Gift Lamowa netted a brace to ensure that FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves secured a vital 2-1 victory in the ThumbsUp Southern Region Football League over MDF Marine at the Kamuzu Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
The home win saw Chatama’s boys reach 18 points from eight games as they reclaimed Group B’s top spot.
The champions were off to a fine start. Still, their attacking force which was without star performer Chrispin Mapemba, who is with the senior Malawi National Team at the COSAFA tournament in South Africa, failed to make inroads in cutting open the resilient MDF Marine rearguard.
To see his side impose itself early in the tie, Chatama made a first-half change by replacing Oscar Petro with Sladge Sanudi whose impact was instant.
Having been unable to register a single shot on target for half an hour, we then looked to force the issue when right-back Gift Jossam hit the post with a decent free-kick.
A minute after that moment, the young Bullets were presented with another chance when the visitors’ goalkeeper Mwiza Mhango half-cleared an in-swinging ball which fell kindly in the path of Francis Malikebu whose effort was narrowly off target.
In the last minute of the opening half, our youngsters curved open again but Kaponya’s fine strike missed the target by a whisker to let the visitors reach the interval break unharmed despite being put on the chopping board for most of the time.
With the same momentum they finished the first chapter, Bullets Reserves restarted the second half taking their game up to the visitors’ half.
Nine minutes since play resumed, we finally found our breakthrough which came through a set piece executed by Raphick Bahati and headed home by Gift Lamowa to make it 1-0.
Looking for an equalizer, the visitors’ shirt number 10, Acid Ajassi, unleashed a fierce strike to force a strong save from our goalie Joel Ngwira.
Ajassi’s persistence paid off a few minutes later when he finally levelled things up after making most of Happy Mphepo’s lame back pass before finishing calmly past Ngwira to make it 1-1 in the 73rd minute.
Two minutes after conceding we re-established our lead as Lamowa completed his brace with an easy tap-in after Mhango fumbled a Gift Jossam delivery into the striker’s path.
Looking to secure things, we made a defensive change by taking off Francis Malikebu and introducing our captain Andrew Lameck who went on to help us protect the lead until the final whistle.
What it means
The result sees the defending champions returning to the top of the standings.
Now on 18 points from eight matches, they are a point above the second-placed Fomo who have played a game more.
Chatama post MDF Marine
“I’m pleased with the three points but not with the performance. It was a disjointed play; we never ticked all the boxes. The midfield did not keep the ball, we defended
poorly today, but all in all a win is a good result.”
After this vital win, Chatama’s boys will now make a trip to Mangochi for their ninth league fixture away to Mangochi United at Mangochi Community Stadium on Sunday.
Joel Ngwira, Happy Mphepo, Chifundo Sapuwa, Gift Jossam (out), Raphick Bahati, Lyton Chinong’one, Oscar Petro (out), Macray Chiwaya, Wongani Kaponya, Gift Lamowa, Francis Malikebu (out).
Ganizani Banda, Andrew Lameck (in), Sladge Sanudi (in), Alex Msiska, Osman Bakali, Limbani Kutambe, Mussa Bwanali (in), Samuel Luka, Raphick Ndeule, Wilson Jacob.