Vandrezzer FC produced a spirited performance to beat Nilayo FC 1-0 on matchday two of the Nigeria National League (NNL).
Stand-in captain Lolo Christopher scored the winner from the spot to secure a first league win for the Lions of Naija, and move them to third spot in Group B1.
There was a shakeup in the Vandrezzer FC Xi as midfielder Alberico Silva was withdrawn from the matchday squad due to last minute reported illness.
In attack, new signing Okon Otop started with Michael Ipaye, as Ivo Junior and Golden Udo-Inyang didn't make the matchday squad.
It was an entertaining first-half as two penalties were awarded in the space of 10 minutes.
Centre referee Ajayi Adekunle awarded a penalty in the second minutes after VFC defender Jamiu Suleiman was upended in the box by goalkeeper Ikenna Benjamin.
Lolo stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way as VFC quickly asserted their dominance in the first five minutes.
Fully aware they needed to get back into the game, Nilayo FC upped their tempo after conceding. Attacker Muri Batuli struck the upright before James Ekwebiuka was brought down by VFC goalkeeper Edwin Nwakamma in the 10th minute.
Popoola Kabiru couldn't restore parity for the away side as he crashed his effort against the crossbar.
The missed penalty didn't deter the away side as they kept searching for the equalizer, but couldn't breach the defensive barricade of VFC as the first-half ended 1-0 in favour of the Lions of Naija.
VFC's dominance of possession and territory translated to a number of early corners after the break, but no clear openings - even though Udom Ekerette tested the goalkeeper with a header.
The first attack of note in the second-half was created by Nilayo FC midfielder Muri Batuli, who crafted a shooting chance for Kabiru Osoba, but the substitute blasted wide.
Despite the pressure, we defended our slim lead effectively, and a gritty display when it mattered ensured we secured the three points.
What it means
With the victory, VFC move to third in Group B1 of the Southern Conference, which also sees them extend their unbeaten streak to six games in their new home (four pre-season games and two in the NNL). Shooting Stars of Ibadan top the group, while Go Round FC of Omoku who are level on points with VFC but with superior goals difference, are 2nd.
VFC will confront Nnewi United on matchday 3 as they look to continue their climb up the table.
Winger Amos Okoro made some good darting runs and tested the goalkeeper in the first-half, while wing-back David Mark also posed an attacking threat with his overlapping runs and set-plays.
For goalkeeper Nwakamma, he made amends after conceding a penalty by keeping his second successive clean sheet in the NNL.
Did you know?
3 players (Michael Ipaye, Okon Otop and Rasaq Noah) made their competitive debuts for VFC in this game.
What the coaches said
"I'm happy with the three points, but we still have a lot of work to do. We have to brush things up before our next game." - VFC Acting Head coach, Alfred Madaki.
"Over confidence and some illl luck affected the boys. You can see we would've scored up to three goals in this game. It's sad but me must move on." - Sunday Olusoji, Nilayo Head Coach.
Vandrezzer 1-0 Nilayo FC
Goal Attempts: 7-10
Shots on Target: 5-6
Shots off Target: 2-4
Yellow Cards: 2-2
Corner kicks: 5-2
Vandrezzer Xi and subs
Edwin Nwakamma (GK), Godwin Ekpo, David Mark, Jamiu Suleuman, Udom Ekerette; Nelson Michael (Radaq Noah 47' - Paderson Ajong 90''), Lolo Christopher (C), Lawrence Effiong, Amos Okoro, Michael Ipaye (Daniel Kolawole 82'), Okon Otop.
Nilayo FC subs and XI
Ikenna Benjamin (GK), Lekan Ismail (Segun Adekunle 67'), Isaac Paul, Ishola Rasaq, Banji Oketola (Lekan Abdulsalam 89'), Kabiru Popoola, Henry Ndedi, Oluwaseun Aremu, Muri Batuli, James Ekwebiuka, Brown Ekufre Abasi (Kabiru Osoba 48')
Rasaq Noah and Edwin Nwakamma (VFC); Henry Ndedi and Oketola Olabanji (Nilayo FC)
Scorers: Lolo 6'
Vandrezzer FC...won't walk that road without you!