake.
The Warriors, who are now third in the Group B table of the NPFL courtesy of this result, will look to bounce back on Wednesday when they host Gombe United in matchday 7 at their fortress.