Empire needed just one point to top Division One and return to the Digicel Premier League but a brace from Porey Spring striker Shaquille Stewart stalled their chance to do so as they lost 2-1 at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf Thursday night.
It was definitely a big win for Porey Spring looking to be one of two Division One teams to be promoted this year. And having defeated the top contenders Empire they have further improved their chances.
Empire were demoted last year but showed good form this year in their quest to make a return to the big league. Those on hand to witness the encounter were looking for the Bank Hall lads to cement one of two results Thursday by either pulling off a win or a draw. However it was not meant to be and they will have to wait until their next game to celebrate.
Having played at the turf on numerous occasions in the 2015 to 2016 premiership, Empire were able to control the ball a lot better and pass more precisely opposed to Porey Springs who never really had much playing time on the surface and struggled in the earlier part of the exchanges especially with noticeable half passes.
Four minutes before half-time Empire led 1-0 when a lovely pass from the midfield found Andre Pinder for a great finish past Porey Spring’s custodian Anthony Rollins diving in vain to his right in the 41st minute. The advantage remained with the men in blue at half time.
The second half began and Empire played a more defensive game by having two sweepers at the back but Porey Spring still managed the equalizer in the 59th minute through a penalty kick taken by Shaquille Stewart who was recklessly tackled by Empire goalkeeper Dale Addison, leaving his mark despite his defensive team being right there to take care of business. But Addison opted to handle it himself at the expense of the team.
As the game approached the latter stages, both sides played attacking football especially Empire who failed to put away their chances and the one opportunity Porey Spring got in the 83rd minute they made good use of it. Deyonte Monroe squared to Stewart for a powerful finish past Empire keeper Addison inside the 18-yard box. Empire had no means to return and Porey Spring’s camp rejoiced.
Empire currently on 47 points have played 21 games, won 14, drawn five, lost two, with 51 goals for, 16 against, with a goal difference of 35. In second position with a total of 44 points are Youth Milan who have so far played 23 matches, won 12, drawn eight, lost three, with 41 goals for, 19 against and a goal difference of 22. Silver Sands have 44 points having played the same 23 matches for third place after winning 13, drawn five, lost five, with 47 goals for and 33 against with a goal difference of 14. Those are the top three teams with Porey Spring in fourth on 41 points having contested 21 games, won 11, drawn eight and suffered two losses with 49 goals for, 23 goals against and a goal difference of 26.
In the other match played Wotton defeated Pinelands 3-1. Shakim Shepherd in the 63rd, Reco Baptiste in the 72nd and an own goal in the 78th minute accounted for Wotton’s win. Meanwhile Ray Francis netted the lone goal for Pinelands in the 67th minute.