Mathare United suffered their second loss of the season at the hands of Posta Rangers in a fiercely contested match played at the Camp Toyoyo Grounds on Sunday.
Kennedy Otieno opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a solid header before Jockins Atudo doubled the hosts' lead moments later in similar fashion.
Clifford Alwanga halved the deficit in the 23rd minute to net his fifth of the season. A spirited second half display did not produce the equalizer as Posta gallantly defended their slim lead to the final whistle.
Having picked 12 points from the last four, Francis Kimanzi’s charges came into this match as the favorites despite having not beaten the mailmen since November 2010. With the last 11 matches between these two sides having produced only 16 goals, it was expected to be a low scoring match but the bright start suggested otherwise.
The visitors boldly wore the favorites tag and the first real chance fell to them with Alwanga connecting to Samuel Ndungu’s cross from the left. However his effort was parried by an alert Patrick Matasi only as far as Cliff Nyakeya whose cutback was eventually cleared by Jerry Santos as Posta survived an early scare.
Both sides had equal spells on the ball as they looked to settle into the match and as the clock ticked towards the quarter hour mark, Posta got the breakthrough. Kennedy Otieno rose high unmarked in the six yard box to thump his header home after connecting to a long throw in from Luke Ochieng’.
Another set piece regime saw the hosts double their lead shortly afterwards after Jockins Atudo sneaked at the back post to connect to John Nairuka’s delivery from a corner. His header cannoned of the inside of the cross bar on its way in catching Robert Mboya unawares.
With the impetus firmly tipped to Posta’s direction, the Slum Boys had a mountain to climb and climb they did. Cliff Nyakeya burst scurried past Titus Achesa on the right before picking out the run of Ndung’u with a low cross. However Ndung’u spurned the chance to score on his debut taking a heavy touch and Matasi gathered comfortably.
On the other end, John Nairuka almost established some daylight between them and their opponents but he sent his fierce drive off target after darting into the box. Alwanga punished Sammy Omollo’s charges for their laxity in front of goal to claim his fifth goal of the season six minutes before the half hour.
Ndung’u applied plenty of whip on his left foot in-swinger from a corner. It invited Matasi from his goal line but he could not gather cleanly. After some ping pong in the box, Alwanga showed his predatory instincts to nod home from close range.
That smidgen of hope was almost dimmed moments later when Otieno almost grabbed his brace. Once again Mathare United failed to deal with another long throw in from Luke allowing Otieno to pounce with a solid header that crashed on the cross bar with Mboya once again well beaten.
A period of dominance from the men in white was almost blotted by Atudo who did well to connect to a long throw from Luke but his header came off the upright. Gerson Likono sent a warning sign to the visitors shortly after the restart when he guided his lob just narrowly over the bar after spotting Mboya off his line.
Kimanzi sought to improve his attack with the introduction of Chris Ochieng’ and John Mwangi yet the storm never abated. Joseph Mbugi almost put the tie to rest but his curler squirmed inches over the bar after Nairuka had found him with a clever cutback.
Edward Seda’s miscued shot from close range after some nice dribbling from Mwangi on the left summed up a frustrating afternoon for the league leaders as Posta Rangers held on to their advantage.
The result leaves us top of the league with 23 points.
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 29. Chrispin Oduor 11. Cliff Nyakeya (62’13. John Mwangi) 7. Samuel Ndung’u (58’ 9. Chris Ochieng’) 21. Clifford Alwanga (83’27. Tyson Otieno)
Unused Subs: 30. Job Ochieng’ (GK) 23. Lennox Ogutu 22. Roy Okal 24. Klinsman Omulanga