Nation e-Edition

Bajan Pride take a fall

Top Bay Settlers’ Ricardo Morris (left) holding off Steffan Boyce of defending champions Bajan Pride, who were bounced from the tournament. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)

By RANDY BENNETT | Tue, October 30, 2012 - 12:05 AM

LAST YEAR they were the first winners of the LIME Pelican Football Challenge.

This time around Tiger Malt Bajan Pride didn’t even make it past the first round.

In the biggest shocker of the competition to date, defending champions Bajan Pride crashed out of the lucrative tournament when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Indar Weir Travel Centre Top Bay Settlers on Sunday night at Kensington Oval.

Newcomers Emmerson Boyce/Fifth Avenue Bajan Elite also bowed out of the tournament at the group stage after being hammered 4-2 by Kick LG Strike Force, who finished atop Zone “A” with nine points.

Top Bay and LG Strike Force will be joined in the quarter-finals by Akademiks and Broad Street Men’s and Women’s Red Tridents, who booked their places after battling to a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the night’s feature match.

Red Tridents knew that anything but defeat would see them through to the next round, and they started promisingly.

Romayne Primus had to be on his toes to deny Curtis Odle after the latter twisted and weaved his way to the edge of the penalty area before unleashing a firm shot.

Another good move on the right saw Odle once more in the thick of things, but his threatening cross was headed out of danger by Renaldo Bignall.

An unmarked Mario Harte should have hit the target from ten yards out, but opted for power instead and blasted his shot high and wide over the crossbar.

How Damien Welch failed to find the back of the net after a mix-up between Red Trident’s last man Rommell Burgess and keeper Corey Bridgeman allowed him to sneak in on goal is anyone’s guess. Welch’s tame shot was parried away by Bridgeman, who regrouped to make the save.

Akademiks deservedly went ahead in the 41st minute when Jermaine Caesar latched onto a loose ball from a corner kick just inside the box, and hammered his shot between two Red Trident defenders and into the back of the net.

The second half saw Akademiks continuing from where they had left off, with Welch’s thunderous left-foot shot cannoning off the crossbar with Bridgeman beaten.

At the other end, Kadeem Atkins’ attempted scoop was brilliantly saved by Primus diving full stretch to his right. Harte also headed over from inside the box with Bridgeman at his mercy after a quick Akademiks’ counter-attack.

But with just 13 minutes remaining, Red Tridents drew level in brilliant fashion when Jason Ramsay released Ramon Greaves down the right flank with a beautiful ball.

Greaves made his way to the edge of the penalty area before picking out Riviere Williams with a pinpoint pass, which the striker easily turned into the back of the empty net.

Red Tridents should consider themselves lucky to still be in the competition, after another horrendous mistake by Burgess, who missed an attempted clearance, put Harte clean through on goal.

But Bridgeman superbly saved Harte’s shot low down to the left and scrambled to get the rebound before Jamar Thomas could pounce to earn his team a crucial point.

Earlier, knowing that anything other than a win would see them eliminated, Bajan Pride started promisingly and it came as no surprise when Walton Burrowes gave them the lead in the 32nd minute.

But Mustafa Haqq’s brilliant volley in first-half stoppage time drew Top Bay level and earned them a place in the knockout round.

In the evening’s first game, a double strike from Diquan Adamson (39th and 54th minutes), along with goals from Carl Joseph (69th) and Dwayne Mars in the 72nd minute, helped LG Strike Force dispose of Bajan Elite.

Barry Skeete put Bajan Elite in the lead in the 34th minute and Chai Lloyd scored a consolation goal in the 90th minute.

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