Substitute John John scored twice as Kogi Unites held off a Kada City comeback on Saturday to maintain their promotion ambition with a 3-2 victory in the Matchday 15 of the Nigeria National League, NNL Group A2 clash in Lokoja.
Ibrahim Enesi put Kogi United in front to continue his scoring form as he rose above all in the box to nod home Victor Tale’s delivery from set piece.
John John -who made his first appearance after rejoining United from Nasarawa United- doubled the lead for the hosts in the 69th minute after replacing John Jerome.
Kada City reduced the deficit a minute later as James Joseph beat Shola Sheshere in goal for United after outwitting two markers.
John John restored the two goal cushion for the hosts when his well taken free kick beat goalkeeper Sunday Okoh in the 76 minutes.
But the Group A2 leaders, Kada City were undone with their push to force a late draw when David Onovo arrived in the box to tuck home Umar Muhammad’s low cross.
Further attacks from the visitors were thwarted by United’s defense marshalled by Kayode Moses and captain Musa Stephen as Kogi United maintained their hundred percent home record.
Coach Tunde Abdulrahman drafted Abubakar Danlami to central midfield creating space for Beach Eagles’ captain Victor Tale to start from right back and both gave United the needed depth for the hosts to dislodge Kada City’s counter attack tactics.
United could have taken the lead minutes into the match but Tale’s header hit the upright after beating Okoh.
Daniel Frimpong and Enesi could have increased the lead for the hosts shortly after the opening goal but fell short of luck with Okoh’s timely reflex to keep the result at 1-0 in first half.
Thomas Shedarack made his debut for Kogi United after replacing Idri Muye and the young midfielder brought some needed impetus to United’s midfield giving Olushola Ajala some freedom to push forward.
The result however renewed Kogi United’s target of securing one of promotion ticket to the NPFL.
Speaking after the match, Coach Abdulrahman commended his players for holding to secure the needed match points adding that Kada City displayed qualities of group leader.
Abdulrahman however expressed confidence that Kogi United would step up their performance ahead of remaining games.
“We are happy to have won the match, they (Kada City) really showed why they are on top because they showed some good stuffs, but we thank God we were able to take our chances and hold on, both teams have opportunities (to promote) if they can take their chances.
We are still working on our goal scoring, but good thing is we are creating more and we will continue to improve,” he said.
His counterpart from Kada City, Shola Adewuyi who admitted that Kogi United deserved the victory noted that his side paid for their slow start to the match.
“I’m not really happy with the result but I really need to congratulate Kogi United for their performance, I also commend my players for the way they played but its not good get down before coming up but it’s good the game ended the way it ended,” Adewuyi said.
Kogi United will then use the next 10 days to prosecute their outstanding NNL games, first with a trip to Ilorin against ABS FC on Wednesday followed by home game against Kaduna United next Saturday before rounding it up with an away game to FC Taraba.
Kogi United line up vs Kada City: Shola Sheshere, Victor Tale, Adewumi Femi, Abubakar Danlami, Musa Stephen, Moses Kayode, John Jerome (John John) Idris Muye (Thomas Shederack) Ibrahim Enesi (Sunday Stephen) Olushola Ajala, Daniel Frimpong.
Unused subs: Salisu Ogbe, Memeyo Juwon, Abubakar Danlami, Salisu Tanko.