Brittons Hill win, Gall Hill lose
IT IS NOT EASY to climb two hills in one night.
Sportingbet Pinelands succeeded with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Pride of Gall Hill, but Bagatelle failed, falling by a similar scoreline to Mackeson Brittons Hill as the first round of the Digicel Premier League came to a pulsating climax on Sunday night at the National Stadium.
Meredian Youth Milan’s hard-fought come-from-behind 2-1 triumph over perennial champions Claytons Kola Tonic Notre Dame was followed by vital 2-1 victories for Mackeson Brittons Hill and Sportingbet Pinelands over Bagatelle and Gall Hill respectively.
Brittons Hill joined Paradise and ICE Wales in a three-way tie for second place on 16 points after they withstood relentless pressure in the last 15 minutes from Bagatelle in a match where both teams had English-trained coaches overseeing their strategy.
Lennux Ferdinand, the technical director of the St Philip-based LaFida Academy, has teamed up with the Valery boys while Julian Broomes is working with Bagatelle.
Bagatelle started brightly but 19-year-old striker John-Ross Benn and Imron Ponteen were both denied by excellent saves from Brittons Hill’s goaltender Kerry Holder.
The pendulum of the match shifted dramatically in the space of six minutes as Brittons Hill took a 2-0 lead.
Ricky Barnes opened the scoring on 33 minutes and captain Riviere Williams doubled the lead six minutes later, putting away a cross from fellow national player Jeffrey Williams.
Bagatelle pulled a goal back in the 57th minute when Ponteen went down the right flank and squared back the ball for his St Lucian compatriot Zacchaeus Polius to slide home in his first match of the season.
The two Williamses, then both squandered chances created from penetrating runs down the left side by 39-year-old veteran Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge, who was again employed in an attacking midfield position.
At the other end, Holder thwarted the hard-working Arantes Lawrence, who also missed an open header from a corner by Polius while central defender Germaine Caeser also stopped Lawrence in the nick of time.
Holder also saved a header by Polius from another corner by Rohan Weekes and denied substitute Charles Crichlow, who had replaced Lawrence.
At the other end, a goal-shy substitute Henderson Richards never got off his shot, allowing Bagatelle’s goalkeeper Mario Albert to grab the ball from his feet.
Before the fans could settle for the final match of the night, 16-year-old Jabarry Chandler gave Gall Hill a 1-0 lead after only five minutes.
But Pinelands struck back immediately after the ball was touched off with former Barbados striker Peter Stoute slamming home a cross from Dario Wilson.
The second half also started with a 46th-minute goal, which turned out to be the winner as Stoute beat Gall Hill’s goalkeeper Omari Eastmond with a back post header from a right side cross by Tito Sheet Jones. Surprisingly Gall Hill, with new Barbados assistant manager Terry Sealy and Andy Coward calling the shots from the bench, did not start with their energetic midfielder Curtis Odle, who came on at half-time.
Gall Hill’s best chance to equalize fell to substitute Jamal Chandler but his weak effort was easily picked up by Pinelands’ goalkeeper Romayne Primus.
Gall Hill, who have already lost Stephen Shakes Man Griffith to the BDF programme this season, were without their two frontline central defenders in Oscar Nero and Andre Daniel as well as Andre Snake Head Phillips and had to use Keston Ince and youngster Keon Harding at the back.