Football: Barclays league division one-St Francis edge St Roch


Both teams finished the match with 10 players though St Roch suffered the most as they had Patrick Bonne harshly sent off by referee Alistair Barra who struggled to handle a very physical match.

St Francis had the first real opportunity in the 14th minute as Trevor Vidot released Malagasy Branli Zizi Ratovonirina but his strong shot was well stopped by goalkeeper Julio Toulon.

Four minutes later, St Roch responded as Roy Julie launched a quick counter-attack at goalkeeper Bertrand Morel.

St Roch were reduced to 10 men in the 23rd minute as Bonne, who had been booked for a crude tackle on Trevor Vidot, was shown a second yellow card – simultaneously a red card – for another foul. However, this decision was rather harsh for St Roch who are fighting to stay in the top flight and only last week parted company with coach Ralph Jean-Louis.

The match almost turned into a tit for tat with tackles flying in and St Roch felt hard done by the official as both captain Nestor Benahovy and Freddy Armand were victims of some bad tackles.

As the dust settled, St Francis had another good chance in the 32nd minute as Rondy Onezime galloped forward to send an inch-perfect cross to Branli Zizi but he could not direct his header on target.

St Roch suffered another setback in the 39th minute when Malagasy Armand collapsed to the ground and had to be transported to hospital. He was replaced by Ted Bistoquet.

Two minutes later, St Francis almost broke the deadlock as Vidot bore on goal and Toulon surprisingly raced off his line and was lobbed but captain Benahovy managed to hook the ball off the goal-line to save his goalkeeper’s blushes.

St Roch showed more determination in the second half despite their handicap and Roy Julie should have scored in the 51st minute but in a one-on-one situation his control let him down.

St Francis made a double substitution in the 57th minute, bringing on Radley Monthy and Ronny Monthy to add more impetus to their attack.

It was, however, Malagasy Branli Zizi who finally opened the scoring on the hour mark as he latched onto a long ball to outsprint the St Roch defence and coolly slot the ball past Toulon to make it 1-0.

St Roch though continued to persevere and in the 63rd minute Marvin Pierre’s cross-cum-shot brought a good save out of goalkeeper Morel.

In the 65th minute, St Francis should have stretched their lead from Radley Monthy’s corner kick which dropped to the unmarked Branli Zizi but he headed over the cross-bar.

St Francis also had a player dismissed in the 66th minute as Ryan Antat was adjudged to have elbowed defender Brian Dorby who fell in a heap.  Referee Barra, under pressure, decided to show Antat his second yellow card which meant a red card.

St Francis were very unhappy with the official for allowing his decision to be swayed by the players and they felt more aggrieved when Dorby returned to the field seconds after Antat had received his marching order.

As for the match, St Francis’ Branli Zizi played a neat one-two with Malagasy Hery Niana Randriamanana but the former was thwarted in his stride by a great block by Toulon.

St Roch tried desperately to salvage a point and they pumped long ball forward but Julie was not sharp enough in front of goal. In the 85th minute, the same Julie collected a filtered pass but Morel produced a last-ditch tackle to block him as St Roch half-heartedly called for a penalty.

St Francis just managed to hold on to only their second win in the league while St Roch’s poor run continues as they suffered their ninth consecutive defeat in all competitions.

R. J-L.

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