In what will serve as a huge sense of relief, Real Kashmir FC got back to winning ways by registering a thoroughly professional 2-0 victory over All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) developmental side Indian Arrows at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Sunday, January 26.
Mason Robertson’s neat header in the 18th minute put the visitors in the driving seat before Gnohere Krizo converted a penalty in the 57th minute to wrap up the three points.
Both sides came into the fixture on the back of defeats and in a bid to snap out of the downward spiral that they find themselves in, both coaches made three changes apiece.
Indian Arrows head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh reinstated goalkeeper Samik Mitra to his XI ahead of Biaka Jongte, while Manvir Singh and Nikhil Raj slotted in, ahead of Aman Chetri and Harmanpreet Singh.
David Robertson continued to trust his backline but made three changes up front. Aaron Katebe, Ritwik Kumar Das and Brian Mascarenhas replaced Kallum Higginbotham, Danish Farooq and Arshpreet Singh.
Coach Venkatesh’s young cavalry got their first opportunity in the 11th minute when Manvir Singh tried his luck from distance only to see the ball going out of bounds. Mason Robertson broke the deadlock against the run of play when he leapt above his marker to convert a looping cross from Brian Mascarenhas in the 18th minute.
In the 40th minute, the Indian Arrows survived another scare when Gnohere Krizo brushed aside two defenders with some finesse, leaving Hendry Antonay and R Hormipam at bay before pulling the trigger but his attempt agonisingly hit the woodwork as Real Kashmir FC settled for a solitary goal advantage going into the break.
After the breather, Ayush Adhikari had a crack at goal from about 30 yards in the 50th-minute but a Phurba Lachenpa was alert to the danger and produced a fingertip save, much to his defence’s relief.
David Robertson’s side was awarded a penalty in the 57th minute after Bikash Yumnam was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box. Gnohere Krizo stepped up and made no mistake from twelve yards to double the advantage.
A Givson Singh free-kick in the 80th minute was the closest the young Arrows got to pulling one back, but the Snow Leopards held on to end their three-match winless run. The Srinagar outfit climb to seventh in the I-League table, having nine points to show for it while the Indian Arrows still remain rooted to the bottom.
Mason Robertson walked away with the Hero of the Match award.