Churchill Brothers edged past East Bengal 2-1 in the 11th round encounter of the ONGC I-League at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Monday to end their campaign in the first phase one point adrift of second-placed Mohun Bagan on 21.
A lapse from Churchill Brothers goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya saw East Bengal take the lead in the second
Arindam took his eye off a back pass from Chandam Chitrasen and casually tried to kick the ball but ended up conceding an own goal much to the dismay of last year's runners-up.
However, despite the advantage, Stanley Rozario's boys failed to cash in on the opportunity and it took less than half-an-hour for Zoran Djordjevic-coached Churchill Brothers to find the equaliser.
Ogba Kalu took advantage of an out of position Subrata Pal under the East Bengal bar to send his header home in the 31st minute.
The changeover saw East Bengal stepping up the momentum but it was Arindam's brilliance under the Churchill Brothers goal that saved the visitors.
East Bengal's new recruit Sheikh Ishmail Addo sparkled in patches but his effort was nullified by Arindam.
Addo was included in the East Bengal roster in place of Edmilson Marques who has been recuperating from Hepatitis B and has been released by the club.
The Churchill Brothers custodian made amends for his earlier slip when he dived full stretch to deny Addo a goal on debut in the 52nd minute.
It was yet another slip that sealed the match in the visitors' favour in the 59th minute. Mehrajuddin Wadao came in the line of a Okolie Odafa shot and the deflection was enough to get the ball past a hapless Pal and into the net and consign East Bengal to their third successive defeat.
The red-and-golds made some desperate attempts to get things back on level terms but were time and again denied by Arindam, who was unlucky to miss the man of the match award to Kalu.
While Churchill brothers moved to third spot with 20 points, East bengal stayed seventh on 12 points.