Football: Barclays league division one-St Michel march on


St Michel struggled in the first half to break down St Francis and almost suffered a setback in the opening seconds (23 seconds) as their Malagasy captain Jimmy Radafison pulled down Stephane Barallon and was lucky to receive only a yellow card by referee Jean-Claude Labrosse who raised a few eyebrows throughout the match with some bizarre decisions.

In the second minute, Barallon and former St Michel striker Trevor Vidot chased a through ball from Malagasy Fortunat but goalie Gino Melanie was quick off his line to clear the danger.

St Michel though got their acts together and in the ninth minute, Alex Nibourette put in a decent cross to Wilnes Brutus who delayed his shot and the chance was eventually snuffed out.

In the 24th minute, St Michel’s Joel Barbé picked out Brutus with a teasing cross but his header was easily saved by goalkeeper Andrea Libanotis.

Two minutes later, Barbé again found space to centre to Leeroy Corallie whose glancing header flew over the crossbar.

St Michel continued to press for an opening goal and in the 32nd minute, Brutus latched onto a loose ball to rifle a left footer which came off the foot of the post.

St Michel nearly found the breakthrough in the 43rd minute in controversial manner as referee Labrosse awarded them a free-kick which should have been given the other way. Don Anacoura played a quick free-kick to Corallie who set up Gervais Waye-Hive whose strong shot was pushed onto the crossbar and into corner as St Francis held on.

St Michel brought on Carl Hall for Waye-Hive in the second half and this change paid dividends for the Anse Aux Pins-based team.

In the 47th minute, Hall played a pin-point pass to Brutus who controlled and fired the ball at Libanotis who luckily charged down his shot.

Two minutes later, St Michel’s pressure paid off as Libanotis failed to clear a cross which fell to Barbé. He played the ball in the penalty area to Corallie whose shot came off the St Francis goalkeeper and dropped to Hall who buried it into the net for a 1-0 lead.

In the 69th minute, St Michel had the ball in the net for a second but it was wrongly disallowed for offside by the inconsistent assistant referee Walter Underwood who signalled for offside against Corallie who had latched onto Allen Larue’s through ball to round Libanotis. Corallie was clearly onside when he received the pass.

A minute later, Libanotis spilled Nibourette’s cross and Corallie drilled the loose ball into the side-netting with the goal begging.

St Michel extended their lead in the 71st minute as Brutus chased a long ball and cut it inside to Anacoura whose shot was blocked as far as Corallie who made no mistake from close range for a 2-0 score.

St Michel were now looking to add to the scoreline and in the 85th minute, Anacoura saw his curling corner kick, which was dipping into the net, tipped over by Libanotis into corner as it was indeed a busy afternoon for the Baie Lazare-based team’s custodian.

Corallie also went close in the 87th minute from substitute Francis Nourrice’s cross after being released by Hall.

The young St Michel striker was not to be denied on the stroke of full time as Anacoura sliced open the St Francis rearguard with a defence-splitting pass which the lurking Corallie pounced on to direct the ball past Libanotis for a 3-0 final score.

R. J-L.


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