By Benjamin Garkpah
Football writer, kick442.com-Liberia
The league is not won after three games but having a great start boosts confidence and so is LPRC Oilers and Cooper Sannoh who are 9 for 9 after Match Day 3.
Oilers brushed aside NPA Anchors 2-0 at the Technical Center to go two points clear at the top of the 1st Division table after a William Freeman’s brace at either side of halftime. Freeman fired the Champions in the lead on 33 minutes and double their advantage ten minutes after the restart to insure the Oil Boys keep their 100% record to the start of the fledgling campaign.
Those double strikes confirmed Oilers’ fifth goal of the season involving four different scorers, more than any other team in the top division this season.
Nimba Kwado are the surprise package of the season so far recording back-to-back home wins this time a 2-0 victory over Nimba United in Sanniquellie as Ton-Pea-Mea moved a place and two points adrift the Champions. The club top goal scorer last season, George Kerkulah opened his 2020/21 account in the first half before Nyan Dahn second half strike secured all three points for Kollie Korvy against his former team whom he won the championship with in 2015.
Watanga excellent home form continued in a nervy five-goal thriller at Blue Field as Matthew Julutweh men won Nimba FC 3-2 in an entertaining masterpiece. Twice Watanga were ahead and twice the visitors pegged them back; Augustine Otu early strike on 9 minutes was cancelled out by Franklin Mulbah on the half hour mark.
And when Otu completed his brace soon after the restart Mulbah matched that feat with a sweet equalizer four minutes after. We looked to be settling for a draw before Abraham Kouyateh pounced on the three points with a late winner to steer Watanga on 6 points in third one adrift Nimba Kwado.
Bea Mountain, after their home defeat to LPRC Oilers on the opening day are up to fourth on 6 points following two wins on the trot as the Gold Boys labored to a 1-0 win of the bottom club Small Town FC in Paynesville.
Former BYC front man Mark Paye scored the only goal of the game in the second half after he stabbed in his back post effort from very close range thanks to Kaytu Jerbo assist after his trademark foot works down the left. One negative on that result from a Bea Mountain perspective, Hilton Varney will miss their crucial home clash with Watanga next Sunday in Kinjor after the left back saw straight red at the SKD.
Mighty Barrolle got their first win of the season to move in sixth on 5 points after a tempestuous 2-1 win at Monrovia Club Breweries in Kakata as both teams finished with 10 men. Ballack Somah scored twice in the opening 34 minutes to put Club Beer on the ropes, but was unlucky to see red in the 61st minute for a second bookable offense.
Somah first came just after 5 minutes before he added his second from the spot about ten minutes short of the first half whistle. Four minutes after he was sent off by Jerry Yekeh, Breweries pulled one back thanks to new signing Sidiki Kromah. As Breweries launched an insurrection for the equalizer, their goalkeeper Abdoulaye Koulibaly saw a second yellow card culminating to red for a rash tackle outside his box.
Freeport are up to seventh in the twelve team table after a nail-biting 2-1 win at the ATS over LISCR who suffered their first reverse of the season. It was certainly the biggest result of the week because of a hosts of reasons; no words can describe the three goals scored, Freeport are off the road running after a first win of the season, and in contrast Tapha Manneh and LISCR amazingly are in the relegation pit after collecting one point from a possible nine.
Jonathan Eke scored a magnificent first half opener as Freeport led one-nil on the break. That Eke’s magnificent strike was cancelled out by an even fantastic equalizer by the marvelous Maliki Kromah against his former club. After some brisk and precise passing moves down the right by LISCR, Kromah continued his deep run from midfield to grace a delicious Sam Jackson pinpoint pass that had the entire rearguards of Freeport in tatters before he(Kromah) took it sweetly on his chest, rightly controlled it on the volley, then calmly keeping composure to beat the stranded goalkeeper.
1-1 at that moment LISCR looked favorite. They had an appeal for a penalty turned down before their Ivoirian striker, Chieck N’Diaye snapshot from outside the area sailed agonizingly wide. On the other end, substitute Thomas Appiah (no relationships to Ghanaian Thomas Appiah) who had come on for the injured Jonathan Eke was preparing a major scoop for the three points.
As Freeport absorbed the spirited LISCR fight for the winner, against the run of play Appiah picked up possession just in the half of the Shipping Boys to the right of the halfway line. The talented forward combined skill, control, and speed to leave Jeremy Singbe on the floor and in pursuit of several other red-shirted Blues, he completely rounded Tommy Sango, checked his run and position before confidently finishing low in the bottom left of the goal even though LISCR had two recovery defenders on the goal line.
“A precious three points and what a way to win it.” Coach David Paul said in the press box. “It was a deserved win after a poor start of the season per our own standards. We can now get off the road running”, Mr. Paul explained.
So, with the pressure mounting on Tapha Manneh, you wondered how does he react to his first reverse of the season. It is one point from a possible nine as Mr. Manneh expressed disappointment of losing to Freeport. “It is disappointing to lose to Freeport…I never expected this but again we missed too many chances and they took theirs,” Mr. Manneh bemoaned.
LISCR are third from bottom and are involved in an early relegation battle with the bottom club Small Town next week, while Freeport host NPA Anchors in the Port Derby at the SKD.
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