Douglas Nkrumah gave Asante Kotoko a vital 1-0 away win to make it double over Gamba All Blacks and move within four points of leaders, Accra Hearts of Oak, in their 26th week fixture of the Onetouch Premier League at the Swedru Stadium yesterday.
It was a sad day for All Blacks who could have, at least, secured a draw after trading some exciting football before a packed stadium. However, marksman Bismark Aidan's 85th minute blazing header from a swift corner kick hit beneath the crossbar.
Nkrumah scored barely 26 minutes into the game after his earlier scissor kick which entered All Blacks' net was ruled offside by Referee Cecil Fletcher of Takoradi.
Nkrumah benefited from an umblemished Emmanuel Osei Kuffour's incisive pass, rounded up his marker and slotted the ball past jittery goalkeeper Isaac Akrong.
In fact, it was a day Nkrumah could have scored a hat-trick if he had kept his cool. Once he saw his glancing header fly over the cross bar in the 72nd minute, while goalkeeper Akrong denied him a goal a minute later.
All Blacks threatened occasionally as Richard Mpong tore the Kotoko defence into shreds but his colleagues failed to score.
Kotoko were consigned to their own half after recess with some intermittent threatening moves as Kuffour and returnee Stephen Oduro showed class.
Good old Willie Brown of Black Starlets 1991 fame unleashed one of his trademark thunderbolts which caught Kotoko's goalkeeper Eric Nii Baah off guard but sailed over the cross bar.
Aidan, who was to give All Blacks a lifeline, failed his team when he was shown the red card after whacking down Kotoko's stalwart defender, Isaac Vorsah, from behind for a second bookable offence.
"The title is still within reach," Coach Bashir Hayford bragged after hearing that their bitterest rivals, Hearts, had drawn one-all with King Faisal.
Story by Daniel Kenu
& Jonathan Brainoo