It was their second encounter since the Inter-Ministerial League began on June 8. Failing in two friendly matches and losing 3-1 to GAC in their first match, NHA-Shelters yesterday came back from a goal down in an impressive display to force a draw against LEC-Current at the BTC pitch.
LEC shot ahead midway in the first half with a close shot that beat goalkeeper Philemon Allie. With memories of their past losses fresh in their minds, skipper Tugbeh C. Tugbeh re-organized his men and with players like Robert Cooper, Steven Gbollie, Kobee Weah, George Konneh and Richelieu Nance, who scored the penalty for the equalizer, made nonsense of LEC Current’s attacks and made them look an ordinary side. LEC could not put up their brilliant performance like they did against MYS in their first game at the SKD Complex.
Though NHA’s incessant pressure in the second half exposed the defensive weakness of LEC Current, they could not assume control of the game at the defense to create avenues for their shots to enter their opponents’ goal.
As LEC-Current seemed tired and they could not coordinate well, NHA-Shelters earned series of free-kicks against them but sadly they also could not translate their opportunities into goals. Over-anxiety was their enemy!
The first ball that was kicked away was a close shot by skipper Tugbeh C. Tugbeh, who received a back-heel pass from a team-mate but shot off target. Until then Tugbeh had shown that as an old timer in the game he still enjoys a great deal of knowledge as he used his body to protect the ball to find space to send square passes to his team-mates.
NHA’s goalkeeper Allie gained authority at the defense and as he pushed his men forward, with instructions and good ball control, their opponents crumbled in the midfield and they could only draw attention with individual displays that gave them no clear chances.
In fact, NHA’s players, after LEC’s first goal, did not appear disturbed at all, especially when substitute player Richelieu Nance made his appearance. Nance, an intelligent midfielder, apparently did not know that he was going to write his name on the score-sheet, but when an LEC defender handled the ball in his goal area as his colleagues came under attack, Nance elected himself to take the penalty kick.
When the referee whistled for Nance to take the penalty, he walked smoothly to the ball and struck it so hard that the ball sailed to his left, which was the right side from the goalkeeper’s position. The goalkeeper had anticipated wrongly that the ball was destined to his left which was the right side of Nance. Nance was a great player and he did not show any sense of doubt. And that is why he jumped when his shot entered the opponents’ goal for the equalizer
It was pure hard luck that NHA did not bury LEC in goals; at least we counted four goals that were missed by their opponents. Another problem that was visible in the NHA’s outfit was the lack of several substitute players. In yesterday’s match they had one player, which was Nance. He came from the bench to score the penalty.
NHA and LEC shared the points yesterday and both teams are behind MYS and GAC. With a goal difference of 3, against 2 of LEC, NHA is on the 4th position in the zone. With two matches left in the zone, their chances could improve if they would defeat MYS on June 21 and if any of the teams like GAC and LEC suffer defeat.
The other players that made up the NHA lineup yesterday were Prince Mulbah, Ousman Diallo, Rodden Martin and Kpanyen Doe. The head coach of NHA is Patrick Toe and his assistant is Roland Lloyd.
Meanwhile, in the kickball encounters yesterday, NHA lost to LEC 5-0, MCC defeated MOJ 6-1 and LWSC beat EPA 3-2.