The much-anticipated top of the table clash between Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) and Neighbour Care Pharmacy Weymouth Wales ended in a tame 1-1 draw last night at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf.
As round one of the Digicel-sponsored Barbados Football Association’s Premier League draws near the end, table leaders BDFSP came into yesterday’s matchup on 22 points, three ahead of second placed Wales on 19, and both teams in must-win mode.
A victory by the soldiers would have earned them three points, taking their tally to 25 but instead both teams received one point each for the draw which took BDFSP to 23 points having played all nine matches in this round with seven wins and two draws.
Wales have now moved to 20 points having played eight games, won six and drawn two. Should they win their final match of round one they will join the BDFSP on 23 points.
The BDFSP opened up early with the ball, making a number of passes in the midfield and had Wales on the defensive. After what was appearing to be an uneventful first half, Rashad Jules shook the nets on the stroke of half time to give the BDFSP a 1-0 lead.
The national midfielder struck his seventh goal of the season with a beauty from 38 yards out when he curled the ball past custodian Omari Eastmond who basically was in the right position but still did not stand a chance in the 45th minute of play.
Wales had their work cut out at the beginning of the second half and Jules with a great cross from the right flank found DeCarlo Jemmott positioned in front the goal bars but the striker sent it over the top post.
Wales needed to make something happen and a couple minutes into the second half they managed to control ball possession with leading striker Romario Harewood, Tristan Parris, Hadan Holligan, all trying to work their magic to create goal-scoring opportunities.
The coaching staff of Wales had seen enough and brought on top forward Arantees Lawrence in the 60th minute in place of midfielder Lennie Regis. With two of the top national players, Harewood and Lawrence probing the BDFSP’s defence, it was just a matter of time before something happened and that it did when Wales earned themselves a free-kick compliments Harewood being brought down at the top left post of the 18-yard box by Omani Leacock. The former BDFSP captain stepped up in the 70th minute and scored to the right of national goalkeeper Dario Weir who went the opposite direction.
Both BDFSP and Wales also needed to win in order to receive the $500 dollars prize money at stake and even though Wales made a few attempts coming onto the latter stages especially Harewood in the 90th minute with a shot that went just past the goal bars.
As top of the table leaders battled it out, the two teams facing relegation, Waterford Compton and Brittons Hill, both featured yesterday and were unable to pull off wins to ease their worries.
In the 4 p.m. match, Rendezvous defeated Compton 2-0 with goals being scored before half time by Keon Atkins in the 27th minute and Jomo Brathwaite in the 40th. In the final match of the night Paradise edged Brittons Hill 1-0 compliments a strike taken by Mario Williams in the 83rd minute.
As it stands, Rendezvous are in third position on 17 points, Paradise are fourth on 14, followed closely by Notre Dame on 11 in fifth place and Ellerton on nine remain in sixth place. Defending champions University of the West Indies Blackbirds continue to struggle with a mere six points, Belfield Soccer Club with five points are in eighth place. Compton, having played seven matches, with one win and six losses, are in ninth position on three points, one more than Brittons Hill who have played nine games with seven losses and two draws.