Ekiti United FC of Ado-Ekiti became the first team in the ongoing NNL campaign to come out from the Lion’s den of 3sc unscathed as they put up a spirited fight to hold Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan to a one all draw at home.
Before the Nigeria National League (NNL) matchday twelve pairing played at the Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode, no team had been able to survive the firepower of the Group B1 leaders on that turf, but the coach Ayodeji Ayeni tutored lads, who were held to a goalless draw by the Ibadan soccer lords in the first leg, enjoyed the luxury of luck, to pick a valuable point.
It was a day the god of soccer had destined the visitors to share the spoils with the Oluyole Warriors, who expectedly had the game under control in both halves but were unfortunate not to squeeze out a win.
Not willing to give any room to complacency, the Edith Agoye led technical crew of 3SC paraded a hit squad with skipper Omololu Waheed combining well with Abbey Benson, Isiaka Mutiu,Taye Muritala and Amodu Nurudeen to provide a solid coverage for goalkeeper Charles Tambe, with Gbadamosi Fatai, Akilu Muhammed controling the midfield, leaving Osaghae Junior, Opeoluwa Olufemi and Gafar Olafimihan to terrorize the visitors upfront.
The host created some scoring chances in the first half but the ball refused to rest in the opponent’s net.
Ekiti United, who paraded veteran midfielder and former skipper of Nigeria’s beach soccer team, Isiaka Olawale in his debut had their defence line and goalkeeper Oladeji Josua to thank for keeping a clean sheet, especially in the first half.
Chidi Martins, Nwaiwu Stephen, Bello Babatunde, Adeyanju Julius as well as Ebuka Chukwu played out their hearts, thwarting all efforts by the home team to find the breakthrough.
Occasionally, the visitors produced some inspiring flashes with Afeez Yusuf, Abdul Hammed, Timothy Akinyemi, Olajuyin Kehinde and Isiaka Olawale trying to break the 3SC backline which was a hard but to crack.
After a barren first half, the Oluyole Warriors came into the second half with renewed vigour in search of the elusive opener, as the introduction of the trio of Abayomi Adebayo, Malomo Ayodeji and Anthony Okachi, to added more bite to the team.
The deadlock was eventually broken in tbe 65th minute when Gafar Olafimihan fired home from close range to give Shooting Stars the deserved lead.
The ovation that greeted the goal had hardly settle down, when the visitors leveled up against the run of play, through a newly signed attacker, Abdul Hammed.
Every effort by the host to grab the winner proved abortive as the visitors stood their ground to ensure the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Despite the outcome of the encounter, the Oluyole Warriors, with 29 points, still maintain a nine point lead over second placed Go Round FC, who have 20 points.
Ekiti United players and officials are expected back home tomorrow (Monday ) to begin preparation for week 13 encounter against Stores fc from Lagos.