Football: Barclays league division one-Northern Dynamo snatch late victory


Dynamo were on the brink of defeat in a match which they had dominated especially in the first half.

In the third minute, St Roch failed to clear their lines from two consecutive corners. Steve Henriette picked up a poor clearance to centre in the penalty area and as Malagasy Asman Todisoa went to head the ball, he was bundled over by St Roch’s Malagasy captain Nestor Benahovy. It appeared a blatant penalty but referee Jean-Claude Labrosse was not convinced.

Three minutes later at the other end, St Roch’s Steven Télémaque burst through and his goal-bound shot was turned into corner by goalkeeper Jules Monnaie.

St Roch opened the scoring from the resulting corner. Captain Benahovy played the ball to Télémaque whose cross-cum-shot sailed into the far corner as goalkeeper Julie Monnaie hesitated and the ball dropped into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Despite intense pressure from Dynamo who had plenty of possession, they failed to beat goalkeeper Eugene Valentin who was in inspired form and also due to some poor finishing.

In the 19th minute, St Roch almost doubled their advantage from a break which saw Benahovy filter a pass to Nerick Athanase who rounded Monnaie who appeared to bring him down. But again referee Labrosse did not point to the penalty spot.

Midway in the half, Dynamo went close as St Roch could not clear the ball which fell to Francis Moumou whose teasing cross was met by Todisoa but Valentin produced a point-blank reflex save to keep his team in the lead.

Dynamo wasted another decent opportunity in the 43rd minute from Moumou’s free-kick which trickled to Henriette whose low shot went just wide.

The boys of coach Cliff Nolin came out hungry to level the score and in the 46th minute, Basil Bertin did well to set up Marcus Maria who had all the time to pick his spot but he inexplicably placed his shot off target.

Two minutes later, Maria exchanged passes with Todisoa but Valentin was quick off his line to tackle the Malagasy striker as he looked odds on to score.

In the 53rd minute, Dynamo felt hard done once again by the official as St Roch defender Richard Guichard’s clumsy tackle on Moumou should have resulted in a penalty.

Twelve minutes later, Henriette played a long free-kick over the St Roch defence and as Valentin hesitated, Moumou miscued his header with the goal begging.

In the 69th minute, St Roch countered swiftly through former La Passe midfielder Jude Bibi who had come on as a substitute. He played a delightful pass to the sprinting Athanase who released Télémaque who out-sped Ted Cupidon but Monnaie made a great block to deny him.

St Roch again threatened in the 74th minute as Télémaque galloped forward and held the ball before pulling it back to captain Benahovy whose fierce drive was just kept out by Monnaie’s outstretched legs.

Dynamo though were not to be hard done and had a lucky break in the 86th minute as St Roch’s substitute Steve Savy inadvertently fired Moumou’s cross past his own goalkeeper Valentin to level matters at 1-1.

St Roch nearly restored their advantage in the 89th minute from captain Benahovy’s deep corner which dropped to Guichard but he drilled the ball wide from five metres out.

There was to be a late drama in the first minute of injury time as the same Guichard brought down captain Télémaque on the edge of the penalty area for a free-kick. All eyes were on Henriette to blast the resulting free-kick but it was substitute Jean-Alain Valentin who thumped the ball straight through the wall and it sailed under Valentin’s body as he mis-timed his dive, giving Dynamo a 2-1 victory.

Dynamo could have stretched the scoreline deep in injury time from a quick counter as Maria was given the ball to run on goal but in a one-on-one situation, Valentin redeemed himself with a strong tackle but Dynamo had done enough to claim all three points.

Dynamo’s coach Cliff Nolin told Sports Nation his team deserved to win as they had dominated the match both tactically and in terms of possession. Coach Nolin was just happy his team had won a match which was always within their grasp.

As for St Roch’s coach Ralph Jean-Louis, he accepted after the match that his team did not play well throughout and agreed that Dynamo deserved their victory though he would have liked to win his first match after leading for almost the entire match.

Coach Jean-Louis added that his team are going through a transition phase where they are integrating young players and he hopes they will learn from this defeat and improve in their second match.

R. J-L.

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