A Monsuru Bashiru’s 21st minute powerful header was enough to reduce the deficit at the summit of the table to 3 points and send Gombe United to the edge of relegation.
It was a match the Desert Scorpions had to pick a point from to keep their hopes of survival alive and it looked like they could nick something out of it against an MFM side that lined up without 4 of its mainstays – Steven Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun were unavailable due to participation in CHAN Qualifiers, Tchato Giscard suspended and Adekunle Adegboyega benched – but on the pitch, Gombe fluffed.
The Olukoya Boys started their dominance from the first blast of the whistle. Diminutive Midfielder, Chuka Onuwa dazzled and flexed his small but creative legs to the homely applauds of his immediate fans at the ‘Soccer Temple’.
Their dominance nearly yielded a goal when industrious teenager, Waheed Adebayo was upended. Stanley Okorom struck the resulting free kick, but it was too weak as Danjuma Hussaini gathered easily.
Hussaini could only flail his hands helplessly as Bashiru Monsuru rose highest to stir home Onuwa’s well taken corner kick. An unlikely goalscorer from an unlikely source but Fedelis Ilechukwu didn’t mind, he wheeled away in jubilation.
Sadiq Shaibu should have hurled Gombe back into the game when he swivelled upon a thousand Naira after Onuwa misplaced a pass, but Shaibu skewed his effort high and wide.
MFM almost cushioned it but Waheed’s heavy first touch allowed Maurice Chigozie stymied the ball to corner, snuffing out an effervescent counter attack that was started by Ifeanyi Abara.
The closest Gombe got to leveling was a ferociously hammered shot by Captain Abdullahi Ibrahim, that flew just millimeters over the bar.
After the break Gombe came out with full force but it produced nothing; not even a shot on target as MFM held their grounds to bounce back from what have been two weeks of disappointments.
MFM are now five points above Akwa United and Enyimba in third and fourth respectively. The win sees them strengthen their grip on second place. They are now just three points behind Plateau United in first place with three matches left until the end of the season.
Gombe United on the other hand are second bottom and six points adrift of safety. They next host ABS on matchday 36.