Former champions Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme began their 2018 Barbados Football Association Premier League campaign with a thrilling 3-2 win against the newly promoted St Andrew Lions last night at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf.
Runners-up to Weymouth Wales last season in the league final, the BDFSP are out front early in the zone two standings having earned themselves three-match points. The soldiers welcomed the Lions to the premiership one minute into the match compliments forward T-Shane Lorde.
National captain Rashad Jules is known for his burst of speed down the left field and he advanced towards the Sargeant Village end, delivered a lovely cross to Lorde for a well-placed header past St Andrew goalkeeper Romain Primus.
BDFSP had two penalty kicks successfully taken by national utility player and man-of-the-match Raheim Sargeant. Sargeant put St Andrew’s defensive third to the test, and they fell for the bait when Donovan Lavine with the captain’s armband was found guilty by referee Jamar Springer of fouling Sargeant in the area.
Sargeant, one of the most experienced players in the BDFSP side scored from the 12-yard penalty spot in the 35th minute to give his team a 2-0 advantage. However, seconds before the stroke of half-time St Andrew pulled one back in the 45th minute off a right corner shot that found the boot of Jefferson Silva, one of three Brazilian nationals representing St Andrew Lions.
Unlike the opening half when St Andrew clustered in the midfield and were beaten on the flanks numerous times by Jules and Sargeant, Lions spread themselves wide to receive the ball which worked in their favour and resulted in the 2-2 equalizer.
In the 61st minute, a free kick from St Andrew’s half made its way into the 18-yard box, and was headed on by Shakir Skeete who forced BDFSP goalkeeper Albert Brathwaite into action as the ball made its way towards the bars. But Brathwaite didn’t gather the ball competently and there was a Bruno Da Silva for the header from point-blank range.
However, BDFSP responded four minutes later in the 65th minute with a penalty taken by Sargeant to break the deadlock for a hard-fought victory.
Since the start of this year’s league season, six matches have concluded in draws including last night’s opening game between newly promoted Youth Milan and Paradise.
After a goalless first half Paradise scored through Chai Lloyd in the 74th minute for a bittersweet 1-0 lead as they also lost national goalkeeper Jason Boxill who was red-carded for a reckless challenge. That resulted in a penalty taken by Richard Corbin in the 82nd minute that levelled the game.