Clayton’s Kola Tonic Notre Dame snatched a 2-1 victory over the University of the West Indies Blackbirds on the opening night of the Barbados Football Association’s League season last night at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf.
Under the guidance of new head coach David Ward, the Bayville, St Michael-based team took the three match-winning points and the reward of BDS$500 to take an early lead in the zone one standings.
Notre Dame opened the scoring with a beauty in the 34th minute of the first half through national forward Dishon ‘Eto’ Howell. The talented marksman took control of a 30-yard pass from eventual man-of-the-match Azarel Croney, then produced a delightful strike that saw the ball dip under the crossbar and into the back of the nets. UWI’s custodian Bentley Springer stood no chance.
UWI led by captain Mario Harte pulled their socks up and began to really attack the final third. Their probing efforts were rewarded a minute before halftime in the 44th period when Romell Bynoe formerly of Rendezvous shot the equalizer.
A flighted corner from midfielder Kobe Shepherd found the forehead of Bynoe whose bullet-like finish comprehensively beat Dames’ goalkeeper Jason Welch who had a good game except for that moment.
UWI coached by Fabian Massiah were favourites to get past Notre Dame and they began pressuring the ball on commencement of the second half. They found the back of the nets thanks to Bynoe but that effort was disallowed by referee Jamar Springer.
UWI’s management decided to bring on national Under-20 player Niall Reid-Stephen to add more firepower to their attack. The youthful talent worked upfront with Harte and Bynoe in search of that go-ahead goal and provided plenty of problems for Dames’ defence. But they did not score.
As so often occurs in these tight situations, disaster can strike when least expected. An own goal in the 65th minute by midfielder Akeem Browne gave UWI a bitter pill to swallow and earned Notre Dame that important goal that turned out to be the winning one. But UWI had no one except themselves to blame, having had about 21 shots at goal compared to seven by Dames.
Two-time defending champions Weymouth Wales were held to a goalless draw against newly promoted Barbados Soccer Academy [BSA]. Wales, coached this season by Thomas Jordan who replaced Ward, did not seem as sharp on the attack as they did last season.
A draw against Wales can be seen as an upset considering they are the powerhouses in the local premiership having captured two championships over the last two seasons and having the most titles of 18 – more than any side in the competition. The BSA had good reason to believe that this was akin to a victory.
Forward Arantees Lawrence along with attacking midfielders Hadan Holligan and Romario Harewood asked a few questions upfront but BSA’s defence was equal to the task. And similarly, earlier on in the exchanges, BSA put Wales’ fortress-like defence that includes Ricardo Morris under significant pressure. But neither of the two teams gave any quarter and both proved equal to the task of defending their goal line.
Porey Springs Football Club stared victory in its face with a 2-0 advantage only for it to be snatched away when they came up against Brittons Hill who came from behind to draw 2-2.
Porey Springs’ captain Shaquille Stewart and Jomo Harewood struck goals in the 35th and 52nd minutes. But the Brittons Hill duo of Zidkigah Samuel and Tristan Alleyne responded in the 65th and 87th to deny Porey Springs their anticipated glory.