Nakumatt FC twice came from behind to salvage a two-all draw against Gor Mahia at the Machakos Stadium, the result bringing to a halt the reigning league champions’ 8-match league winning streak.
Joe Wathira and substitute Harun Nyakha, both signed in mid season from Wazito FC, orchestrated the Shoppers’ comeback after Ephrem Guikan and Boniface Omondi had given Kogalo a 1-0, then 2-1 lead.
The result doesn’t do any harm to Kogalo’s title match as they lead second-placed Bandari by 14 points, and with three games in hand over the Dockers who thumped Posta Rangers 3-1.
Guikan, set up by Kevin Omondi, squeezed the ball home at near post in the 34th minute to give the title holders a half time lead.
It was one of many opening interval chances that fell to the Ivorian and his teammates.
Wellington Ochieng and Samuel Onyango both sent stinging shots at Nakumatt keeper Phillip Odhiambo but they were both denied in quick succession before Clinton Kisiavuki mustered the hosts’ first open chance on the other end but Mahia keeper Shaban Odhoji had no qualms gathering to keep a timid opening 20 minutes goalless.
As expected, Kogalo thronged forward more often than their hosts with Guikan at the end of the visitors’ best moments.
He headed inches over before finally finding the back of the net with 10 minutes of first half play remaining, beating the keeper at his near post.
Melis Medo’s Nakumatt got two chances to pull level before the interval, the best falling to an unmarked Timonah Wanyonyi who somehow headed straight at Odhoji following a cross from John Njoroge.
Guikan could have pulled his side further ahead with five minutes to the break but his tame effort at full stretch was fortuitously gathered by Odhiambo, while Kogalo attacker Onyango, who had a frustrating afternoon until his substitution, missed a one on one chance with the keeper.
Boniface Omondi could have gotten his goal earlier than he did had he not been at the end of last minute defensive interception. The pint-sized attacker beat the keeper to a pinged pass from fullback Ochieng but he was denied a clean sight of goal just before pulling a 50th minute trigger.
After Guikan again failed to take another chance, Nakumatt made them pay just five minutes after the hour mark. Wathira collected the ball at the arc of center circle and darted through unchallenged before viciously aiming at Odhoji’s far right side. Despite the keeper’s best attempts to make the save, he was well beaten.
The lead lasted just seven minutes though as Omondi tapped home a deep cross from Lawrence Juma following a Gor Mahia counterattack, the striker getting injured in the process and giving way to Francis Mustafa.
Despite holding the lead, Kogalo looked uncomfortable especially when defending set pieces which they were conceding in numbers. One of them would come to bite in stoppage time as substitute Nyakha reacted quickest to Odhoji’s spilled ball from a free-kick as the home side nipped the point.
Nyakha was miles offside but the referee and his assistant failed to spot what looked obvious. Gor Mahia boss was predictably livid.
Nakumatt had to withstand final pressure moments from Gor Mahia in the four additional minutes which had the champions-elect force a series of corners and crosses but none penetrated, the two sides settling for a point on this day, and in the manner described.
The other two matches on the day had Tusker winning 2-0 at Kakamega Homeboyz while hosts Chemelil edged Vihiga United 1-0.
By Steve Ayoo (@Steifmaster88)