Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge’s delightful brace ensured the 2018 Kola Kick Barbados Masters Football Association Knockout competition trophy remained with Wildey for a third consecutive year as they defeated Paradise 4-2 at the Barbados Football Association’s Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf yesterday.
There is no better way to describe the 7.p.m. final contest than a see-saw battle between the top two master teams in the country. Paradise facing a 2-0 deficit managed to break free and score twice to equalize 2-2. This levelled the playing field with minutes to go in the dying stages of the encounter.
Just when the showdown seemed headed for a penalty shootout, Goodridge, a former national captain and striker rolled back the years with two eye-catching goals as Wildey destroyed any hope Paradise had of possibly pulling off an upset win.
Speaking after the game, the 46-year old Goodridge told Barbados TODAY there was no doubt his team would retain the title. “I know on the night when my team is sound we can beat anybody and when we were two-love up, I was confident that it was all over, we had the game in hand. But after they came from behind to equalize, I said the only thing to do now is push for everything and that is just what we did.”
Coached by Anthony Pilgrim, last week Wildey won the Division One league title and returned yesterday to complete the double with a quality attack that included former Barbados number one goalkeeper Bernard Howell, they also had pacey right-winger Anthony Forde and central defender Julian Mottley.
Forde was a constant headache for Paradise’s defensive third with his speed and it was just a matter of time before Wildey scored and that they did in the tenth minute. Great work by Forde to out-sprint the opposition’s defence, was followed by a superb pass over to Kirk Bellamy on the left for a right foot volley that left Paradise custodian Albert Brathwaite for dead.
At least two other goals should have been put away in the back of the nets before the 30-minute opening half had expired but Wildey never capitalize and the score remained 1-0 at half time.
Center referee Michael Lewis was kept quite busy and was very entertaining with his movements and hand signals. Wildey Masters maintained that same attacking tempo earlier on in the second half and that resulted in another goal from none other than the dangerman Goodridge in the 44th minute.
Wildey played well for the most part but became too lackadaisical having had the 2-0 advantage. They began to nap especially their defence, giving Paradise too much room in the final third which was to their own detriment.
Paradise found some fortune over on the left flank and secured their first goal of the match compliments Terry Odle who took hold of a pass and finished the job in the 46th minute of the exchange.
The way Paradise began to control ball possession and dominate the midfield, it was just a matter of time before they netted the equalizer which came two minutes later in the 48th minute when a play up the left, found Terry Odle who took advantage of the fact that the defender slipped inside the 18-yard box which gave the diminutive player enough time and space to shoot a perfect shot.
That goal struck reality into Wildey that the game was never over until the final whistle and both Goodridge along with Forde began to play a more attacking game. Forde finally got his name on the score sheet in the 53rd minute to break the deadlock.
Then for icing on the cake, Goodridge produced what was no doubt the goal of the night when he dribbled through Paradise’s defence on the left and executed a skilful left-foot shot that went straight to the goal bars and past the keeper Brathwaite for what was a well-deserved victory for Wildey.