Rarely does John Mwangi score but when he does it's always decisive. His first goal of the season settled a fiercely contested match at Ruaraka. It was always going to be tough against Tusker but Mathare United showed their class to bag maximum points and cushion their lead at the top of the log.
This slim 1-0 win was only their first against the visitors in three years. The last time the Slum Boys beat the Brewers was in July 2015 and Francis Kimanzi was on the wrong end of that result. Here, he showed why he is among the best coaches locally to get his first win over his former employers since he rejoined the club in 2016.
Having won at the same venue in midweek against Nakumatt, he made two changes to his first eleven elevating John Mwangi and David Owino to his first eleven at the expense of Daniel Mwaura and Martin Ongori.
There was no better way for Mwangi to repay Kimanzi than to open his account and notch the winner.
A slow burner encounter saw both sides struggle to churn out real chances in the opening exchanges with Robert Achema and Clifford Alwanga firing wide on either end. There was a scare shortly after the quarter hour mark when a high pressing regime from the hosts left David Okello with no passing options.
Cliff Nyakeya intercepted his pass intended for Lloyd Wahome but his cross was too high allowing Okello to recover and make amends for his error.
Francis Omondi and Eric Ambunya joined Edward Seda into David Mulongo’s books as the tie crumbled into a messy affair. As the clock ticked past the half hour mark, Mwangi brought the game back to life with a low drive from range that was only kept out by Okello’s fingertips.
Okello was at hand to save Tusker from falling behind when he came off his line to smoother a header from Chrispin Oduor who had been fed by a clever lobbed pass from an overlapping David Owino.
A late surge by the men in yellow finally bore the breakthrough just before the break. David set Cliff Nyakeya feinting towards the inside left channel with a long through pass. The weight on the pass freed Nyakeya of his marker Hashim Sempala and he found Clifford Alwanga with a cross.
Alwanga could not get his header on target but the danger was still on. Edward Seda kept the attack alive with an improvised back heel to return the ball into the area and Mwangi pounced unmarked with a diving header to capitalize on the goal mouth melee.
Mathare United could have gone ahead moments later when another communication error between Wahome and Okello saw the ball break free after Wahome lost an aerial duel to Alwanga.
The loose ball fell to Seda who should have gone for glory with Okello well off his line. However he contrived to tee up Nyakeya for a shot that was comfortably gathered by Okello who had recovered.
The combination of Timothy Otieno and Edwin Lavatsa had shown glimpses of effectiveness in the first half. The duo almost combined to level the scores at the restart. Timothy raced past George Owino on the right, sent a teasing cross but Johnstone Omurwa arrived into the box before Lavatsa to clear the danger.
Tusker coach Sam Timbe sought to improve his attack with the introduction of Amos Asemebeka and Jackson Macharia but the hosts defended diligently as they invited them to attack. Kimanzi responded by sending Roy Okal into the fray to galvanize his defence. Boniface Muchiri spurned a good chance to draw his team level in the 80th minute with his effort from a freekick flying over the bar.
There was time for Klinsman Omulanga to make his debut replacing Clifford Alwanga as Kimanzi’s held on to their lead to secure their fourth win on the trot.
Starting XI: 1. Robert Mboya (GK) 16. David Owino 25. Samuel Olwande 6. George Owino (C) 19. Johnstone Omurwa 5. Francis Omondi 4. Edward Seda (72' 22. Roy Okal) 29. Chrispin Oduor 11. Cliff Nyakeya 13.John Mwangi (76' 13. John Mwangi ) 21. Clifford Alwanga (81' 24. Klinsman Omulanga)
Unused subs: 30. Job Ochieng’ (GK) 28. Gilbert Osonga 10.Ahmed Ahmad 15.Ronald Reagan