| Tollygunge Agragami medio Amit Das being fouled by Railway FC’s Suraj Mondal which resulted in a penalty at Howrah Stadium on Friday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: The question is whether Tollygunge Agragami deserve to be in the National League, on current form, that is. It’s defence is in tatters, its attack is toothless, and this is supplemented by a rheumatic half line.
Against an inexperienced albeit youthful Railway FC (RFC), Tollygunge stuttered, threw away a penalty, threw open its defence and generally drew laughter from the Howrah Stadium stands in a barren Calcutta Football League Super Division match Friday.
RFC enjoyed possession dominance, attacking rival territory through Suraj Mondal, Debabrata Roy and Dulal Patra. Mondal wasn’t as mobile as he was against Ever-Ready, but Roy and Patra were as enthusiastic. The Tollygunge defence failed every test it was subject to.
Tollygunge kicked back through the long balls, and off one of them Amit Das was fouled by Mondal inside the box. Referee Gautam Sadhukhan ordered a penalty and Akeem Abolanle stepped up. He hesitated before he took his right-footed grounder, and it was rolled off the near post harmlessly.
In the 43rd minute, Roy of RFC had a chance but shot over the crosspiece in haste. Changing ends, RFC kept up the pressure and in the 49th minute Patra’s 25-yard shot was saved by Tollygunge goalkeeper Chinmoy Banerjee.
The rains interfered often, and play slowly degenerated into a rather dull affair. The usually fine interplay that the RFC kids show wasn’t evident any more. Tollygunge seem to have run out of ideas and men upfront, and Akeem and Laltu Das kept at it, pretty ineffectively. Coach Subrata Bhattacharya later blamed “inexperience” for the poor show, but neither Akeem nor Laltu is in that category. In the 22nd minute of the latter half, Laltu, off a pass from Akeem, found himself with only RFC ’keeper Rabindra Narayan Poddar to beat but shot straight into the custodian. And, six minutes later, a Niladri Chakraborty grounder was saved by Poddar.
RFC coach Sanjay Sen said he was confident his team will make the Super Six. RFC now have 11 points from seven matches, with three wins and two draws. Tollygunge stay at nine points from seven matches, this being their third draw.
Railway FC: Rabindra Narayan Poddar, Dipayan Majumdar, Shankar Das, Sundar Mandi, Shibsankar Chowdhury, Gourab Dutta, Subhranil Dutta, Dulal Patra Debabrata Roy, Suraj Mondal (Uttam Debnath, 70), Dinesh Shaw.
Tollygunge Agragami: Chinmoy Banerjee, Partha Sarathi Dey, Sujit Neogi, Isiaka Awoemi, Shamsi Reza, Kajal Bhattacharya (Chinmoy Sarkar, 46), Prakash Koley, Amit Das, Akeem Abolanle, Laltu Das (Niladri Chakraborty, 68), Gouranga Dutta (Suman Dutta, 46).
Referee: Gautam Sadhukhan.