A late goal from midfield magician Hadan Holligan resulted in defending champions Weymouth Wales scraping a hard fought 1-0 victory over University of the West Indies Blackbirds last night in the Barbados Football Association Premier League played at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf.
Wales, the two-time defending league champions, have now positioned themselves five points clear at the top of zone one standings with a total of 23 points, ahead of UWI in the second position on 18 points.
If UWI had managed to score the win and earned those three vital match points, then they would have replaced Wales at the top of the zone.
However, that lovely header by senior national attacking midfielder Holligan (wearing the captain’s armband) in the 82nd minute has now placed UWI further adrift.
It was an important matchup that had a lot of physicality, fancy dribbles and missed opportunities which about summed up the goalless first-half between the two sides.
Knowing the significance of the game both teams fielded a quality line-up that included a number of senior national players.
In the opening half UWI should have definitely led 1-0 when Romell Bynoe positioned in the centre of midfield just behind top national forward Mario Harte allowed what should have been a simple header to land in the waiting gloves of Wales goalkeeper Omari Eastmond.
Just minutes before half-time in the 42nd minute, Wales suffered an unfortunate blow to their defence when national Under-20 player Andre Applewhaite at left-back picked up an unfortunate right thigh injury and had to be replaced right away by the veteran Jeffery Williams.
With both teams playing strong especially on defence, it would have taken something special for either team to get off the mark and that was exactly the situation when Wales began to spread the ball wide effectively.
Wales striker Kemar Headley did well to hold off UWI’s defence with a pass to Lawrence who then quickly pass off to Holligan lurking at the back post for a delightful header which was taken very low and earned the small man his maiden goal of the season.
It was a hard pill for UWI to swallow having played well only to concede. To make matters worse UWI’s coach Fabian Massiah was sent packing from the coaching bench during extra time after venting his frustrations about the calls made by referee Jamar Springer.
It would have taken a miracle for UWI to equalize and not even captain Harte, as talented and as experienced as he is, had the powers to score an equalizer at that stage.
Clayton’s Kola Tonic Notre Dame picked up another crucial win to cement themselves in the third position of zone one standings on 14 points.
Coached by David Ward, Notre Dame have begun to work their way back to winning ways and registered a 3-1 victory over Marks Auto Spares Porey Spring in the opening game last night at 7 p.m.
A victory for fourth place Porey Spring on nine points would have moved them into the third position ahead of the Bayland, St Michael-based Notre Dame side.
However, Notre Dame played well and national striker Zeco Edmee gave them the lead as early as the second minute when he capitalised on a defensive error made by Porey Spring.
There were lots of attacking plays and Notre Dame scored an additional two goals before half-time when Rickneco Marshall following a burst of speed down the right-wing squared to midfielder Azarel Crowney situated in the six-yard box for a wonderful finish in the 32nd minute.
Then the third goal came in the 45+1 minute compliments Dishon ‘Eto’ Howell. He fluffed a few earlier chances but made no mistake this time when he went one on one with Porey Spring goalkeeper Anthony Rollins and won the battle.
Porey Spring definitely had their work cut out for them in the second half and needed to attack more purposefully which they did and managed to score a goal through Pecos Nurse in the 53rd minute with a great header off a corner kick.