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Bullets Reserves extend lead at the top with 2-1 win over Fomo

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves are now three points clear at the top of Group B in the TumbsUp Southern Region Football League following a 2-1 win over the second-placed Fomo FC on Thursday afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium.

Chrispin Mapemba opened the scoring in the second half and Gift Lamowa won it late in the second half with a collector’s item of a strike.

With two matches remaining to wrap up the group stages, young Maule are now on 36 points from 18 games.

What happened

In the scorching heat of Thursday afternoon, our youngsters started out shining. With comfortable movement of the ball in the attacking zone they managed to cage the visitors from Mulanje in their own station.

Typical of a top-of-the-table crash, domination switched as the Mapopa Msukwa side began to make their presence felt by taking the game to Enos Chatama’s boys.

By the time the clock ticked to 30 minutes into the game, Fomo were winning in terms of number of corners, 2, and attempts at goal, 3.

Nonetheless, our youngsters found their spell and started to carry enough threat moving forward, an upsurge that saw us breaking the deadlock at last.

Fine footwork helped Lamowa make inroads down the left and cut a pass for Mapemba who, roaming around the penalty spot, made good use of the ball by sending it past Henry Mwandira with a lot of power behind it to make it 1-0.

Conceding first against the champions did not anyhow affect the visitors’ well-coordinated set-up and on-point approach to the game.

In the last minute of the half, they raced forward and after some quick exchange of passes down the right by-line, James Msowoya, their most lively player on the day, took things into his own hands to strike a low effort past Austin Chirambo from outside the area.

That proved to be the final act of the opening half which proved to be a two-sided one, 1-1 it finished.

Starting the second half, Chatama aimed at refuelling his attacking forces when he took off Zizwa  Hanjahanja for Wongani Kaponya who had missed our previous match through a muscle injury.

A few minutes after appearing, Kaponya wasted no time to call the visiting watchmen into a lot of questions.

Eventually, he won a penalty when his dangerous hard-and-low cross got handled in the box. That was a big chance for us to reestablish the lead but it was not to be. Gift Jossam, who has been in imperious form with dead balls this season saw his effort from the spot saved by Mwandira.

Then, the visitors targeted to rise in our frustration by injecting pace into their invasions. For peace-making, Chatama threw in central midfielder Oscar Petro, who was marking his return from an ankle injury which kept him out for nearly a month.

Focus on his coach’s commands, the younger brother to our first team midfielder Ernest Petro and the Malawi international defender Charles Petro, went on to offer us a different shape and stability. He instantly controlled the rhythms of the game to his melody, spreading passes and keeping the team in transition with a proactive backup.

Then, Mapemba and Kaponya stormed into Fomo’s backline with annoying pace and trickery and with nine minutes left on the clock, a moment of brilliance happened.

Lamowa, who had just been shifted back to his natural central striker role after starting out as a wide forward, pounced on a defensive error by the visitors, took a touch, and neatly curved the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to successfully reinstall our lead.

Still looking eager to salvage something from the tie, Fomo made a late double change but our youngsters never looked like letting their lead slip away again.

Frustrated and beleaguered, the visitors could not control their temper and ended up with match 10 men as Chimwemwe Kamowa was sent off on a second yellow card offence.

Additional time ticked to nine minutes but our youngsters secured the lead until the final whistle to win what was so far a classic SRFL match between two strong sides. 2-1 it ended.

What it means

With two matches remaining to wrap up the group stages, young Maule are now on 36 points from 18 games.

It has been a great turnaround of form for our youngsters who have now, in all competitions, won four games in a row. Three in the league, one in a cup.

Coach Chatama post Fomo

“It was one of the toughest games we have played so far this season. Fomo are a good team, they gave us a tough run for our money. In the first half, we did not tick all the boxes. We defended too deep and did not attack a lot. On the run of play, we got a goal through Mapemba, and then we conceded a very silly goal towards the end of the first half.

“Second half, we displayed good football, we created numerous chances, we had a penalty which we missed. The boys put up a gallant fight considering that it was a test game. It was where two teams at the top were fighting to go top of the table.”

Next

Coming up is a trip to Mchinji where Bullets Reserves will face Namitete Zitha in the semi-finals of the Aubrey Dimba Trophy on Sunday.

Starting Lineup

Austin Chirambo, Happy Mphepo, Mussah Bwanali, Gift Jossam, Raphick Bahati, Andrew Lameck, Francis Malikebu, Lyton Chinong’one, Zizwa Hanjahanja, Chrispin Mapemba, Gift Lamowa.

Used subs

Oscar Petro, Wongani Kaponya.

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