Ulinzi Stars came from a goal down to dispatch a survival-chasing Western Stima 2-1 in a round 26 BetKing Premier League match played from 3:15 pm at the ASK Nakuru Showgrounds on Saturday 17th July.
Youngster Laban Otieno had sent the hosts of the day up but a second half resurgence from Masita Masuta and Mark Bikokwa gifted the soldiers with the win.
Stephen Otieno was looking for a clean sheet in between the Stima goalpost and had to be wary as Ulinzi started a three-pronged attack in their first eleven that comprised Enosh Ochieng, Mark Bikokwa and Masita Masuta. First up was Ochieng, last season’s leading scorer in the league with a thunderous drive that Otieno had to stretch extra inches to keep out.
Sensing they could go down before the break, Stima upped the tempo upfront and James Saruni had the task of keeping out a Laban Otieno close range effort on fifteen minutes. The lad would show up thirteen minutes later with the opener as Ulinzi trailed.
Ulinzi had won in their last encounter at the same venue and duly needed the full set of three points. While reinforcing the midfield, Boniface Onyango went into the referee’s books for a challenge on James Ogada in the 41st minute.
Stima led at the break.
Former Nzoia man Masita Masita only needed ten minutes of the second half to draw the soldiers level, capitalising on a properly weighted ball in the area by Bikokwa to equalise.
Bikokwa himself would then show up himself, just past the hour mark with the lead. And no Stima were chasing the game all of a sudden.
In a bid to reclaim the lead, coach Abdallah Juma withdrew Edwin Clifford Omondi and in his place came striker Mbaruk Mohammed with ten minutes to go. The Kisumu power men went all out.
There was however, no coming back for Stima as Ulinzi ran out 2-1 winners on the day, leaving the relegation strugglers win another tough week ahead.