Akwa United pipped Remo Stars by a lone goal to return to winning ways in Uyo.
Akpesiri’s header in the second half restored Akwa United to winning ways as they confirmed their dominance over Remo Stars, they had defeated in Ikenne in the first stanza of the season.
The return of Babatunde Bello from international duty improved the midfield of the home side and the first half ended in a stalemate.
Coach Ayodeji Ayeni’s men were determined to avoid a consecutive draw and intensified their efforts in the second half.
Five minutes after the break, Adam Yakubu’s free header from Babatunde’s free-kick went wide by whiskers.
Akwa United continued to look for an opener as David Onovo’sshot from the edge of the box failed to hit the target in the 52nd minute.
The Promise Keepers eventually broke the deadlock with a header from Naibe Akpesiri in the 67th minute.
Akwa United stay in the eighth position with 48 points while Remo Stars are in fifth place with 50 points.
Gombe United and Dakkada shared the points at the PantamiStadium as both sides played out a 2-2 draw.
Yusuf Abdulazeez netted his 15th goal of the season in the fifth minute but an own goal from Rahman Olarenwaju because of a miscommunication in the 25th minute.
In the 37th minute, Dakkada went back in front through Emmanuel Ayaosi, who went past two Gombe United’s defenders before slotting it past goalkeeper Itodo Akor.
Gombe United, who have not lost at home this season, got an equaliser quickly into the second half from Sani Suleiman’s tap-in from a close range in the 51st minute.
Having dropped points at home, Gombe United stay in the ninth position with 45 points while Dakkada kept their dream of escaping relegation alive by jumping to the 18th position with 37 points.
Speaking at a post-match interview, the Promise Keeper’s coach, Deji Ayeni said he knew the game was not going to be easy, hence the preparation tactically and psychologically.
“My boys were a bit anxious because goal did not come early as expected, having not won in previous matches. So, I advised them not to be anxious but to calm down that the more anxious they are, the more mistakes they would make .Then, in the second half, I made some changes to keep the tenacity and tempo, which resulted in the goal,” Ayeni said.
He admitted that the team was facing difficulty in the striking role, saying this was same scenario all over the world and hoped to restrategize at the end of the season to build a solid team from the scratch.
On third choice keeper, Uche Okafor whose superb saves earned Akwa the victory, Ayeni said: having kept for Nigeria’s Under-17 and Under-20, he is experienced keeper who waits for his time and the time came he did marvellously well. You know that both Adewale Adeyinka and Jean Efala are both National team keepers for Nigeria and Cameroon respectively.”
His counterpart, Gbenga Ogunbote noted that his boys came with the mind-set to win the game, but had a careless moment that they conceded lone goal.
“We did all our tactical approach but did not work out, the game has been won and lost and it becomes history. Remo would not play Akwa again this season, except in the Aiteo Cup.All what we need to do is to take the positive so that we would not repeat such error.”
Akwa United thrashed Remo Stars in the first round 0-1 at Ikenne, Ogun State and repeated the dominance with same goal margin 1-0 in return fixture in Uyo.