It was a game that whetted the appetites of football lovers Sunday night. And when the final whistle sounded defending champions, University of the West Indies Blackbirds, were on the losing end once more.
Blackbirds are yet to score a win in this year’s Digicel-sponsored Barbados Football Association Premier League and a very focused Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme made it two defeats in two games with a thrilling 3-2 win in front of their exuberant fans at the National Stadum.
The soldiers had held the title for three consecutive years before relinquishing it to the UWI Blackbirds last year and therefore last night’s featured game was one not to be missed.
That win has taken the soldiers to six-points at the top of the standings, and made them $1000 richer, having won both of their opening games this season.
UWI were very attacking from the opening whistle, especially in the midfield marshalled by Jomo Harris, and that allowed them to take a 1-0 lead as early as the 12th minute. Justin White from the middle crossed to Mario Harte on the left flank, and the national striker placed a well-measured ball that connected onto the forehead of Corey Barrow and into the back of the nets.
The Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme needed to find the equalizer and it came during the 38th minute with a powerful shot taken by Rashad Jules. The ball hit the upright of the goal post and bounced over the score line to bring parity to proceedings.
It was even-steven and with UWI captain Harte trying to work his magic on the ball, BDF defenders did not offer him much room to execute those vicious right foot shots. Two minutes before half- time in the 43rd minute, the BDF took a 2-0 advantage off a corner taken from the right, which found Rashad Smith for a great finish with a low right-footed strike past UWI custodian, Kwame Haynes.
It could have been 3-0 to the soldiers when Shaquille Boyce controlled the ball beautifully on his chest, followed with a long penetrative pass inside the 18-yard box which had the UWI defenders scrambling but the ball was kicked just wide of the goal bars.
The battle continued in the second half with UWI showing lots more aggression and that resulted in one of their marksmen being brought down inside the danger zone. Barrow stepped up to take the shot in the 63rd minute, delivering a solid shot which BDF’s goalkeeper Kishmar Primus got a hand to but was unable to hang on and that allowed Barrow to score the rebound and make the score 2-2.
It was game on at this stage and the soldiers applied more speed during their attacking plays, UWI found themselves having to defend a bit too often. The BDF’s assertiveness earned them a free kick after Jules was brought down just on the outside of the 18-yard box. Smith was the man who took the shot which he curled superbly to the left of the UWI goalkeeper and sealed the match.
There were two earlier games played where Rendezvous Football Club defeated Brittons Hill United Football Club 2-0 thanks to goals scored by Shandel Samuels and Rashida Williams in the tenth and 76th minutes respectively. Meanwhile Paradise and Weymouth Wales played to a goalless draw.