John Odumegwu’s 21st minute goal was all that Rivers United needed to wrestle the three points in a Matchday 26 encounter against visiting Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on Saturday.
Odumegwu benefited from a Bolaji Sakin header when he scored the only goal of the match from a Bernard Ovoke free kick.
The goal came after the former Plateau United attacker who joined the Pride of Rivers in the mid-season transfer had his goal disallowed in the third minute after the referee ruled it offside.
Odumegwu would have scored more to help his team get more than a goal but his lack of killer touch saw him waste most of the chances that came to the home side. The goal however was Odumegwu’s first league goal for Rivers United since he joined.
Shooting Stars had their chances too but were unable to convert them. Junior Ayobami was the standout performer for Shooting Stars as he tormented the home side but could not get a goal for all of his brilliant display.
Rivers coach Stanley Eguma blamed the low scoreline on anxiety of his players in front of goal.
He said, “We lack the scoring edge and I think that my players are now becoming jittery in front of goal most especially when they play at home and this is because the home fans have failed to stand behind them and this is now affecting them. I will like to see a situation where the fans keep supporting, that will motivate the team to do better,”
Eguma maintained that Shooting Stars gave them a good fight and were good on the day.
“Shooting Stars gave us a good fight as they brought their A-game, and because we have been playing week in, week out that kind of affected us and considering the fact that we know each other very well. We found it a little difficult,” Eguma explained.
The coach said they had an underwhelming second half as they were unable to coordinate passes and also lost possession to the visiting side too often.
“I must confess that we lost it in the second half as it was difficult to hold on to possession and our passes were faulty but again Shooting Stars got the better of us, just that they could not score.”
Rivers United have moved up the NPFL table to 13th place with 33 points after playing 25 matches while Shooting Stars remain in 18th position with 27 points from 26 games.