Second half Central Railways comeback stuns Great Mother SC

Central Railways made a second half comeback thanks to Rashid Shaikh’s brace to floor GMSC 2-1 in the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) Elite Division opener at Cooperage on Monday, 14th September 2015.

Karim Shaikh who ripped into the GMSC defense, netting a hat-trick in the coressponding fixture last season started the game on the bench for the Railways outfit due to illness.

His absence was evident during the game as Central Railways struggled to string together any kind of moves, which allowed GMSC to grab the initiative in the game.

GMSC’s Himanshu Patil missed a good chance to put his side in front in the 16th minute, when he headed over from Steve N’Cho’s cross after the latter did extremely well to create the space for a cross

Central Railways had a great chance to grab the lead against the run of play when Manoj Yadav’s tame cross across the face of the goal was comfortably collected by the GMSC goalkeeper Utsav Gandhi. It was a weak effort by Manoj Yadav after he had plenty of time to pick out Rashid Shaikh in completely free inside the six yard area.

GMSC were getting plenty of joy down Central Railways’ left side and they nearly opened them up when Mario Fernandes slid in a clever pass to release Himanshu Patil in the 29th minute but Patil’s touch let him down allowing goalkeeper Harshad Meher to close down the angle and make a save.

Unfortunately, he got injured in the process and had to be replaced by Pradeep Kumar in the 32nd minute.

GMSC continued to put pressure on the Central Railways defense which eventually made a mistake when Arun E.K fouled Abdul Geue in the box as the referee rightly pointed to the spot.

Steve N’Cho the top scorer of the recently concluded IFS League stepped and dispatched the spot kick into the bottom corner in the 45th minute and sent GMSC with into half time with a deserved lead.

The second half started with GMSC again on the front foot and they very nearly doubled the lead when Abdul Gueu was unfortunate to see his header off a Sushil Kawde cross sail centimetres wide of the angle of the woodwork.

GMSC’s star recruit Alex Ambrose entered the fray on the hour mark to further add to the worries of the Central Railways defense, but it was the Railway outfit who equalized in the 65th minute after a comedy of errors in the GMSC defense as Rashid Shaikh was there at the right place at the right time to convert when a rebounde from a rushed clearance from Vikas Narkar fell kindly to him.

The equalizer changed the course of the game as Central Railways had a spring in the step, thus adding a lot more purpose to their play which was lacking in the first half.

To make the momentum count Central Railways coach Khanolkar threw talismanic striker Karim Shaikh on with ten minutes to play and he should have made an instant impact only for the striker to make a bad touch allowing the chance to go away.

But Central Railways completed a great turnaround in the 82nd minute when a sublime cross from Shafique was tapped home by Rashid Shaikh to complete his brace and stun GMSC.

GMSC though responded well to going behind and stepped up their attacks, but failed to produce a killer ball to open up the determined Central Railways outfot who held on for a memorable win.

The match was a great testimony to value of momentum in games after GMSC let slip a game away which was firmly in their grasp till the equalizer.

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