Ikechukwu Ezenwa’s mistake proved costly for Heartland FC as they missed the chance to climb out of relegation waters after a 1-1 stalemate with fellow strugglers FC Ifeanyiubah in Owerri on Thursday.
The Nigerian international failed to deal with a relatively innocuous free kick allowing Chinemerem Igboeli to head into an empty net to draw the visitors level with four minutes left on the clock.
Emmanuel Adachi had given the Naze Millionaires a 31st minute lead from a penalty awarded for a handball in the box.
But with the home side seemingly set for a third victory at home which would have seen them leapfrog the visitors and exit the relegation zone, the away side were gifted an equaliser that stay in front of Heartland on the log.
The draw meant FC Ifeanyiubah have gone two games without defeat for the first time this season following last weekend’s 1-0 home win over Jigawa Golden Stars. They stay one point off Heartland in 17th place with eight points after eight games.
Elsewhere, Katsina United ended a four-game goal drought as they denied Rivers United a chance to reclaim top spot with a 2-1 victory.
Faisal Sani’s exquisitely struck free kick and a Boubacar Massaly strike gave Katsina United a 2-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes. Malachy Ohawume pulled one back for the visitors in the 83rd minute but the home side held on for a first win in five games.
The defeat keeps Rivers United in second place with 15 points, three off leaders Enyimba while Katsina United move up to 15th on 10 points.