Gift Lamowa’s solo strike ensured FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves inched past The Boys in the ThumbsUp Southern Region Football League fixture at the Chilomoni Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The victory away from home for the reigning champions maintained the impeccable start to their latest title defence as they also put nine goals past Zomba Airbase on match day one last weekend.
For The Boys, who were playing their first match of the season, the defeat has them carrying the Group B log table on their head as they sit at the very bottom.
With 10 goals in two matches, Bullets Reserves hold on to their lead in Group B’s standings with six points.
Playing away on a pitch with a hard, bumpy surface, Enos Chatama’s boys made that not to be their excuse in claiming authority early in the tie.
Three minutes after the opening whistle, right-back Gift Jossam executed a delightful free-kick only to be denied by the keeper who had to cool it down before grabbing it.
For longer periods of the first half, The Boys were pinned in their half by our high-pressing and aggressive passing patterns.
In the fifth minute came our breakthrough. Lyton Chinong’one, who grabbed a brace against Zomba Airbase last weekend, sliced a pass to Gift Lamowa who took a touch into the area before smuggling it home on a tight angle to make it 0-1.
Having taken the lead, we then found our settlement in this tie away from home. Pushing forward down the right, Jossam almost doubled our lead but saw his long-range effort rattled against the crossbar.
Finding joy penetrating down the right, Chrispin Mapemba made a run inside and smashed a fierce strike of which the keeper required a strong hand to parry the ball away for safety.
Thanks to some goalkeeping heroics, the home side managed to go for a break with only a one-goal deficit.
With a double half-time substitution, The Boys, who were playing their opening match of the season, then picked up their levels early in the second half.
As Bullets Reserves looked for their second, The Boys pushed for the leveller, making a tight, fast-paced contest with many stern physical duels.
At the stroke of the half-hour mark, Macray Chiwaya picked was cautioned after he hauled down an opponent and fearing he might pick a red card, Enos Chatama replaced him with Oscar Petro.
Sporadically Bullets Reserves found themselves dealing with counterattacks from The Boys who looked a real threat each time they did.
There was some nervy moment late in the tie when the home side won a free kick on a promising position but Joel Ngwira punched it away to calm down the late anxiety.
After seeing their danger disappear, the champions went on to claim victory at the blow of the final whistle.
What it means
The result maintains Bullets Reserves’ top spot in Group B of the league with six points and with Gift Lamowa’s strike means the champions have scored 10 goals in two games.
Recording a clean sheet in Saturday’s victory, meant that the young Maule are yet to concede a goal this season.
Chatama’s post-match interview
“It was a tough game but we controlled the proceedings from the first whistle to the last whistle, only that we could not finish those chances we created. The Boys did give us a real scare, they defended very deep and kicked long balls into our box. All in all, it is a good result considering that we were playing on a difficult pitch.”
After Saturday’s hard-fought win away at The Boys, the reigning champions will have a week off in the league before their home fixture against Ntaja United in the fourth week of the championship.