…Silver Strikers fail to topple Wanderers…
For the first time in years, Blantyre based fans watched the exciting and entertaining Blantyre derby with both teams giving out a million dollar performance to share one point apiece.
Both halves were full of pace and intensity and on the balance of play and chances created, Wanderers were probably fortunate to go into the break leading as Nenani Juwaya produced three stunning saves to deny Chiukepo Msowoya and Fischer Kondowe from finding the back of the net.
With a seven point gap between the two sides, Wanderers knew that a win was a must in order to stop Bullets from extending their lead at the top.
The Nomads meant business in the half through their dangerman Yamikani Chester who terrorized Bullets’ defence without mercy.
The 4-4-2 formation deployed by Bullets wasn’t very effective as they ended up inviting pressure from Chester, Joseph Kamwendo and Mike Kaziputa.
Wanderers’ pressure finally paid off just before the half hour mark when Chester was brought down by John Lanjesi from which Kamwendo stepped up to deliver a masterclass set piece into the box which was well connected into the net by Kanyenda, 1-0.
Bullets almost responded some minutes later when Msowoya’s low cross drive found Kondowe who released a thunderous shot which was equally saved by Juwaya for a corner.
The former Azam Tigers shot-stopper was called into action again, this time around, saving Msowoya’s header for a corner when Wanderers’ defence was caught napping in the line of duty.
With less than 4 minutes to play, Bullets brought in Bright Munthali for Bashir Maunde, switching from their 4-4-2 formation to 3-4-3 formation.
In the second half, Bullets came out with a mission and played with real purpose and had early chances through Patrick Phiri, but he was twice denied by Juwaya.
The visitors were living dangerously as they opted to sit back to defend their single goal and they invited more pressure from Bullets.
Just ten minutes into the half, the scoreline was level.
MacPhallen Ngwira managed to beat Dennis Chembezi before sending a million dollar cross into the box from which Kondowe connected before beating Juwaya into the net, 1-1.
Juwaya was very exceptional and his reflexes kept Wanderers in the game when he saved a Nelson Kangunje 25 metre drive for a corner.
Wanderers then brought in Misheck Botomani and Rafick Namwera for Zicco Nkanda and Kamwendo, with Bullets introducing Chimango Kayira and Mike Mkwate for Henry Kabichi and Msowoya.
Namwera’s introduction helped Wanderers to control the midfield again and they almost restored their lead when Sanudi was found unmarked in the box by Botomani only to fire over the cross bar.
Wanderers made their final substitution, bringing in Isaac Kaliyati for Sanudi.
Kangunje was at his level best and he singlehandedly tormented Wanderers’ defence but he was denied by Juwaya’s heroics.
Botomani was then denied a goal at the other end by Rabson Chiyenda as the end-to-end action continued unabated.
With less than 9 minutes to play, Chester’s effort outside the penalty box managed to beat Chiyenda but not the upright, leaving every Wanderers fan in total disbelief.
Play continued to go from end to end, the respective sets of fans erupting every time their team burst forward, although clear-cut chances proved elusive and 1-all it ended.
The result is a massive blow to Wanderers who have failed to reduce Bullets’ gap with ten games to play.
In another result, Silver Strikers failed to dislodge Wanderers into the second position after they were held to a goalless draw by MAFCO FC.
The result means the Central Bankers are still stuck in third position with 37 points from 19 games.
At Civo Stadium, Marshal Maluwa scored a brace to inspire Kamuzu Barracks to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over resilient TN Stars to move up to 6th in the standings with 24 points from 19 games.