Subrata Paul, DSK Shivajians' number one, will not have awoken to coach Dave Rogers' pleasantries today morning.
The former Mohun Bagan 'keeper was at the receving end of a verbal dressing down by the man in charge of the Pune-based side, as his 93rd minute error of judgement cost the Maharashtra side a vital point.
Shillong Lajong and the Shivajians were involved in a tremendous battle at the Shree Chhatrapati Balewadi Sports Complex, in Pune on Saturday 8th April. The Kulkarni group owned team had staged a comeback from being two goals down to draw level with the visitors and were clearly the team with the upper hand right up until the dying embers of the match.
A Samuel Shadap cross from the right set the cat amongst the pigeons in Paul's conscience, with the Bengal-born goalkeeper opting to rush off his line and pluck what was a very difficult ball, than leave it to his defense to clear. What happened however, was sheer calamity, as Paul missed the ball and Redeem Tlang converted into an empty net,with sheer joy, to hand the Thangboi Singto-coached team all three points.
After the goal, the 30 year-old was seen clutching the post in embarrassment and mellow, while the entire DSK Shivajians coach staff were found looking in his direction with their arms raised, to question what exactly Paul thought he was doing.
And Rogers, who kept a cool exterior in the post match press conference, was fuming inside as to how callow decision making from their 'keeper was allowed to run the rule over their performance.
"Individual mistakes have cost us games and the guy who has cost us the game today has done it for the third time - Subrata Paul. I have told him straight that this is neither good enough nor acceptable," censured a miffed Rogers.
He further added, alluding to what he believed was Paul's immature moments in the gloves, "He should do better - he is more experienced than anybody out there. So, I don't know why he gets this rush of blood in his head. Basic silly mistakes have cost us all season."
The 41 year-old British coach, opined his team showed splendid guts of steel to overturn a daunting predicament on the scoreline, but lamented Paul's inability to grasp the nature of the situation.
"I cannot fault my players for the attitude and the application and the characteristics after being two-nil down. It's another game that we have dominated. We hit the crossbar twice and had many opportunities, but if you make mistakes like that, you don't deserve to win games of football and Subrata Paul knows better," he explained.
It wasn't just Paul who was in the eye of Rogers' storm. Juan Quero was substituted in the 55th minute, and the former Liverpool academy coach believes it was a distinct dropping of performance levels that forced his hand to replace their spanish play-maker with Pranjal Bhumij.
"I replaced Quero because he wasn't doing good in the second half. Quero is a fantastic player but no player, no coach is bigger than the club. The tactical change worked. The two young boys came in and it gave us more energy and balance," he surmised.
The Liverpool-born coach refused to shield 'Spiderman' from further criticism, stating, "Subrata is big enough to take it on the chin and he will move on. I will defend my players as much as I can, but I won't defend that mistake from Subrata which he has done for the third time now. (The) 94th minute against Bengaluru, we lose two points; 93rd minute against Shillong Lajong, we lose another three points. He also cost us three points against Mohun Bagan (away).
"Keepers and outfield players make mistakes, but I've told him (Subrata) and he knows it - that it's unacceptable to make the same mistakes and expect to win games," concluded Rogers, on his whittling down of the custodian.