Malawi leaders Big Bullets FC’s dreams of collecting six points from the two games they had in the central region ended prematurely as they were held to a 1-all draw by rookies Dedza Young Soccer on Sunday afternoon at Dedza Stadium.
Coming straight from their 1-nil victory over Epac FC on Saturday, the league leaders had their real ultimate test as the home side gave them tough time from the word go to the final whistle.
The Soccer Saints were first to attack no wonder they took an early lead through Fletcher Bandawe who headed past Chimwemwe Kumkwawa in goals for Bullets from Amadu Makawa’s well taken corner kick.
The visitors, who made a single change to the side that beat Epac on Saturday, kept on struggling as Makawa, Jussab Mpachika, Dave Balakasi and Bandawe attacked like angry vipers in search for the much needed goals but lacked the cutting edge inside the penalty box.
Bullets suffered an early injury scare when midfielder Dalitso Sailesi was stretched off, allowing Jelles Lufeyo to make his way into the team. Bandawe almost doubled his tally but his shot missed the goal mouth with an inch.
Bullets almost responded in style as Chiukepo Msowoya’s header from a Ng’ambi corner was cleared by captain of the side Chisomo Mpachika before crossing the goal line.
Just when Dedza thought they were in total control of the game, Bullets got the leveler.
Lack of communication inside the penalty box by the hosts’s defenders allowed Dave Ng’ambi to put the ball into the back of the net, leaving the home fans in total disbelief, 1-1.
Minutes later, Bandawe was at it again as his thunderbolt managed to beat Kumkwawa but not the woodwork.
The visitors were under siege as the hosts brilliantly out muscled the league leaders who had no answers for Dedza’s pace and hunger for goals.
Balakasi could have restored his team’s lead but he misjudged a cross from Makawa, who was giving Yamikani Fodya a tough time throughout the match no wonder at half time, he received the player of the month award for October following his skills in the field of play.
Despite dominating the entire 45 minutes, the hosts failed to regain their lead.
Come second half, Dedza continued from where they stopped in the second half as Makawa, Mpachika and Bandawe pressed harder, looking for goals to avoid relagation.
Bandawe was very unfortunate not find the back of the net as he was denied by the woodwork for the second time in the game.
Makawa then shoot himself in the foot when he won possession inside Bullets’s half, only to fire wide with the goalkeeper to beat.
At the other end, Mpachika man-marked Msowoya who was nowhere to be seen throughout the playing minutes.
Bullet’sclossest chance came through Mac-Fallen Ngwira, who was set through by James Chilapondwa but the latter fired inches away from the goal mouth.
Dedza’s goalie Kingsley Phiri was called into action to deny Ng’ambi from scoring by producing a double save to frustrate the visiting fans.
Chisomo Gillion was introduced for ineffective Balakasi whilst Fischer Kondowe and Jafali Chande all made their way for the running away league leaders.
Bullets’ defense danced to the tune of Bandawe who was a thorn in the fresh for Sankhani Mkandawire, Chikondi Likwemba, Chiku Kanyenda and Fodya as his skills on the day were amazing.
Bandawe almost scored when Bullets defence was caught napping but the inform forward failed to make a cool finish from a close range. Bullets had few chances as to compared to Dedza, no wonder Phiri was on holiday. In the additional minutes, the soccer saints failed to score from clear cut goal scoring opportunist.
Speaking to the press, Dedza coach Millias Jegwe Pofera hailed his boys for their brilliant display of football but was quick to admit that his side missed a lot of chances.
On his part, Bullets team manager Rahim Ishmael admitted that his side was below par in the match but was happy with the point gained.
The result sees Bullets extending their lead at the top to 51 points from 22 games and they are few miles away from reaching the promised land. However, they win less record at Dedza Stadium continues in more than four years now.
As for the rookies, their battle for survival continues and they must win all of their remaining games in order to survive from the chop.