Nigerian Women and Cup holders, Rivers Angels, FC of Port Harcourt were beaten 2-1 by Bayelsa Queens in a friendly game at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt last week.
The game was used as test for both dies who were drawn in separate groups of the upcoming Nigeria Women league season which kicks off tomorrow in an abridged format.
Fringe stars such as Mabel Effiom, Peace Obioma, Uju Joseph, Emenike Ijeoma, Obi Ijeoma and NWPL topscorer last season Amarachi Orjinma were given the nod to show their worth in the absence of 10 key players who are on national duty with the Super Falcons.
In the 7th minute, former Pelican forward, Orjinma fired her team’s first real attempt over the bar.
River Angels however went behind soon after as they conceded a free kick in the 21st minute when new recruit, Effiom brought down Uzoamaka Igwe on the edge of the 18 yard box.
Igwe dusted herself up and converted the kick from an acute angle directly into the net, leaving goalkeeper Charity John with no chance.
Three minutes later, Effiom put the host, level after being awarded a free kick few meters from the 18 yard box.
The remaining part of the first half ended with not many clear cut chances created.
The second half started with the visitors acting like a house on fire with most of the action played in Rivers Angels half.
Bayelsa Queens enjoyed the larger part of the possession, dominating play, and having the highest completed passes in the game.
Charity John who was in goal for Rivers Angels, had her hands full making three saves from Edeji Chidinma, Esther Udegbe and Rafiat Sule who all combined well on different occasions to terrorise a porous Rivers Angels defense.
Orjinma yet again found her shot roll over the bar in 63rd minute but Flamingoes star Cynthia Aku made better use of her chance but was saved by Favour Nwaaha in goal for Bayelsa Queens.
In the 71st minute, another Flamingoes star, Joy Bokiri linked up well with Rafiat Sule, who slotted home the winner for Bayelsa Queens.
Two minutes later, Mabel Effiom almost got the equaliser for the League champions but was stopped by Favour Nwaaha.
With eight minutes to regulation time, the visitors still proved unstoppable creating chances and winning a free kick which was taken by Lucky Odiri but Charity John was alert to avoid another goal into the back of her net.
Despite the win against Rivers Angels, Bayelsa Queens coach, Rolandson Odeh said he still has a lot of work to do before the league kicks off on Saturday.
“It has been able to expose a lot of lapses and i was thinking i was ready for the league but based on what have seen today i have less than 24 hours to correct the mistakes i have seen here so to me it is still work in progress, said Odeh.”
Odeh added, it’s a friendly game not all teams would have come with their talented players and coupled with the fact that Rivers Angels are the household name of women football in Nigeria but it was a good game.
On his part, assistant coach of Rivers Angels, Whyte Ogbonda attributed the loss to the absence of his key players who are on national duty with the Super Falcons.
“Despite losing to Bayelsa Queens in this match we all know it is a friendly match but it is preparatory match to our league match which kicks off this weekend. Most of our players are not available to us at the moment. We just managed to use what we have to execute this match but all the same we think the players at home will be able to execute the league match pending when the rest of the team will return to Port Harcourt, Ogbonda explained.”