Nzoia Sugar FC were on Wednesday 15th, 1-0 winners over Gor Mahia FC in a midweek Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match staged at the Mumias Sports Complex from 3 pm Kenyan time.
A first-half free-kick from Hansel Ochieng was all the sugar millers needed to dispatch the visiting table leaders and hand them only their fourth loss of the season.
Ochieng, upfront for the hosts, could have given his side the lead in the 5th minute but saw his shot fail to trouble Frederick Odhiambo in goal for Gor.
Three minutes after Ochieng’s attempt, Mustapha Francis would latch onto a Boniface Omondi cross but this too would go wide as the teams sought to test the goalkeepers.
Erisa Ssekisambu had had a slow start to the match but would find the target in the 22nd minute. His header though, having beaten Humphrey Katasi, would be ruled for offside by the second assistant referee.
Hansel Ochieng- on a second invitation, made no mistakes from a 33rd-minute free-kick as he powered it into the top left corner, Odhiambo in goal well beaten.
Ssekisambu would show up again in the 42nd minute after some neat interchange with Bernard Ondiek and Mustapha but put in a little too much power in his attempt.
Nzoia led at half time.
The second half began with two changes for the visitors. Mustapha Francis paved way for Jacques Tuyisenge while Ondiek was rested in favor of former Nzoia man Lawrence Juma. Coach Godfrey Oduor, on the other hand, made only one change, pulling out James Kibande for Arot Robert.
Tuyisenge’s 60th minute header didn’t find the target despite the Rwandese International’s swift rising up to meet Erisa’s cross.
Seeing no breakthrough yet, coach Hassan Oktay threw in his last card as Samuel Onyango took the place of George Odhiambo in the 62nd minute.
Nzoia were, however, the side to find the back of the net for the second time- this time, Patrick Otieno arrived on time for a Robert cross and seeing his effort at the back of the net, also noticed the second assistant’s flag up for offside.
The sugar millers held on to win 1-0 at the expense of the defending champions who now head into the Mashemeji Derby on the brink on their 18th league title.
The win takes Nzoia to 12th on the log from 30 matches while Gor stay top of the division on 66 points, ten adrift of second place Sofapaka. Only four matches remain to close the season.