Newly promoted Premier League team, Waterford Compton, began their outing on a 1-0 losing note against seasoned campaigners Paradise, in the opening match of the 2017 Digicel sponsored Barbados Football Association season last night.
Played before a sizeable crowd at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex, Black Rock, St Michael, Paradise striker, Ackeel Applewhaite managed to score one past Compton custodian Antoni Hoyte. That goal apart, Hoyte was fantastic throughout the game.
That win earned last year’s fourth place finishers Paradise BDS$500, an incentive implemented this year by the Randy Harris-led administration. During a recent press conference, Harris informed the media that they had taken an initiative to reward premier league teams for each match-winning performance. However, they will not receive any money for a draw or loss.
It was a game many expected to see Paradise dominate and even though they had a fair share of ball possession, Compton did well to sway their ball movements especially when they encroached inside the 18-yard box.
The Christ Church-based side coached by Kenville Layne created a few goal-scoring opportunities when the midfield, consisting of two former players from Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme, Akeen Browne and Mario Williams along with Elijah Downey, sent a number of well flighted balls on the flanks to Vincentian Narel George. He utilized his pace well to break inside the box with a precise pass to national striker Armando Lashley who was just unable to shake the nets as the first half ended in a scoreless deadlock.
The pressure was now on for both teams to break the stalemate and even though Compton had a few probing chances of their own, they were unable to get past Paradise’s solid defensive team led by captain Barry Skeete and Zico Phillips.
It took 82nd minutes into the game for Paradise to take a 1-0 lead through Applewhaite and that was enough to seal the victory.
In the second encounter of the night, newcomers, Ellerton Football United held Phone Medic Repair Belfield to a 1-1 draw.
The St George lads, Ellerton, wearing red played as though they belonged after hauling their way back from a goal down to equalize against Belfield who had a point to prove having only been promoted to the Premier League last year.
Both teams were evenly matched in midfield and after what was shaping up to be an uneventful first half, Belfield earned themselves a penalty which was taken by Alvin Chapman. He unleashed a powerfully struck left-footed shot past Ellerton’s goalkeeper Jamar Brewster in the 45+1 minute to give the Black Rock- based side a 1-0 advantage heading into half-time.
Ellerton needed to impress and they did not disappoint. The equalizer came during the 82nd minute off the boot of Romario Watson who dribbled past Belfield’s defence for a clinical one-time finish. Coming on to the latter stages it could have been 2-1 to Ellerton when substitute Damien Small rushed on to a ball passed inside the box but was met by a timely tackle from behind by Chapman who ensured Ellerton had no bragging rights in their first Premier League match for 2017 league season.