Mathare United inched closer to safety as they laboured to an invaluable 1-0 win over visiting Nzoia United at the Kasarani Stadium on Sunday.
Samwel Olwande scored the all-important goal from the spot to lift Francis Kimanzi’s men above Thika United into 15th place on 35 points.
Thika can draw level should they win against holders Tusker FC with the two still in danger of getting sucked into the relegation zone where Western Stima and Muhoroni Youth are fighting for their lives.
The hosts started on a higher tempo, pushing for an early breakthrough.
Their pressure paid off as the visitors conceded a 12th minute penalty. Festus Okiring was guilty of committing the foul inside the box, striking Cliff Nyakeya with an elbow as the two contested for a 50-50 ball.
The right back was yellow carded for the offence and Samwel Olwande stepped up to convert the spotkick.
The hosts continued to pile the pressure with Nzoia struggling to settle into the match.
Coach Francis Kimanzi’s men forced Nzoia into conceding a foul just outside the area but Edward Seda’s resultant free-kick was headed clear.
The visitors finally created their first chance with Stephen Wakanya slipping a through ball for Lawrence Juma who got a neat first touch but shot with his weaker left foot. That effort was always rising.
The Nzoia defence was breached again with the chance falling to Chris Ochieng whose shot from a one-on-one situation was saved by keeper Benson Mangala. It wouldn’t have counted anyway as the linesman flagged him offside.
Okiring later on found some space to size a shot but the hosts threw bodies at his effort for the block.
The same player, desperate to atone for his costly mistake, burst forward again and made a successful dummy to beat Lennox Ogutu but his finesse sailed only inches above the bar at the half-hour mark.
Luke Namanda had a penalty appeal turned down after he was hacked down inside the area and was later presented with a chance to level from open play.
With their win, Mathare are now above Thika United, whoa re 16th placed on 32 points, Western Stima(31) and Muhoroni Youth 25 points.