Be Forward Wanderers went top of the TNM Super League log table despite a goalless draw with Silver Strikers at Silver Stadium yesterday in a game that ended up being more physical than entertaining.
Wanderers are tied with Kamuzu Barracks (KB) on 26 points but the Lali Lubani Road outfit have a superior goal difference.
At the jam-packed Silver Stadium, the opening half was more about the teams closing each other down and closing the spaces.
It prevented any thought of either side taking the lead.
The fact that the closest chance was Francis Mlimbika’s free-kick, which Silver goalkeeper Brighton Munthali struggled to save, tells a lot about the team’s approach to the game
The only setback though were injuries, Michael Teteh suffered a head knock and needed bandages to continue playing.
Wanderers defender Harry Nyirenda and goalkeeper Nenani Juwawo were replaced by Dennis Chembezi and William Thole, respectively after sustaining injuries.
The match opened up in the second half with Wanderers having an upper attacking hand.
Their most significant chance was when Babatunde released Vincent Nyangulu but his rushed close range shot flew over the bar.
Silver found it difficult to penetrate the visitors defence with Peter Cholopi, Dennis Chembezi and Mlimbika showing no signs of vulnerability.
It was no coincidence that their best chances in the second half was when Tetteh attempted a long range drive and that trend was continued by teammates.
Wanderers, on the other end, continued to trouble the hosts defence. Mike Roberts made a desperate clearance while goalkeeper Munthali made two brilliant saves from a Babatunde towering header and a close range effort.
Silver’s play was more solid when Hygiene Mwandepeka was introduced later on.
The defender-cum-midfielder should have claimed the lead when his grasscutter needed Thole’s great flexibility to tame it.
On the other end, Wanderers forced Munthali into a double save, and while the goalkeeper was rooted down, Isaac Kaliati attempted a goal-bound shot but Vincent Nyangulu, diverted it off target.
The closing stages saw Silver push for a last minute winner. Striker Khuda Muyaba, Duncan Nyoni and Thuso Paipi made attempts but not enough to change the status.
Wanderers coach Bob Mpinganjira described it as a closed contest that was difficult for his troops to find their rythm that has made them the highest scoring side so far this season.
“In the end, I have to say we are contented with the point from this tough encounter,” he said.
The draw means the Bankers have dropped five points after losing to Blue Eagles last Sunday. Their points tally stands at 19 from 11 games. They are sixth on the table.
Their team manager Itaye Nundwe said it was bothering they are still failing to find their feet.
“We hope to recover from the poor form. We are not far off to start giving up the fight,” he said.