|Doreen Mwende (R) in action|
A Roy of the Rovers performance from Doreen Mwende steered Embu Select XI to a comfortable 4-1 win over Meru South in the COPA Coca-Cola Lower Eastern inter-sub-branch matches played at Kibugua Stadium, Embu.
The witty striker hit a sublime hat-trick within the opening quarter hour and Caroline Nkirote scored the other as Peninah Gatoto scored the consolation goal for the visitors.
Meru were the quickest off the blocks and could have gone ahead just two minutes after kick off but Peninah blasted high.
The missed chance proved costly as barely two minutes later, Mwende collected a loose ball from just outside the area before unleashing a ferocious drive that went straight into the back of the net to put her team ahead. The lead lasted only two minutes though as Peninah made amends for her earlier miss by tapping in an inviting cross from the left channel to draw the teams level.
But that’s as far as good fortunes went for Meru as their hosts, and especially Mwende, took charge. The hardworking striker pulled her team right back ahead on the 10th minute, letting loose a speculative long range effort that Meru keeper made a meal of.
Backed by a vociferous home support, Embu were looking more like the finished article and they made it 3-1 in the 13th minute. After coming second best in a one-on-one situation with Meru custodian Damaris Murugi, Caroline Nkirote made no mistake a minute later as she opened her account with a tap in from five yards.
But it was the swift and agile Mwende who put the result of the game beyond doubt. The Embu No. 10 completed her deserved hat-trick 8 minutes before the interval rifling in a free-kick from 30 yards that beat everyone including Meru keeper Susan Wanjiru. The half finished 4-1 in favour of Embu.
Meru South coaching bench were clearly not amused by the team’s performance and rung changes at the half time break including hauling off custodian Susan who conceded all but one of all the shots she faced in the first half.
The second half was more balanced with new keeper Damaris Murugi providing a safer hand in goal for the visitors. Harriet Gakii had the best chance to score late into the second half but Murugi ensured she finished the match with a clean sheet, a feat that saw her included among the 16 players selected to advance to the inter-branch levels.
Other players selected from the sub-branch included hat-trick hero Doreen, goal-scorers Gatoto and Nkirote as well as Embu keeper Agnes Karegi and her Meru counterpart Damaris Murugi. Virginia Nduta, Anne Wakio, Rachel Makena, Linet Nyakio, Cecilia Muthoni, Jerusha Gacheri, Charity Muthoni, Christine Nkatha, Franciline Wawera, Janet Mukami and Rosemary Mbathe completed the best 16 from the sub-branch.
In the boys’ encounter, hosts Embu also thrashed Meru 4-1 with goals from Simon Nderitu, Kevin Gitonga, Florent Kitili and Steven Njiru. Hassan Mugambi scored the consolation goal for Meru.
Meanwhile in Central Rift inter-sub-branch games, Baringo were the in-form team as they won 2-0 against Koibatek before sharing a barren draw with Nakuru. Nakuru beat Naivasha 3-1 with the latter hitting Koibatek 3-2 as Baringo and Nakuru drew 0-0 in matches played at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru.
In the girls’ matches, Naivasha thrashed Koibatek 4-0 before drawing 0-0 with Nakuru as Baringo handed Koibatek their second straight loss in a 1-0 victory. Nakuru and Naivasha could not breach each other’s backline when they faced off. Baringo lost 1-0 to Nakuru in the last match.
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