Churchill Brothers FC received a set back to their quest of staking a claim to stay in contention of I-League title when they played a 1-1 draw against Kolkota outfit Mohun Bagan in almost a lack lustre affair played at Tilak maidan,Vasco on Saturday.
The opening goal came in the form of Cameroon striker Dicka from Mohun Bagan who put his team ahead in the 39th minute. Anthony Wolfe made it equal for Churchill Brothers in the 78th minute.
After Mohun Bagan initiated two dangerous forays in the 3rd and 4th minute of play with striker Dica and attacking medio Soni Norde failing to find the mark from close distance, Churchill Brothers almost found the mark when a direct free kick taken by defender Hussein Eldor hit the horizontal and came back into play in the 17th minute.
Churchill’s medio Richard Costa who was brought down by a Bagan defender which resulted in the direct free kick that gave a real scare to Mohun Bagan; he had to be substituted after sustaining an injury with young Aniston Fernandes taking his place.
Defender Eldor too sustained an injury and Rowilson Rodrigues came in by the time the match was twenty minutes old. Pressure began to mount on Churchill Brothers who somehow managed to quell the not so dangerous looking moves of Mohun Bagan outfit.
Going into the match in a must win situation, Churchill Brothers seemed to be under pressure but they refused to blink and went in search of a goal with their scoring machine Willis Plaza trying his tricks to outwit the rival defenders. Plaza who was well marked by two to three Mohan Bagan defenders made the rivals dance to his tune with fine body feints but could not get his act together to unleash a clear shot at the goal.
For a while the match was confined to midfield play even as there were sudden forays and counter forays which came to naught due to some fine defending on either side.
Churchill Brothers citadel fell in the 39th minute of play when a clever header by Ugandan forward Henry Kisekka left Churchill Brothers stranded and as the ball travelled towards the right flank, Churchill’s right back Rowilson Rodrigues remained a mere spectator and failed to challenge Dica who raced down the flank and placed the ball to the far end of the nets to beat Baskaran under the bar.
Churchill fought back hard in the second session with Willis Plaza seen squeezing inside the rival defence but everytime he made attempts to break through he was somehow prevented from scoring.
Their forays were few and in between and with the midfield failing to move in cohesion with each other, there were hardly any moves that could seriously threaten the Mohun Bagan rearguard which looked quite tough to crack.
So was the case with the Mohun Bagan team who appeared to be content by scoring their only goal which happened mainly as defender Rowilson Rodrigues made no attempt to tackle Dicka who bulged the nets.
Churchill Brothers levelled the score through a penalty kick in the 78th minute of play. Substitute striker Anthony Wolfe who came in place of Chesterpoul Lyngdoh was brought down by Mohun Bagan’s Nigerian defender Kingsley Eze inside the six yard box and referee M Joseph Arokia had no hesitation to point to the dreaded spot from where Wolfe banged the ball to bring parity.
Churchill Brothers who had the onerous task of winning this match to stay in contention tried their level best to get full points but in vain, despite their best efforts.
With this drawn encounter Churchill Brothers have collected 30 points in 17 matches and stay on 3rd position while Mohun Bagan too remain 6th with 23 points in 16 matches. Chennai City FC are presently on the top of the table with 33 points in 15 matches while Real Kashmir FC are on the 2nd position with 32 points in 16 matches.