Nimba United FCs’ striker Sunnyboy Dolo played a master game and gave his team the needed victory in their league clash against Barrack Young Controllers, BYC ll, at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium yesterday.
But it was a victory won the hard way, which should not have been, if the soccer mountaineers’ front-men had reassessed their partnership well and coordinated to complement each other outside their opponents’ 18 yard zone.
As Dolo worked along with Papie Johnson, Paul Reeves, Franklin Mulbah, George Allison and later substitute Patrick Singboh, their coordination was suspect and several chances were sadly wasted.
Though BYC ll appeared a determined unit, very often dancing the ball as it moved from player to player, their midfield under the control of Abubakar Dunnor could only push their opponents around without serious attempt to score.
But it was Nimba United FC that proved a bit more aggressive. They wasted nine corner-kicks against two by BYC ll, and in the end secured the much needed victory in the 87th minute. Rough play earned both teams a couple of yellow cards.
Nimba United’s goal was long overdue. BYC ll had forced Nimba United FC’s defense to work overtime and goalkeeper Bill Jensen was doling overtime, urging his defense to work together.
This was in the 86th minute. Nimba United counter attacked from the wings, and a long up-field in the right wing found substitute Titus Cooper who ran after the ball nearing the 18-yard box.
Cooper lifted his head and saw winger Sunnyboy Dolo running from across from him from the opposite direction. By now BYC ll’s defenders were fighting to gain their rhythm with Mark Paye, Hilton Vanney and Solomon Yarweh beaten and struggling to provide cover for goalkeeper Alpha Jalloh.
Jalloh who had, for at least three occasions, come out to prevent the ball from his opponents, this time stayed put in the post. Perhaps he wanted to come but something told him not to.
With his defenders out of space, and lacking cover-up, Cooper cleverly put his right foot to the ball and it obeyed the winger’s instructions. I landed in the 18-yard box where Sunnyboy Dolo was running full-speed to make amends of his earlier miss. He was aware that he had thrown a possible goal away in the first half and this time Dolo intelligently brought the ball under his control.
Goalkeeper Jalloh had his hands opened, and many thought he was begging the striker not to kick the ball pass him, which even if Dolo had understood his request, he would not have agreed.
By now, a lone man, in the stands, in all red, and blowing a single vuvuzela had surprisingly stopped, waiting to see what would happen, since Dolo had wasted such a golden opportunity away, as earlier mentioned.
Standing in front the substitute bench, Nimba United FC’s head coach Korvay Kollie had his hands on his head, and mouthing the word ‘GOAL.’
Perhaps goalkeeper Alpha Jalloh thought he was dreaming when the winger put his right foot hard on the ball to enter the net, and when the sparse crowd yelled GOAL, Jalloh’s hands were still opened.
It was a goal that came too late but indicated how small boys can run and cannot hide, said a follower of the victors.
In earlier results on Saturday, FC Fassell defeated Gardnersville FC 1-0; Aries won 1-0 over Gedi & Sons and 72nd and LISCR FC settled to a 0-0 draw.
Nimba United: Bill Jensen, Darlington Pailey, Anthony Buogbor, Michael Guanue, Bill Zogar, Paul Reeves, Franklin Mulbah, George Allison, Sonnyboy Dolo and Papie Johnson. Sub: Titus Cooper, Patrick Singboh, Jimmy Kortee, James Kpadeh, De-jusus Sullonteh.