Sachin Gawas cancels out Nadong Bhutia's early strike as wait for Nathan Hall's first win goes on...
Santosh Kashyap made a couple of changes as Kailash Patil and Jatin Bisht were handed a start while the away side saw four new faces come into their starting line-up as Yoon Tae, Anwar Ali, Munmun Lugun and Nima Tamang made their way in.
Nathan Hall was still looking for his first win as United Sikkim boss and it was the visitors who started the better of the two sides and were duly rewarded when Nadong Bhutia put them ahead within the first quarter of the game.
Nima Tamang did all the good work as he sprinted down the right flank and floated in a lovely cross into the box, which was met by an unmarked Bhutia who gratefully nodded it into the far corner. It seemed the goal was just the wake-up call that ONGC needed as they started to press in search of an equaliser.
They did not have to wait too long as Sachin Gawas evened up matters on 24 minutes. It was last match’s hero Katsumi Yusa who was at it again as he made a typically penetrative run into the box before passing the ball to Gawas who made no mistake from 10 yards out.
After the frantic start the match settled down and goal mouth opportunities were few and far between for both sides. ONGC’s Hassan Odeola received the contest’s first caution just before the break.
In the second half both coaches tried to impact the game with quite a few substitutions, in an attempt to snatch all three points and the game would have seen more goals but for the outstanding displays from both goalkeepers.
First ONGC shot-stopper Rehensh TP palmed away a powerful Bhutia shot and moments later, at the other end Yoon Tae in the United Sikkim goal cleverly narrowed the angle for Eric Brown as the in-form midfielder was nearly through on goal. As the game headed towards the final whistle both keepers stood tall once again pulling of crucial saves to make sure that the points had to be split.
With the result, Santosh Kashyap’s men fail to build on their promising win last week and they are in 11th spot with 13 points. Meanwhile, the wait for Nathan Hall’s first win goes on as United Sikkim remain second from bottom with 9 points.
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