ELLERTON, Mackeson Brittons Hill and OKG Rendezvous secured semi-final berths in the KFC Champions Cup knockout competition with quarter-final victories at the Wildey Football AstroTurf on Sunday night.
Shandel Samuel, one of five Vincentians in Rendezvous’ line-up, compensated for missing a penalty with a second-half brace to help the Division 2 side oust six-time champions Claytons Kola Tonic Notre Dame 2-0 in a fast-paced, action-packed game that had the large crowd buzzing.
Earlier, Ellerton triumphed 4-1 over Sargeants and Brittons Hill won 3-1 over DirecTV Paradise.
The nightcap match wasn’t without controversy and the Dames’ posse felt hard done by as some decisions went against them.
Rendezvous were awarded a penalty in the 26th minute by referee Trevor Taylor after Dames defender Kimoi Seale handled the ball but goalkeeper Kareem Farrell moved correctly to his right to parry Samuel’s effort.
At the other end, the Dames’ appeal for a penalty when Aaron Leacock went down under a challenge by Wayne Sobers was waved off by Taylor.
With John “Nobby” Parris sidelined by injury, another veteran, John Hawkesworth, took up the role as sweeper and did an excellent job, marshalling the Dames’ defence.
Teenager Shane Mottley weighed in with some timely interceptions while Hawkesworth tried to overlap at times through the midfield where Rendezvous held sway with Vincentian trio Romano Snagg, Norel George and Damal Francis.
But it was Farrell’s heroics with some superb saves that really stopped the Dames from conceding in a goalless first half.
Rendezvous eventually took the lead in the 60th minute when Samuel was set free down the left side by his cousin, Myron Samuel.
He smartly used his arms to push away the challenge from Leon Todd but the offence wasn’t deemed a foul by Taylor and the St Vincent and the Grenadines’ national captain flicked the ball past Farrell.
The two Samuels also combined for Rendezvous’ second goal in the 70th minute. This time Myron split the Dames’ defence and Shandel confidently placed the ball out of Farrell’s reach.
In the evening’s second game, Brittons Hill turned back nine-man Paradise, who suffered a major setback when goalkeeper Jason Boxhill was sent off in the 28th minute for a foul on Arantees Lawrence on the edge of the six-yard box.
A penalty was awarded, and after Paradise sacrificed midfielder Jomo Harris to bring on reserve goalkeeper Delandro Belgrave, Riviere Williams converted the spot kick.
Armando Lashley equalized for Paradise in the 50th minute, placing a left-foot shot to the left of goalkeeper Rashad Ince.
Despite being a man short, Paradise played commendably with the experienced Kent Hall and Kodi Mark combining well in midfield.
But the turning point came when Mark was replaced by teenager Sebastian Hunte shortly after, as defender Tito Beckles was sent off by Adrian Skeete in the 80th minute for verbal dissent after he was whistled for a tackle on Walton Burrowes.
Two minutes later, Brittons Hill capitalized on the two-man advantage with Elsid Miggins pushing the ball across the line after Belgrave spilled a fierce free kick from substitute Rondelle Vaughan.
Burrowes sealed victory with an injury time goal after he was set up by Lawrence.
In the first game, national Under-17 striker Shakille Belle also had a double strike to spearhead Ellerton to a 4-1 victory over Sargeants.
Ellerton led 2-0 at half-time through goals by Rosean Brathwaite (27th) and Renaldo Phillips (39th) but things got dicey in the second half.
Ellerton’s left wing back Javon Austin was sent off in the 51st minute for an infringement in the penalty area and Randy Straughn pulled back a goal for Sargeants with the conversion of the spot kick.
But Belle ensured there was no resurgence from Sargeants, scoring from a free kick just outside the 18-yard box in the 64th minute and climaxing Ellerton’s win with a close-range finish three minutes from time.