With ONGC losing a player yet again, this time their goalie being the culprit, Arrows cruised to a regulation win...
Pailan Arrows cruised to a 4-1 win over a depleted ONGC FC who were again down to ten men for more than half an hour in the match, as their goalkeeper Prasenjit Ghosh was sent off for bringing down Alwyn George in the penalty box. Deepak Devrani started the scoring for the Arrows in the 10th minute which was followed by Eric Brown scoring the equaliser in the 21st minute. Holicharan Narzary put his side in the lead once again in the 25th minute. Milan Singh scored from the penalty spot in the 57th minute and Alwyn George completed the rout in the 82nd minute.
Arthur Papas elected to give the impressive Tirthankar Sarkar a start this time around. Ravi Kumar was selected as goalkeeper as Sroam Anganba missed out due to an injury.
Subrata Bhattacharya had to make quite a few changes as Katsumi Yusa and Hassan Adeola were suspended, while Jatin Bisht was out due to personal reasons. Ikechukwu Onyema was drafted in to play up front as the lone striker as he elected to start with a 4-5-1 formation with Kunal Ghosh playing as the defensive screen. Sachin Gawas and Surabuddin Mollick provided the firepower on the wings.
The match started impressively for the home team as they looked comfortable on the ball and had to wait only ten minutes for their reward. Tirthankar Sarkar’s corner from the left was horribly misjudged by Prasenjit Ghosh in goal giving Deepak Devrani a free header on goal. He made no mistake and emphatically headed the ball into the empty net.
Ten minutes later, ONGC equalised out of nothing. Eric Brown made a surging run through the heart of the Arrows midfield as the defenders backed off and let loose a speculative effort. Unfortunately for Ravi Kumar in goal, it took a wicked deflection off Shouvik Ghosh and reached the top left corner of the goal, giving him no chance whatsoever.
Sachin Gawas could have made Subrata ecstatic as he was clean through on goal after a Kunal Ghosh directed a free-kick into his path. However the right winger made a hash of the effort as it was too weak to worry Kumar.
The AIFF developmental side hit back almost immediately, taking advantage of their profligacy in front of goal. Holicharan Narzary displayed brilliant skill to collect the ball on the half line before dribbling past Bimal Minz with ease then cutting in and beating Prasenjit Ghosh with a low shot to the left.
At the half-hour mark both teams had an opportunity to score. First Surabuddin Mollick’s driving run into the box could not be finished off as his shot was too weak. On the counter, Narzary once again made the most of Minz's lack of positional sense and pace but his shot was smothered by Prasenjit Ghosh, allowing Rajib Boro to clear the danger.
With two minutes left on the clock before the half-time whistle, both teams wasted chances again. Surabuddin made a driving run into the box down the right this time, but could not find either Ikechukwu Onyema or Sachin Gawas in the box. Then it was Narzary who wasted a golden chance as he shot wide, after beating Sandeep Sangha for pace with only the goalkeeper to beat.
The second half began in good fashion for the home side, as Narzary put Robin Gurung to the sword, as he stole the ball from the ONGC defender, before winning a free-kick on the edge of the box, as he was unfairly hauled down. The ensuing free-kick from the excellent Tirthankar was inches high as Narzary rose to head the ball with gusto.
In the 53rd minute, there were chances at either end. While Surabuddin's measured cross just evaded the away side's Nigerian striker in the box, at the other end Narzary tried to go for the spectacular as he tried to volley in Alwyn's accurate cross from the left wing. He could have easily taken a touch as he was unmarked at the far corner.
Things got worse for ONGC as Milan Singh's through ball found Alwyn who was clean through. The striker darted into the box, taking a deft touch to go past Prasenjit who cynically brought him down after being well beaten. The referee rightly sent him off and awarded a penalty to Arthur Papas' side, which Milan Singh converted with ease beating substitute goalkeeper, Rehnesh TP.
It was due to the bravery of Rehnesh that ONGC did not have to look at a worse scoreline, as the substitute gave a good account of himself, as he came off his line to thwart the successive efforts of Prabir Das and Pritam Kotal.
Pailan custodian Ravi Kumar saved himself from embarrassment in the 73rd minute, as he made a hash of collecting a regulation cross and almost allowed Kailash Patil to pounce. In the following next minute, David Lalrinuamana's effort was saved off the goal-line by skipper Shouvik Ghosh. This was after Ravi Kumar had kept out Patil's first shot.
The AIFF youth team added the icing on the cake in the 82nd minute through Alwyn George. Shaiju Mon broke down the left before drilling in a great cross to the near post which was headed home by Alwyn beating Rehnesh finally from open play.
Pailan Arrows go fifth in the I-League table with this comprehensive victory. Arthur Papas will be delighted with the performance of young winger Tirthankar Sarkar who looked ever so deadly from dead ball situations.
Meanwhile, Subrata Bhattacharya will need to find a way to enforce a semblance of discipline in his side, as this was the third time in the last three matches that his side had to play with ten men.
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