The final whistle blew Sunday night to conclude the 2017 Barbados Football Association’s Digicel Premier League season with the bottom two teams heading back to familiar territory in Division One.
Former champions Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme [BDFSP], the most consistent team in the premiership for the past five years under the guidance of head coach Asquith Howell, having won three consecutive titles from 2013-2015, finished as the second best team with a 3-2 victory over Brittons Hill. The latter survived to play another season after being relegation-threatened throughout the season.
BDFSP forward Duan Best broke down Brittons Hill’s defence as early as the fourth minute to shake the nets and give his team a 1-0 advantage up until half time as the opposition failed to respond.
A minute into the second half Terrance Coppin came on as a substitute in the 46th minute and quickly brought joy to Brittons Hill’s bench when he took on BDFSP defence inside the 18-yard box and buried one past Barbados’ top goalkeeper Dario Weir in the 58th minute for the equalizer.
It wasn’t long after in the 63rd minute to be exact that the soldiers were once again in a commanding position when midfielder Damario Ward from 30 yards out hooked his right boot around the ball which soared into the right top post of the goal bars.
That was followed by goal number three five minutes later in the 68th minute with a beauty from Rasheed Williams unmarked inside the danger zone. Williams connected his forehead with a 40-yard free kick that comprehensively beat Brittons Hill’s entire defence and goalkeeper Shaquille Frank who did not stand a chance.
With limited time to play, one felt that it was done and dusted for Brittons Hill but teenager Donte Greenidge did not intend to give up without a fight. Elsid Miggins with a very late run in the 91st period made a precise pass through the midfield to Greenidge who made his way inside the 18-yard box but was denied by keeper Weir who did well to get his body behind the ball but was untidy at the same time and allowed Greenidge to bury the rebound.
There was lots to play for Sunday including most goals that went to national player and Clayton’s Kola Tonic Notre Dame leading striker Zeco Edmee who needed three more goals to surpass the 15 by Neighborhood Care Pharmaceutical Weymouth Wales forward Arantees Lawrence who has been outstanding this season.
Edmee achieved his objective with a superb hattrick Sunday night to finish the season with 16 goals as Notre Dame trounced third placed Rendezvous 4-2. Apart from Edmee’s goals in the seventh, 64th and 74th periods, teenage national player Sheran Hoyte got his name on the score sheet in the 77th minute for Dames while Rashida Williams (22) and Janeico Baptiste (49) were the scorers for Rendezvous.
That outstanding win by the men from Bayland who finished fifth overall was not enough to prevent Paradise from taking fourth position. Paradise took a 1-0 lead, Belfield Soccer Club then managed to square it 1-1 but national midfielder Mario Williams became the hero when he buried a controversial penalty kick given by referee Mark Moses to clinch a hard-fought 2-1 victory. Scoring for the Dover men were Chai Lloyd and Mario Williams with one each in the 32nd and 94th minute respectively while Henderson Richards was responsible for Belfield’s lone goal in the 66th minute.
All ten teams in this year’s premiership played 18 matches, with Wales being crowned as champions last week Sunday having won 13 matches, drawn four, lost one, 51 goals for, 13 against, goal difference of 38 and 43 championship points. BDFSP having won 11, drawn five, lost two, 46 goals for, 21 against, goal difference of 25, copped a total of 38 points. Meanwhile Rendezvous were one win short behind the soldiers on ten, drew four, lost four, with 44 goals for, 29 against, a goal difference of just 15 and a tally of 34 points to round out the top three positions.
Fourth place finishers Paradise came out on top nine times this season, drew thrice, lost six, goals for 28, goals against 17 and a goal difference of 11 which earned them 30 points. Notre Dame won eight, drew and lost five respectively, secured 29 goals for and against with zero goal difference and one point less on 29 to end in fifth.
Last year’s champions University of the West Indies Blackbirds failed to make a major impact this season and came sixth with 24 points, Ellerton Football Club were seventh on 20 and Brittons Hill on 12 took eighth place. Waterford Compton on 11 points in ninth place and Belfield eight points will be exiting top-flight local football.