The hosts rode on Dipanda Dicka’s lone goal to garner the three crucial points…
Dipanda Dicka’s solitary goal in the 51st minute gave Shillong Lajong their fourth home win of the season as the hosts beat Churchill Brothers FC Goa 1-0 in the seventh round Hero I-League match at the JLN Stadium in Shillong to go fourth in the standings for the first time in three seasons.
Dicka struck in the 51st minute taking his tally to six goals this season and also ensuring that the Reds register their first ever victory over Churchill at home.
For Churchill Liberian striker Kromah looked dangerous on a few occasions but was unable to get a breakthrough.
The victory, fourth in a row, takes Lajong to 12 points from 7 games with one more home to go against DSK Shivajians before they embark on the away matches once again. Churchill, meanwhile remain at 5 points and have a lot of catching up to do in the coming matches.
Earlier, the crowd swelled to over 10000 at the JN Stadium for the first time this season as Lajong braced up for the Goan challenge. The hosts started on a confident note dominating possession early on but Churchill too were in no mood to hand an early advantage to their opponents.
The visitors got their first real chance in the 16th minute when Anthony Wolfe cleared Nim Tamang with ease upfront after receiving a long ball. But the Trinidad and Tobago striker’s shot went over the bar, much to the dismay of coach Alfred Fernandes.
In the minutes to follow, Kromah looked dangerous at the front at least on two occasions but the lack of support spoiled his raids.
Post the half hour mark, Lajong once again secured firm control of the proceedings even as Churchill were pushed to the back foot.
Dicka had a golden opportunity to convert in the 44th minute when Issac delivered a perfect cross inside but the off balanced Cameroonian slammed the ball wide and way over from close range.
Barely four minutes into the second half Kromah squandered a golden chance to convert when after breezing out into the clear from the midfield he could not pierce the lonely Vishal Kaith at the goalmouth. Vishal made a desperate dive on the right to deflect the ball out of danger.
Three minutes later it was Lajong’s turn to stamp their authority and it was the in-form Dicka who stepped in to make the difference. Dicka slammed the ball into the back of the nets from inside after rival custodian Priyant Singh fumbled the ball. Singh almost grabbed the ball twice but a late fumble gave Dicka the chance to have a shot at the wide open target.
Thereafter a buoyed Lajong side made a mess of two possible chances with Rupert Nongrum found wanting on both occasions.
The hosts had their share of luck too. In the 68th minute, a Anthony Wolfe header which was smashed to the ground bounced over the crossbar missing the nets by a whisker.
Nevertheless, It was yet another comprehensive win for the Reds at home.