In just the third week of the Digicel-sponsored Barbados Football Association’s Premier League action the supposed underdogs are beginning to show signs that they will not be pushovers after all.
Yesterday at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf, defending champions Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) had to pull out all the stops to draw against Direct TV Paradise in the dying stages of the game. That was followed by the University of the West Indies slamming crowd favourites and 2015 second-place finishers Rendezvous 2-0. However, Weymouth Wales stuck to the original script with a 4-0 whipping of Lumisol Technology Inc. Pinelands.
Even in wet slippery conditions after several downpours on the night, Rendezvous with a star-studded line-up of players that included captain Jeffery Williams, Gregory Goodridge, Shandel Samuel and Romano Snagg, were outran by the Mario Harte-led unit that retained most of their players from the 2015 season.
Neither side found the back of the nets in the opening half of the game but in all fairness to Rendezvous they held most of the ball possession when they utilized the flanks well to get past UWI’s defence. The second half was much different as UWI showed a bit more urgency and took the attack to Rendezvous’ defenders who could not stop the talented striker Harte from placing the ball into the back of the nets, past Rendezvous custodian Kenyan Lynch as early as the 51st minute of the second half. Then in the 66th minute Shamari Mark got another past Lynch, arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the premiership, to make it goal number two to the delightful cheers of UWI supporters.
Rendezvous, who missed out on winning the top prize last year on goal difference, had themselves to blame as their attacking moves often broke down in the midfield and there was insufficient ingenuity in UWI’s box. In the end it was a victory thoroughly deserved by the Cave Hill Campus lads.
In the other game Kemar Headley starred for Wales with goals in the 10th, 36th and 88th minutes while Hadan Holligan who always gives one hundred percent finished the game off with a superb shot taken from the right which flashed past Pinelands’ goalkeeper Haldain Payne in the 90th minute.
Nothing can be taken from the outstanding Wales’ striker Headley who gave his side the lead compliments a free kick taken from the left of the field where the ball went through the hands of the Pinelands keeper. Then goal number two came off Headley’s boot when Wales defender Shawn Clarke ran through Pinelands defence with a precise pass to the striker who finished the job and gave his team a 2-0 advantage heading into the interval. In the second half the diminutive player got his hat-trick while Pinelands even with top trigger-man Arantees Lawrence could not find the nets.
Both the Pinelands and Weymouth Wales are to be commended for their on-field conduct as there was the rarity of a game being completed without the referee having to revert to either red card, or especially, yellow card.
A revised Paradise side with a much younger unit showed early signs that they have potential for the season when 16-year old Elijah Downey scored against BDFSP in the 29th and 67th minutes but the soldiers did what it took to level the game with goals in the 83rd and 90+2 minutes through Akeene Browne.