Dipanda Dicka’s solitary second half goal gave Shillong Lajong their fourth home win of the season as they beat Churchill Brothers 1-0 in a seventh round I-League match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here today.
Dicka struck in the 51st minute taking his tally to six goals this season and also ensuring that his side registered their first ever victory over Churchill at home.
The victory, fourth in a row, took Lajong to 12 points from seven matches and they jumped to fourth spot in the standings for the first time in three seasons.
Churchill remained at five points and have a lot of catching up to do in the coming matches.
Earlier, the crowd swelled to over 10,000 at the stadium for the first time this season as Lajong braced up for the Goan challenge.
The hosts started on a confident note dominating possession but Churchill too were in no mood to hand an early advantage to their opponents.
The visitors got their first real chance in the 16th minute when Anthony Wolfe cleared Nim Tamang with ease upfront after receiving a long ball. But the Trinidad and Tobago striker’s shot went over the bar, much to the dismay of coach Alfred Fernandes.
In the following minutes, Kromah looked dangerous at the front at least on two occasions but the lack of support spoiled his raids.
Post the half hour mark, Lajong once again secured firm control of the proceedings even as Churchill were pushed to the backfoot.
Dicka had a golden opportunity to score in the 44th minute when Issac delivered a perfect cross but the off balanced Cameroonian slammed the ball wide from close range.
Barely four minutes into the second half, Kromah squandered a golden chance when after breezing out into the clear from the midfield he could not get past Vishal Kaith at the goalmouth. Vishal made a desperate dive on the right to deflect the ball out of danger.
Three minutes later, it was Lajong’s turn to stamp their authority and it was the in-form Dicka who stepped in to make the difference.
Dicka slammed the ball into the back of the nets after rival custodian Priyant Singh fumbled to collect the ball. Singh almost grabbed the ball twice but a late fumble gave Dicka the chance to have a shot at the wide open target.
Thereafter, a buoyed Lajong side made a mess of two possible chances with Rupert Nongrum found wanting on both occasions.
The hosts had their share of luck too. In the 68th minute, a Anthony Wolfe header which was smashed to the ground bounced over the crossbar missing the nets by a whisker.