Football: Barclays league division one-St Michel struggle past 10-man SMB


The two teams were frustrated as they had to wait for 15 minutes for the officials to arrive. Such a late arrival is unacceptable to some officials who decide that if the team do not have a full squad 15 minutes before kick-off they forfeit the match.

As for the match, it lacked sparkle though St Michel enjoyed plenty of possession and Nelson Laurence glanced a clear second-minute header wide from a short corner involving Malagasy Nestor Benahovy and Don Anacoura.

SMB responded in the 21st minute after a good break by Yannick Julie to release Evans Samedi. He squared the ball to Colin Laporte, who hesitated before setting up Marty Fanny, blowing away the chance.

The game turned on its head in the 31st minute as Alex Nibourette, who looked suspiciously offside as SMB waited for the linesman’s flag, raced clear and was pulled down by goalie Trevor Bill outside the penalty area.

Referee Jean-Claude Labrosse showed a straight red card to Bill and this infuriated the SMB camp.
SMB were right to complain as minutes earlier the official had been lenient to St Michel captain Godfrey Denis, who had blocked Samedi when he was clean through.

SMB had to reorganise as they pulled off Fanny to bring on former Plaisance goalie Peter Toule.
St Michel piled on the pressure, and in the 35th minute Anacoura forced a good save out of Toule from a tight angle. In the 44th minute, Benahovy threaded a pass to Anacoura, who looked odds on to score, but he shot weakly, allowing Toule to save with his leg. Strangely, referee Labrosse did not play injury time and blew the whistle quite early.

In the second half, SMB caught St Michel on the break as Laporte latched on to a through ball. Goalie Gino Melanie came outside his penalty area and blocked the shot with his hand. The official did not penalise the keeper as the ball broke to Samedi, who shot into an empty net for a 1-0 lead.

St Michel had to increase the tempo, and in the 63rd minute Anacoura centred to Pascal, whose volley flew agonisingly wide.
In the 70th minute Benahovy beat the offside trap to set up Pascal, who drilled the ball into the roof of the net to level at 1-1.

St Michel went ahead in the 76th minute when Pascal raced clear as SMB captain David Dorby tried to keep up with him. Pascal crossed to Francis Nourrice, who controlled the ball and cut it back to the Malagasy player. He controlled it and fired past Toule for a 2-1 lead.

In the 78th minute, referee Labrosse had to calm nerves as St Michel’s defender Dereck Agathine and SMB’s James Bill had a go at each other. They were yellow-carded.

In injury time Benahovy, who had a solid game, wriggled his way past a couple of defenders but his shot was cleared on the goal line. 

SMB almost levelled matters in the dying seconds as substitute Deron Marcel released Samedi, who had a good scoring opportunity, but he shot straight at Melanie as St Michel held on to register a hard-fought win.

R. J-L.

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