By Morissa Lindsay
Empire Club were left stunned by Pride of Gall Hill who registered a well-deserved 3-1 victory and booked their place in the quarterfinal round of the Barbados Football Association (BFA) Republic Cup competition last night at the BFA Headquarters in
No one saw that coming where Premier League powerhouses Empire would be knocked out by Gall Hall who were demoted from top flight football a couple years ago and based on their performance so far in this post-COVID restrictions tournament, are intent on giving the top teams a run for their money.
Gall Hill coached by Barry Taylor advanced into the final eight thanks to the brilliance of Shaquone Welch with the opener in the 17th minute along with two second half goals by Shaquann Jones in the 53rd minute and Andre Daniel in the 66th minute respectively.
Many failed attempts at goal compounded with tardiness by Empire’s defence resulted in them losing the match which was their first defeat for the tournament. Striker Zinio
Harris with a well-executed 90th placement
was the lone goalscorer for the Empire men in blue.
From the start Gall Hill’s youthful attacking third probed the Empire’s backline led by the experienced captain Omar Primus. However, not even Primus nor his backline that included former senior national player Alvin Chapman could have stopped Gall Hill from scoring as Welch got Gall Hill off the mark.
It was an impressive first half goal from Welch on the right wing as he outpaced his marker and squared the ball inside the area, chased it down and somehow managed
to chip it past defender Chapman who is also known for doing a good job in that left back position.
The ball was so well placed that not even Empire goalkeeper Jerome Blackman was able to prevent it from going in because he was off his mark in the process. A few minutes later after that Empire won themselves a free kick in search of the equalizer but failed to make it count.
The match itself was a physical contest without doubt as referee Jamar Springer was forced to intervene several times. Both teams lost players via the red card route as Gall Hill lost two players when Ramon Rollins (37th) and goalscorer Jones (84th) were sent packing by referee Springer. They both received two yellow cards that constituted a red and Empire also lost veteran Curtis Odle who was sent off in the 64th minute for the use of abusive language.
With Gall Hill being the first team to be at a numerical disadvantage, Empire at this stage of the game would have felt they were in with a chance to not only equalize but possibly win. And why not have that confidence when you have former Barbados captain Norman Forde in your setup. Forde clearly still has the ability to apply pressure on any opposition backline and such was the case as he did well in the midfield for Empire.
Gall Hill played as though they had 11 men on the field instead of ten as they continued to attack the final third and forced Empire defenders into action as they took that important 1-0 lead into halftime.
Bearing in mind that the losers go home, the Empire team known as the Mighty Blues needed to come hard in the second half
and the only way for them to do that was to score their chances which they continuously failed to do when opportunities presented themselves.
In the second half instead of equalizing, Empire conceded another goal when a buildup play from the right found Jones in the 53rd minute and he buried a shot back of the nets like a bullet past two of Empire marksmen. At this stage of the game it was turning out to be a nerve wracking moment for Empire down two goals and minutes later in the 66th they conceded an unwanted penalty.
Daniel stepped up to take the shot and made no mistake when he curled it into the upper left side of the goal bars as Empire keeper Blackman did not stand a chance. Gall Hall was clearly in the driver’s seat and with Empire self-destructing at the back, Gall Hill at this stage of the match knew they were well on their way.
Odle being stupidly sent off as well did not help matters for Empire either as he came on in place of the prolific Forde who did a good job on the right wing which was good to see given that he is now age 45.
Empire striker Harris with the lone goal for them fought well against Gall Hill defence and after two failed attempts he was able to score on the third strike but it was not enough as the game had long gotten away from them.
In another match played, Weymouth Wales defeated Brittons Hill 3-0.