Former Barbados football captain Gregory ‘Lalu’ Goodridge has another success story about which he can brag.
In the presence of a massive crowd Tuesday night at the Barbados Lumber Company grounds, Goodridge, named Most Valuable Player, led St George Secondary to their second title as champions of the 2017 Banks Bragging Rights Old Scholars Football Competition.
In a pulsating battle, St George with an impressive lineup that included Goodridge and Rashidi Williams, another former national player and versatile midfielder, came from a goal down to equalize 1-1, forcing the match into a penalty shoot-out and in the end it was the men in green that came out on top 4-2 victors against Coleridge and Parry.
When the night had concluded St George took home the honours for Best Goalkeeper in Alvin Brathwaite and Best Defender compliments Louis Croney, while Norman Forde, of St Lucy Secondary (Daryll Jordan), another former national captain, accounted for the most goals with eight.
But the man who really stood out during this year’s competition and has done so throughout his football career was Goodridge who became the first Barbadian in 1994 to play in the English Premiership, having signed an 18-month contract with Torquay United.
The pacy winger has had many successes behind his name and among his many achievements was leading Barbados for the first time in the semifinals of the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean world qualifiers.
However, Tuesday’s moment of glory was just as sweet for the man from Ellerton, St George.
St George’s failure to put away a bounty of chances almost cost them the final as both Goodridge and Williams missed a number of opportunities in the first half. Some of these efforts had supporters holding their heads and at times jumping from their seats in disbelief.
The score remained goalless as the first 25 minutes of the opening half expired. But Coleridge and Parry who were well controlled in the midfield and final third by St George made good use of that one goal-scoring opportunity which presented itself in the second period.
A long searching ball was controlled inside the 18-yard box and was quickly passed off to Kurt Bellamy and he buried a high right-footed shot past St George keeper Brathwaite who was unmoved in the 43rd minute.
Four minutes before the conclusion of regular time in the 46th minute, Williams took a solid looking 20-yard strike outside the box and the ball deflected off Shane Welch for the equalizer which brought some hope for St George and their posse.
One could sense the game heading for a penalty shoot-out with limited time on the clock and indeed it was.
Goodridge led by example as he sent a scorcher of an effort past Coleridge and Parry goalkeeper Charles Miller. Williams, Welch and Jomo Harewood scored the next three penalties for St George. Meanwhile, for Coleridge and Parry, Bellamy and Ervin Charles were the only two that got past Brathwaite who made two fantastic saves to deny Henderson Forde and Wayne Hunte.
The plate final went to the parish of St Andrew, as The Alleyne School were comfortable 2-0 winners over Deighton Griffith.
The first goal came about in the 17th minute when Jamal Batson, unmarked down the right flank, squared a delightful ball over to his left which found Paul Straughn and he blasted a low corner kick to the right of the goal bars past Deighton Griffith goalkeeper Trevor Devonish who completely misjudged the direction of the ball.
The Alleyne School returned in the second half to answer spectators’ call and that was to ensure that the game did not go into a penalty shoot out. Zaheer Burnett responded in the 39th time period, as he chipped the ball over the head of Devonish and watched it rolled into the back of the nets.