Last year’s losing finalist Nulook 360 Connection and Sports Town Galaxy played out a frenetic draw as action in the Lime Pelican Football Challenge continued at Kensington Oval yesterday.
In the first half of that game 360 Connection dominated ball possession and basically set up camp in their opponent’s half of the field but had little to show for their early control of the encounter. This is no to say that there were no opportunities. With a bit more patience and precision 360 Connection should have opened their account in the first half as three clear chances went a begging prior to the teams trudging off the field with the 0-0 scoreline.
Whatever pep talk they had in the dressing room, Sports Town Galaxy looked a transformed unit in the second half and showed greater enterprise on offence and far better poise when in possession of the ball. It was only a matter of time before they would reap reward for their industry and pressure on their opponents.
After earning a corner, Sports Town Galaxy benefited when the ball was lobbed in and headed towards the near post and one of 360 Connection players unfortunately handled the ball in the area. This resulted in the automatic penalty kick and number eight Kareem Frederick calmly stepped to the spot, positioned the ball and slotted it into the back of the nets to initiate raucous cheers from his team’s fans.
Those celebrations were short-lived, however, as eight minutes later national footballer Dwayne Stanford scored the equaliser for 360 Connection after they were awarded a free kick following a foul just outside the penalty area.
Jomo Brathwaite was later given a red card which left 360 Connection down to 10 players and they noticeable opted to defend rather than attack and open themselves up on the counter with their numerical disadvantage. Strangely, Sports Town Galaxy never really tried to take advantage of their extra player and despite the occasional foray into 360 Connection’s territory the game ended in the 1-1 draw when the final whistle was blown.
In other games played at the Oval last night Broad Street Men’s and Women’s Red Tridents were hammered 4-1 by Top Bay Settlers. Riviere Williams opened the scoring for Red Tridents in the 14th minute. The score-line was a bit of an aberration as when the first-half ended Top Bay Settlers were down 1-0 despite having the majority of the ball possession and looking the more accomplished unit.
When the second-half resumed Red Tridents were brought back down to earth with quite a heavy thud. Former national and England club professional Greggory “Lalu” Goodridge equalised for Top Bay Settlers in the 58th minute and this strike opened the floodgates. It was basically one-way traffic as Red Tridents spent the majority of the last 25 minutes of the game trying to get the ball out of their half of the field. Ryan Griffith, who enjoyed a fabulous game and was a constant thorn in the side of Red Tridents, gave Top Bay Settlers the lead in the 66th minute and four minutes later found the back of the nets again. And as if they needed any charity, in the 80th minute Red Tridents’ Mario Marshall put the ball into the back of his own goal to complete the rout.
The game between Phoenix UFO Toyota Fire House and Direct TV Red Snappers ended in a 2-2 draw.
It was a game for which there were high expectations from coaches and fans as both teams appeared to be evenly matched. Firehouse opened the scoring in the 11th minute compliments the still very skilful Ricky Barnes. He scored a spectacular curling goal from the corner of the field that left both fans and Red Snappers players stunned. The cheers that erupted from the Greenidge and Haynes stands when the goal went in were deafening.
Not daunted, Red Snappers went after the equaliser in earnest and were rewarded before the half-time whistle when Jeffery Williams netted. If the first half was exciting, then the second half was a thriller. Both teams obviously wanted maximum points and played an attacking brand of football that provided a treat for fans. Something had to give and it did as Nicholas King gave Firehouse the lead once again in the 70th minute.
Firehouse kept this advantage up to regulation time and it seemed that after their sterling effort Red Snappers would leave Fontabelle with nothing to show. But Red Snappers never gave up and in the third minute of injury time David Williams brought great relief to his team’s supporters when he scored to level the contest.