Defending champions Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) and Clayton Kola Tonic Notre Dame played to an exciting and entertaining 3-3 draw when the second round of the Digicel-sponsored Barbados Football Association’s Premier League continued at the National Stadium last night.
Playing in the second game of a triple header BDFSP needed vital points to remain secure at the top of the standings. A victory for Notre Dame would have kept them among the top four.
The match was three minutes old when BDFSP scored their first goal. The ball was gently lobbed within the Notre Dame box and Paul Alexander appeared out of nowhere to head it past goalkeeper Carlyle Gill.
After this early goal by the BDFSP, the Bayland side’s back-line of Renaldo Gilkes, Leon Todd and Kimo Seale became more alert and kept the soldiers’ strike force of Mario Harte, Jamal Chandler and Shaquille Steward at bay for the rest of the first half.
They continued to do so until the 66th minute of the game. It was at that stage that Harte cast a magical spell on the Notre Dame players. He collected the ball about 35 yards outside of the box, ran solo through the center of the field and gently tapped the ball past the goalkeeper. It was a strange goal which had some of the fans wondering if Harte had cast some hypnotic spell on the Notre Dame players who seemed to just stare at him as he snaked through the center.
The strategy of the BDFSP coach all season has been to lock down the game by fortifying his back-line with fresh defensive substitutes after his team have established a lead over their opponents. Last night was not an exception but it did not work.
Two minutes after Harte’s mesmerizing goal for BDFSP, Leon Todd responded for Norte Dame. He took the ball down the middle as the BDFSP players seemed unsure whether to challenge him. While they made up their minds Todd booted the ball out of the reach of goalkeeper Albert Brathwaite into the nets to make the score 2-1.
One minute later the match was to take a dramatic turn. Hadan Holligan took the ball from the touch line, waltzed down the field and scored the equalizer. It was the second time in the game that player appeared to hypnotize leaden-footed defenders to score.
Both teams went into attack mode with the scores level at 2-2 with the respective play-makers showing their class as they went on the hunt for goals.
In the 71st minute Harte showed why he is one of the most skilled footballers on the island. He collected the ball in the centre, and took it to the right of the field with several Notre Dame players gathered in the box trying to defend the area. The crafty Harte then kicked the ball through the defenders leaving the goal keeper stranded, and perhaps, blinded, as he scored.
The BDFSP had regained the lead and most of the fans might have thought it was all over for Norte Dame. But the boys from the Bayland came storming back and launched a relentless attack on the army men.
Zeco Edmee scored the equalizer in the 85th minute and it was a gem of a goal. He took control of the ball 18 yards outside of the box, danced around a BDFSP defender and cooly kicked it into the back of the net to level the score at 3-3.
In the opening game, Weymouth Wales defeated Silver Sands 3-2. Lloyd Wilkinson scored for Silver Sands in the third minute of the game. Tristan Parris pulled it back for Wales after 23 mintues. Then a double-strike by Carl Joseph in the 47th and 59th minutes ensured victory for Wales.
Pride of Gall Hill won the nightcap game against Mackeson Brittons Hill. A penalty by Jabarry Chandler was enough to give the Christ Church team the victory.
Sadly this match between two tittle contenders did not grip the attention of the modest crowd at the National Stadium as following the entertainment of the previous match between BDFSP and Notre Dame, it simply failed to sparkle.