Joes’ register a comeback win over Kingswood
By Ranjika Perera
The premier schools’ football tournament, ThePapare Football Championship kicked off yesterday (29) with the game between St. Joseph’s College and Kingswood College at the Moragasmulla Football Grounds. It was a closely fought affair but the strong Josephians came from behind twice to take the win by 4-2 yesterday.
St. Joseph’s College were favourites walking into the game with several national players in their squad. From the opening whistle, both teams struggled to get any fluidity with the ball. Surprisingly, it was the boys from Randle Hills who showed more hunger to win the ball and they dominated the midfield during the early exchanges.
Despite having national U-20 Skipper Theshan Thushmika in the midfield, the Joes struggled to keep the ball and Kingswood punished them for losing possession easily. In the 21st minute, Kingswood drew first blood through Mohommad Ihshan who tapped in a stunning cross from Afthab Asmi.
The Joes had another scare when their shot-stopper Tharusha Rashmika handled the ball outside of the penalty box which gave away a free kick at the edge of the box for Kingswood. However, it didn’t prove costly for the Josephians.
After 20 minutes of play, the Joes decided to bring in David Karunarathne who had a golden opportunity to break even. The corner from Thushmika fell directly at Karunarathne’s feet but he was unable to find the target which was surprising given his calibre.
However, five minutes before the break, the Joes found the equaliser through Tharusha Ashantha. It was Pathum Gimhan who curved a free kick on target which was fumbled by the Kingswood keeper allowing Ashantha to tap the ball in. Seconds before lemons, Kingswood almost took back the lead when Asmi’s corner was headed to the crossbar by Amhar Ahmed.
The second half belonged to the boys from Darley Road. Goalscorer Ashantha almost found his brace when he hit the cross bar as the Joes kept creating opportunities in the early stages of the second half.
Just when the Joes were trying to dictate terms, Kingswood hit back with their second goal in the 53rd minute. Skipper Geethanjana Herath, with a free kick from the halfway mark, sent the ball inside the box, and a collision between the Joes’ centreback and the keeper allowed Mohommad Farhan to shoot at an empty net to put his team back in the lead.
Once again, the Joes started to look rattled but they managed to keep the pressure on. Kingswood College showed desperation in their defence but ultimately, Pathum Gimhan came up with the goods for the Joes. He managed to beat a couple of defenders and send the ball across the goal for M. Andrew to tap in with ease.
Once the equaliser was scored, the Josephians were unstoppable. Pathum Gimhan was running riot in the left wing as he kept crossing the ball into the box with ease. The third goal came in the 76th minute through Andrew. It was Gimhan with his third assist who sent the ball across to Andrew. The icing on the cake was when Ashantha scored his brace through a stunning volley from the free kick taken by Dumidu Adithya.
St. Joseph’s College 4-2 Kingswood College