Defending champions Weymouth Wales and Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme [BDFSP] will play the Barbados Football Association Premier League final in a few weeks, but last night’s goalless draw was not the prelude many spectators wanted to see.
It was a game featuring two premier league giants with Wales being the reigning two-time defending champions and BDFSP, former three-time kings, and both currently top of their respective zones in the league.
Wales after yesterday’s 0-0 draw against the soldiers moved on to 40 points as they continue to lead zone one from 21 matches played. They have won 12, drawn four and lost five with a goal difference of 33 having had 51 for and 18 against.
Similarly, BDFSP is in control of zone two with a total of 52 points from 22 games having won 16 games, drawn four and lost two with a massive goal difference of 58 – 75 for and 17 scored against them.
Judging from the stats, BDFSP look poised to lift the title but will need to field a much stronger team if they are to stand a chance of dethroning Wales and reclaiming the league title when those two meet in the upcoming best of three league final.
However, during yesterday’s contest Wales had a much better showing with accurate passes and a lot more speed on the ball but disappointingly were unable to finish in the final third whenever they had the opportunity.
Coached by former national coach Thomas Jordan, Wales wearing white and green were first to find the back of the nets when former national striker Arantees Lawrence connected with the ball.
However, that goal was disallowed in a matter of seconds, actually 20-minutes into the exchange by centre referee Jamar Springer who found Lawrence guilty of an infringement on BDFSP defender Shakeel Browne.
Yet another scoring chance went abegging for Wales to take the lead 27 minutes into the exchange. This time it was Walton Burrowes who failed to put away the ball which was fed to him in the six-yard area.
And the same story continued throughout the opening half for Wales when former national player Jeffery Williams missed another easy goal. Wales’ captain Hadan Holligan did well to outpace BDFSP’s defence on the right wing towards the Sargeant Village end, squared to Williams in the midfield who took a 20-yard shot that went just wide of the bar and past national number one custodian Kishmar Primus.
Both teams were not at full strength as Wales were without the service of talented midfielder Romario Harewood and striker Kemar Headley while BDFSP noticeably fielded a lot of unfamiliar faces in their starting eleven.
Two of BDFSP best players, captain Shane Codrington who commanded the backline and senior national skipper and attacking midfielder Rashad Jules are currently out of Barbados having signed two-year contracts with Finland- based Kemi City Football Club.
However, the BDFSP bench led by coach Asquith Howell did not utilize top local players such as Rashad Smith, Raheim Sargeant, Akeem Hill and T’Shane Lorde.
Veteran Jamal Chandler positioned in defence played well and brought some much-needed substance to the backline in Codrington’s absence. That was undoubtedly a good move from the BDFSP management.
Both teams were excellent defensively, but BDFSP’s failure to field a strong team showed as they frequently erred in controlling their passes and getting the ball forward to challenge Wales’ defence.
Wales made a few substitutions late in the second half and went into attack mode when Shaquille Boyce, Jabar Green and Rico Graham came on in place of Holligan, Burrowes and Duwayne Peters in the 62nd, 69th and 75th minutes.
For BDFSP it would have taken a player like Jules and even Sargeant along with Hill to attack and apply offensive pressure which the men in yellow and green were severely lacking.
In what was a triple header yesterday, University of the West Indies Blackbirds edged Crane and Equipment Ellerton 2-1 in the opening match. Meanwhile, Paradise trounced Mark Auto Porey Springs 6-1 in the second fixture of the evening.