Machakos — Daniel Otieno stepped off the bench to glance in a header with three minutes left as Mathare United broke Gor Mahia's 100pc start to the season with a slim 1-0 victory at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Wednesday.
The game seemingly was headed for a 0-0 draw after a wasteful afternoon by both sides, but off a Kevin Kimani corner, the substitute rose highest inside the box to plant a header beyond keeper David Mapigano to hand Mathare victory.
With the Mashemeji Derby in sight on Sunday, Gor head coach Steve Polack had made some changes to his squad. Fullbacks Wellington Ochieng and Geoffrey Ochieng were both rested with youngster Lloyd Khavuchi handed his debut on the left while Joachim Oluoch played on the right.
Tobias Otieno was also rested in midfield and in his place, Ernest Wendo earned a starting role. Clifton Miheso and Francis Afriyie also earned starting slots with Nicholas Kipkurui and Gnamin Yikpe rested.
Gor were sluggish and took a lot of time to settle in the game. But ultimately when they did so, they came close with Ghanaian Afriyie having three chances to break the deadlock in the final five minutes of the game.
In the 41st minute, he picked up the ball on the right but his shot went wide. Minutes later, he had the ball in similar territory, but his rasping effort after the Mathare backline failed to clear their lines hit the side netting.
Two minutes later, he had an effort cleared off the line by David Owino after he took the second bite on the cherry with a shot from the left when his initial attempt was blocked by a combination of keeper Job Ochieng and defender Andrew Juma.
Surprisingly, left back Owino had Mathare's closest chances in the opening half and the slum boys will only blame themselves for failing to have the ball in the net.
On the half hour mark, Owino was denied by a brilliant one handed save by Mapigano when Chris Oduor's cut back found him placed on the edge of the six yard box.
Three minutes earlier, he had another great chance when his low effort from inside the area after Mapigano had punched a cross his way went inches wide off target.
Salim Ali's men had an even greater chance in the 11th minute.
Gor keeper Mapigano was down on his bum after failing to convincingly clear away a cross and the ball fell brilliantly on Oduor's feet. He however could not hit the target with his attempted chip arrowing straight to Joachim Oluoch's head.
Afriyie continued his goal poaching in the second half and on the hour mark had a glorious opportunity when picked out by a Kenneth Muguna cross from the right but his touch was just over.
Mathare thought they had broken the deadlock in the 66th minute when James Kinyanjui headed in but the first assistant referee's flag was up for offside on David Owino who had swung in the cross from the left.
On the other end, Miheso had a chance to score when an onrushing Andrew Juma missed his tackle. However, the winger's effort at chipping the ball over the advancing keeper lazily was awry as it flew straight into the custodian's arms.
It was Mathare who would take the game to Gor in the final five minutes and the pressure bore fruit with three minutes left off Otieno's header.