Thursday, 25 February 2010

Pohnpei win first game for nine years

The Micronesian island of Pohnpei State has beaten a strong Island All-Star side 2-1 in their first game since 2001.

After the success of last year’s Pohnpei Premier League, a national team was formed with the goal of a trip to Guam at the end of July 2010.

This was to be a real test for English coach Paul Watson’s side as the All-Stars had some of the island’s most respected and revered footballers, including Fijian powerhouse Tui, tricky striker Edwin Sione and SDA aces Matthew Barbosa and Ryan Billington.

Wearing their new uniforms, Pohnpei struggled to master the bumpy pitch in the opening minutes and they fell behind when Premier League top scorer Matthew Barbosa fired home.

But months of practice started to pay off as the men in blue passed the ball around neatly, creating several half-chances with Joseph Welson blasting inches over the bar and Marvin Jack nearly releasing Ryan Johnson with a delicate through ball. The goal can be seen here

When Pohnpei did get their breakthrough it was courtesy of young striking star Joseph Welson. He latched on to a Dilshan Senarathgoda pass and made no mistake in finding the net for 1-1.

The Pohnpei defence was now playing with authority. Denson Fairfield was magnificent in the air, Tom Mawi outmuscled any attacker while the experienced Robert Paul impressed in his new left-back role and Rocky Henly showed the excellent command of the game that earned him the Pohnpei Premier League Best Defender Award.

Nick Santiago, arguably Pohnpei State’s most exciting rising star, thriving in the defensive midfield position and Micah Selikar fought hard on the wing,
Growing in confidence, Pohnpei started to control the pace and play attractive two-touch passing football, but they found it hard to pick holes in the opposition defence.

At half-time, Charles Welson replaced Andrew Falcam in goal and Roger Nakasuna came on for Robert Paul.

And 10 minutes into the second period, Pohnpei went in front as Joseph Welson scored his second goal of the game – a cool finish to beat the onrushing goalkeeper.
Young talent Rodrigo Matamba substituted the excellent Marvin Jack and Island Warriors captain and Premier League Player of the Tournament Bob Paul came on for Ryan Johnson, whose limitless energy had caused constant trouble for the All-Stars defence.

Bob and Rodrigo were both sent into space by captain Dilshan, but after bursting clear with a turn of pace both could only find the goalkeeper with their crosses.
Neither side could find the net again as the light faded and Pohnpei had its first win in an official game.

Pohnpei Soccer would like to thank Albert Carlot for expertly refereeing the game, Micronesian Seminar for filming and Visual Impact for providing a camera for pictures.

Pohnpei State 2-1 Island All-Stars
Barbosa 4 (All Stars) J Welson 25, 55 (Pohnpei State)
Pohnpei State Team: Andrew Falcam (Charles Welson 45); Rocky Henly, Tom Mawi, Denson Fairfield, Robert Paul (Roger Nakasuna 45); Nick Santiago, Dilshan Senarathgoda, Micah Selikar, Marvin Jack (Rodrigo Matamba 60); Joseph Welson, Ryan Johnson (Bob Paul 60)
Referee: Albert Carlot

1 comment:

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