Nyasa Big Bullets conceded in the dying minutes to suffer a 0-1 defeat away to Silver Strikers in the TNM Super League on Saturday afternoon.
Bullets missed an opportunity to reduce the gap in the standings against the Bankers who have opened a nine-point gap at the top after wrapping up the opening round of the 2020/21 campaign. The People’s team have a game to go against TN Stars at home on Friday.
Three changes were made to the side that drew 1-1 against Be Forward Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday as Kalisto Pasuwa brought in Meshack Seleman, Ernest Petro and Sankhani Mkandawire in the starting XI, replacing Mike Mkwate, Chimango Kayira and Hassan Kajoke.
It was a below par performance from the visitors who were always second on the ball.
The hosts created the first chance of the match in the 13th minute through a free kick which came off the wall mounted by Bullets.
Three minutes later, another free kick from Maxwell Gasten forced Richard Chimbamba into making his first save for a corner, which had no impact as Bullets defence cleared the danger away.
At the other end, an exchange of passes between Seleman, Gomezgani Chirwa and Chimwemwe Idana released Zicco Mkanda who was overpowered by Nickson Mwase and Chisomo Mpachika in defence for the Central Bankers.
Moments later, Seleman was found unmarked inside the six-yard box, however the Bullets attacker misjudged the ball from Chirwa to drive his effort away from Charles Thom’s goal area for a goal kick.
With less than five minutes to play before the recess, Chimbamba produced another brilliant save when Gasten connected Thuso Paipi’s cross and the Bankers failed to capitalize from the rebound as Nickson Nyasulu intervened.
In the second half, head coach Kalisto Pasuwa brought in Mike Mkwate and Hassan Kajoke for Petro and Seleman as he looked to increase his attacking options in search for a goal.
It was however a day that never was as Bullets struggled to create goal scoring chances in the opening minutes of the half.
The first clear chance for the visitors came in the 65th minute when McFallen Mgwira delivered a dazzling cross into the box which found Kajoke unmarked, but the forward headed over the cross bar.
Moments later, Chirwa made a brilliant run to the right and his cross nearly went in but Thom was very alert as he saved the situation for the Bankers, surprisingly, the assistant referee awarded the hosts a goal kick instead of a corner to the visitors.
In the 74th minute, Chimbamba was called into action again to deny Stain Davie from scoring with his long range strike after Bullets’ defense was caught napping in the line of duty.
In the 78th minute, Levison Maganizo, Young Chimodzi Jnr and Prince Phiri came on for Paipi, Chinsinsi Maonga and Patrick Macheso whilst Bullets brought in Chiukepo Msowoya for Mkanda.
Just when everybody thought the game was heading to a draw, Gasten rose up from the occasion to stun Bullets with a 91st minute goal when the visitors’ defence was found ball watching in the danger area following a move from Maganizo and the Bankers forward sent a powerful shot in the far post to beat Chimbamba.
Bullets tried to respond from a free kick but the hosts defended with everything to hand The People’s Team their second defeat of the season.
The result means Silver Strikers have finished the first-round on top of the standings with 35 points whilst Bullets are second with 26 points, but with a game more to play.