St. Andrew Lions roared to an early 1-0 lead, but Paradise responded with three excellent goals to begin their Barbados Football Association Premier League season on a victorious 3-1 note at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf last night.
The Dover, Christ Church-based Paradise team got off to a slow start as St Andrew struck first off a free-kick opportunity that was scored by forward Jefferson Silva in the 18th minute. That goal was the Brazilian’s second of the league season.
Three minutes later and the Lions’ celebrations would be shortlived as Dario Harewood responded with the equalizer for Paradise. Playing up front alongside national midfielder Armando ‘Suga’ Lashley, Harewood capitalized on an opening. The tall lad dribbled past one defender and skillfully scored on an aerial ball chipped over the head of St. Andrew custodian Romain Primus who came off his mark.
Paradise were without head coach Kenville Layne currently in Miami, Florida, coaching the national Under-20 squad competing in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Nations League Tournament.
They were also without a few of their top national players such as Mario ‘Bagga’ Williams who is playing semi-professional football in Antigua. Senior national goalkeeper Jason Boxill is currently in training for the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League encounter against the United States Virgin Islands and Ackeel Applewhaite is overseas with the Under-20 side.
Despite not having Williams and Applewhaite, they were boosted by Jomo Harris’ return to his home base this year, having previously plied his trade for the University of the West Indies Blackbirds over the past few years. Harris along with Trevor ‘Taz’ Mayers did a fantastic job in the midfield with lots of attacking plays and were constant threats to the Lions.
Mayers welcomed himself back to the local premiership with a goal in the 56th minute to make it 2-1. Mayers had suffered a broken foot a few months ago. St. Andrew had several opportunities to break the deadlock when the score was at 1-1 before the first-half expired but they failed to capitalize on the opportunities. These missed chances returned to haunt them.
Credit to Paul Doughty who did a superb job in front of the goal bars with several outstanding saves to deny the Brazilian trio of Silva, Bruno Da Silva, and Marcos Carvalho. But as the game went on St. Andrew’s defence looked very suspect as they afforded Paradise too much breathing space in the final third and on the stroke of regular time they paid for it when Lashley scored a goal to his name in the 90th minute.
That win has now positioned Paradise in second place on four points behind group two leaders Empire on a total of six points. The men adorned in their traditional blue won their opening match 5-0 last week against Ellerton Football Club for three points. They then returned yesterday to trounce Youth Milan 2-0 with a goal each from last season’s leading goal scorer  Jabarry Chandler in the 26th minute and Renacko Thompson in the 52nd minute respectively.
The opening match last evening was a thriller between former three-time champions Barbados Defense Force Sports Programme and Ellerton. It was goals galore, but in the end, the game ended in a 3-3 draw, and perhaps deservingly so as neither team deserved to lose
The soldiers led 2-0 in the first half with a brace from senior national captain Rashad Jules in the 12th and 17th minutes. Ellerton then clawed their way back to equalize 2-2 with goals from Anson Barrow in the 45th minute and Shakille Belle in the 61st. This was followed by Jamar Grazette’s 66th-minute strike to give the St. George-based side a 3-2 advantage.
But just when Ellerton appeared to have things under control, national defender Rashad Smith responded for BDFSP with a goal in the 90th minute that silenced the prematurely celebratory mood on the Ellerton bench.