Forde on fire
NORMAN FORDE lit the flames for Fire House at the National Stadium on Thursday night.
He gave Phoenix UFO Toyota Fire House what neither he nor his national teammates could do in four winless and goalless World Cup football qualifiers for Barbados.
Forde’s double strike from a fantastic free-kick and a volley spurred Fire House to a thrilling 2-1 victory over Broad Street Men & Women Red Tridents in easily the most competitive match so far in the LIME Pelican Challenge.
Fire House joined Nu Look 360 Connection at the top of Group A on five points and a guaranteed quarter-final spot.
Forde gave Fire House a 1-0 lead after 18 minutes, curling his free kick into Vasco “Ninja” Husbands’ far corner as the veteran goalkeeper, who had earlier saved from Ricky Barnes, got only his fingers to the ball.
Seven minutes later six-footer Wyatt Maynard equalized for the Tridents when he tried to head a free kick from John Hawkesworth and the ball fortuitously rolled off the back of his neck and beat Fire House goalkeeper Jason Boxill at the back post.
The 3 000-strong crowd thought Maynard had added a second goal when the ball ended up in the nets following a perfect cross from Omar Archer, but the ball actually went in off the side-netting.
Earlier, Fire House had a goal disallowed.
There was an electrifying start to the second half with Barnes rattling the crossbar with a volley. Then Forde scored one of the best goals of the tournament and probably sealed his second straight Player-Of-The-Week Award.
A cross by Barnes was skilfully tapped into Forde’s path by Paul Lovell and the national playmaker unfurled a one-time volley into the roof of the nets before Husbands could react.
The Tridents had three golden opportunities to equalize but squandered all.
Two fell to striker Walton Burrowes, who was dispossessed by Fire House’s hard-working sweeper Oscar Nero as the ball bobbled up before he could shoot.
After a melee in front of goal following a corner, Jonathan Straker’s left-foot shot was finally blocked. Then Burrowes incredibly opted for power instead of placement after controlling a lovely ball, played over the defence by Hawkesworth on his chest, and skewed his shot wide from ten yards.
In the night’s first match, Scotty’s Combined Stars, with St John MP Mara Thompson joining them on the bench for the second half, also qualified for the quarter-finals following a scrappy goalless draw with DirecTV Red Snappers.
The Stars now have five points, the same as Barbados Steel Works Top Bay Settlers, while the Snappers moved to four points.
Red Snappers goalkeeper Richard Corbin had an outstanding night, making some timely saves, none better than a reflex diving left-hand stop to keep out a stinging left-booter from Tristan Parris.
The easiest chance of the game fell to Snappers’ Kenroy Skinner. A miss by Stars sweeper Alvin “Gate Man” Holder let Skinner through for a one-on-one with goalkeeper Kareem Farrell but he pushed his effort wide of the right post.
Corbin also pushed away a header from Parris from a free kick by midfielder Malcolm “Buju” Marshall and deflected a shot from substitute Jeremy Bradshaw.
Snappers were denied an injury time penalty when substitute Damian McDonald appeared to be fouled in the area by Alex Belgrave but referee Matthew Alleyne waved play on.