After a mono-paced opening half, Tamil Nadu Police and Indian Bank lifted their game to an absorbing 1-1 draw in the St Joseph’s-CFA Senior Division League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday. Whereas Indian Bank would consider themselves unlucky in dropping points—twice were they denied by the woodwork—TNP would consider themselves lucky to have gained a point. The monotony of the first-half bordered on the unbearable, though TNP messed up twice in front of the goalmouth, first when Ranjith Kumar fumbled from close range before P Murugan fluffed a free header. Indian Bank, meanwhile, saw P Karthik’s delightfully flighted free kick from the edge of box kissing the cross bar. Five minutes later, Ogele Antony Agu truck the crossbar from a similar range.
Otherwise, both sides were content in clearing the ball from their respective halves without looking penetrative.
But soon after Indian Bank settled into a brisk tempo, gathering momentum upfront and looking to score every time they ventured forth. In a 15-minute spell, they hatched at least half a dozen chances without converting any. Right-winger P Karthick was their creator-in-chief, making nippy forays through the flank though his crossed weren’t met with deserved finish. R Karthick spilled a free header off his cross, as he sliced the cross over the bar before flaying another header wide.
Then anticlimactically, TNP broke away and K Ramanan and P Murugan combined well to architect their lead. Though both floundered their shies on goal, the ensuing throw-in was powerfully despatched to the top-right corner by M Pachirajan in the 63rd minute.
The goal seemed to swing the match in TNP’s favour, as their moves gained in conviction before Indian Bank responded with the unlikeliest of heroes. Midfielder Vikram Patil, who was hitherto obscure, dribbled past four TNP men to slot the ball low to the right of goalkeeper G Dhanasekaran in the 73rd minute. Thereafter, TNP dropped back in number while IB sought the winner, and they almost secured it when S Karthik sent in a screamer from close ranger only to be blocked by the post.
Result: TNP 1 (M Pachirajan 63) drew IB 1 (Vikram Patil 73); First division: Income Tax 2 drew Chennai Port Trust 2.