Shillong, April 30: Sawmer SC grabbed full honours against Nongthymmai SC in what was their last outing of the Shillong Premier League 2023, winning 2-1 at the SSA Stadium at First Ground, Polo, here today. Shining Nongdhar (11’) and Rheadolf N Daloi (30’) scored for Sawmer in the first half, while Rabi Hansda (67’) pulled one back for Nongthymmai in the second. The last goal happened to be the 100th of SPL 2023.

Both sides had gained promotion to the SPL from the First Division, which Sawmer won last season ahead of second-placed Nongthymmai. Playing with the elite clubs in the SPL was a big step up (though Sawmer have been in the SPL before for one season in 2018). 

Sawmer end with 6 points, their other win coming against Ryntih SC, while Nongthymmai finish on 3, having beaten fellow strugglers Nangkiew Irat. Today’s win moves Sawmer up to sixth place but Nangkiew Irat (also 3 points) still have two games to go, so they can still be overtaken.

After a fairly languid start to the match, Shining scored from outside the box following a move from the right flank. 

Team mate Mark Austin Wanswett then saw his effort denied a few minutes later by a full-blooded dive by Nongthymmai goalkeeper Akash Thapa. 

Half an hour into the match, Sawmer counterattacked following a Nongthymmai free-kick and Lamshaphrang Kurbah delivered a through ball for Rheadolf, who timed his run perfectly behind two defenders. From just outside the box, he flicked the ball into the bottom corner of the net to double Sawmer’s lead. 

Nongthymmai’s only real effort in the first half came in the 45th minute when Y Gopi Singh clattered the crossbar. 

His team were more aggressive in the second half, with Andyson Lapang missing out twice, first with Sawmer keeper Pyrshang Dkhar pushing a shot on target away and then a long-range effort scooted just over the bar. 

Rabi finally got one to stick, although his shot from a nice move through the defence came off the horizontal before crossing the goal line. 

By this point Sawmer were looking a little nervous and their passing a little more erratic. However, they dug into their reserves and held off Nongthymmai for the remaining minutes and gratefully welcomed the final whistle when they could breathe a sigh of relief. 

Tomorrow Nangkiew Irat will take on Shillong Lajong FC at 3:15pm.