Mapusa, Goa: Churchill Brothers gave good account of themselves during the second half to beat Mohammedan Sporting 3-1 in an I-League match at Duler Stadium here on Sunday.
After a barren first half, Churchill Brothers scored all the goals in the second half through Lenny Rodrigues (51st minute), substitute Jaison Vales (71st) and Balwant Singh (74th).
Mohammedan Sporting, who were reduced to 10 men midway in the second half, pulled one back through Ashim Biswas in the 86th minute.
The win takes Churchill Brothers to 10 points from 12 matches.
While Mohammedan Sporting finished their first leg engagement on 13 points from 13 matches.
Placed at the bottom of the table, Churchill Brothers desperately needed a win to raise their confidence and they made three changes in the team today.
Dropping Arindam Bhattacharya, Anthony Pereira and Micky Fernandes, Churchill Brothers brought in Lalit Thapa, Alesh Sawant and Ravanan Dharmaraj to change their fortunes, but were not effective in their first attack as Balwant Singh was blocked by rival keeper Luis Barreto.
Churchill Brothers, who enjoyed the edge in ball possession, came close to finding the net during the later part of the first half, when Alesh Sawant's strike was first blocked by defender Collin Abranches and then by Wadoo, who managed to deflect his header away from the target.
There were not many moves in the barren first half, although the visitors too had couple of chances. Asim Biswas' shot went straight into the hands of keeper Lalit Thapa.
Churchill Brothers made a substitution after the break, bringing in Jaison Vales in place of Binesh Balan and the former responded well when he set up Lenny Rodrigues on the right, who blasted a right-footer straight past keeper Luis Barreto from outside the box during the 51st minute.
Two minutes later, Churchill Brothers could have increased the lead but Balwant couldn't get a clean touch on the ball in a one-on-one situation with Mohammedan Sporting goalie Barreto, who fumbled but caught hold of the ball on his second attempt, while Vales was lurking close.
However, Churchill Brothers kept on attacking and increased the lead in the 71st minute when Shabana released Balwant and the latter found Jaison inside the box on the right side.
Mohammedan Sporting were reduced to 10 men when referee A Rowan gave marching orders to defender Rakesh Masih for a dangerous foul on Shabana inside the box and awarded a penalty, which birthday boy Balwant Singh converted in the 74th minute and took the match away from the visitors.
With Churchill Brothers doing the attacking, Mohammedan Sporting came up with a counter move and pulled one back in the 86th minute when Biswas trapped in a cross by substitute Israil Gurung.