Two quickfire goals in the first half from Matthew Mayora (6′) and by John Menyongar (12′ pen) gave the North-eastern side their second away win of the season.
Sukhwinder Singh preferred to keep C.S. Sabeeth on the bench as Pailan played Ajay Singh in his place with Bijendra Rai upfront.
On the other side, Pradhyum Reddy gave his new recruit Sushil Singh a chance to impress alongside Australian striker Matthew Mayora.
The match started tentatively with both teams looking to gain an upper hand. It was the home side which had the first chance as Jibon Singh raced down the left before cutting inside to release a shot, but Lajong goalkeeper saved comfortably.
Soon after, things started going horribly wrong for the AIFF developmental side as in the 6th minute John Menyongar did brilliantly by going on a mazy run from the left, drawing atleast two defenders before finding an unmarked Mayora in the box who made no mistake as he smashed the ball into the top near corner of a helpless Naveen Kumar.
In the 12th minute, Mayora was brought down in the box by Pailan’s Pritam Kotal and the referee C.R. Srikrisnan had no doubt in pointing to the spot. Menyongar stepped up to convert the penalty to give the away side a two-goal lead.
From then on it was Lajong who dictated the terms with their Liberian skipper Menyongar being outstanding in the centre of midfield. Pailan were left to half chances as they relied on long range efforts from Ajay Singh and Bijendra Rai but to no avail.
Just before half time, Lajong could have added to their goal tally when Mayora was played in a delightful through ball but the referee’s offside call saved Arrows the blushes.
Pailan’s best chance came in the dying minutes of the first half as a delightful cross from the left by Fanai is misjudged by the Shillong goalie, and Ajay Singh failed to find the back of the net with a free header.
Sukhwinder Singh looked to change things by bringing in Sabeeth, but it did little to change the complexion of the game.
Crossing over, Naveen Kumar’s heroics saved a further misery as the Arrows keeper kept out Menyongar’s header from a corner.
Sushil Singh was in the thick of action with two chances, first from an accurate Romenjit Singh cross from the right which he volleyed just wide and off a Menyongar pass, but the India international was only able to drag his shot wide.
Among the sole chances for the young Indian outfit, one of Bijendra Rai’s free-kicks had Lajong keeper Anganba beaten, but the crossbar prevented the ball from falling at the back of the net.
Although Menyongar was certainly the star of the match, Pailan’s Sehnaz Singh also put in a brilliant shift in the midfield, but the Pailan forwards who were disappointing to say the least.
Shillong Lajong had chances to further increase their lead at the fag end of the match, but a despairing Naveen Kumar somehow parried the cross from the left as Menyongar and substitute Christopher were waiting to pounce.
With the away victory, Pradhyum Reddy’s side cement their spot in the I-League taking them away from the relegation zone. The Arrows side meanwhile are still looking for their first win of their maiden campaign and their poor run in front of the goal continues.
Article Courtesy Goal.com