Emeka Atuloma netted the winner for Heartland as they overcame a resilient Adamawa United side in the final game of the halfway stage of the 2020-21 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.
Adamawa United made the trip to the East looking for their first three points on the road this season but were always going to face a complicated task against their hosts.
The Yola club showed character and courage but in the end, goals from Samuel Noshiri and Emeka Atuloma made Emmanuel Ogbuagu’s goal for Adamawa United to be a mere consolation.
Kelechi Chimezie attempted an ambitious effort in the opening 10 minutes but his long range strike did not trouble Friday Achimugwu in the Adamawa United goal.
Heartland’s appeal for a goal in the 19th minute fell on deaf ears as Samuel Noshiri’s strike was deemed not to have crossed the line by the referee and six minutes later, Nigerian international Ikechukwu Ezenwa made a good save to keep out Etete Okon’s shot from finding the back of the net.
Heartland netted the opener on 35 minutes as Samuel Noshiri scored from the spot to give the ‘Naze Millionaires’ the lead and they could have doubled their tally just before halftime but Bright Onyedikachi’s shot bounced off the bar.
Samuel Noshiri looked the most dangerous Heartland player in the first half and he continued to put on a show in the second half but his strike came off the post in the 48th minute.
Adamawa United drew level in the 51st minute as Emmanuel Ogbuagu leaped for the heavens to power in a header from Felix Kenan’s set piece.
Ogbuagu’s goal was United’s first away goal this season after 860 minutes with any but their expectations for an away point was shattered soon after.
Emeka Atuloma curled in a brilliant free kick past Friday Achimugwu to restore Heartland’s lead and help the Owerri club leave with the maximum points.
Heartland increased their points tally to 26 and climbed to 11th following the win and Adamawa United remain rooted to the bottom of the log after the loss.