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‘Pride’ upset Akademiks


‘Pride’ upset  Akademiks

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IT?WAS?an entertaining opening night for the LIME Pelican Football Challenge on Sunday at the National  Stadium with some surprising results.
Defending champions Akademiks were blanked 2-0 by Bajan Pride;  Kick LG Strike Force needed a late strike  to secure a 1-0 win over TS Strikers and ten-man DirecTV Red Snappers rallied from two goals down to defeat Barbados Steel Works/Esso Oistins Top Bay Settlers 3-2  in a match that got the spectators off their seats.
Two-time semi-finalists Top Bay Settlers took  an early lead in the  sixth minute as Edwin Brereton’s right-foot shot ricocheted off a defender and flew into the goal, leaving goalkeeper  Taizeo Riley helpless.
Three minutes later, Red Snappers’ centre-back Steven Griffith was given marching orders after receiving his second bookable offence for bringing down Mustafa Haqq in the area.
Raheim Sargeant stepped up to comfortably convert the penalty kick against his former team.
Down 0-2 and a player short, Red Snappers refused to lie down and were rewarded for their efforts in the tenth minute, courtesy a strike by Decarlo Jemmott.
Jamar Moore received  a ball down the right  hand side and played  a well-weighted pass across the goalmouth  for an unmarked  Jemmott to slot home  from three yards.
Top Bay lacked the killer instinct to stretch their lead and consequently kept Red Snappers in the game,  an act they surely regretted. Rashad Jules, with his pace and skill, weaved by a couple of Top Bay defenders and shot his effort into the roof, giving goalkeeper Delandro Belgrave no chance, to level the score 2-2 in the 60th minute.
Jemmott became joint top scorer with Harewood in the 70th minute, aided by some catastrophic goalkeeping by Belgrave.
 It seemed like a routine save for the custodian after a rather weak effort came from distance, but Belgrave spilled the ball and Jemmott was the beneficiary as he poked the loose ball  over the line, giving  his team a 3-2 lead.
Top Bay pressed  dearly for the important equalizer with substitute Brett Carrington coming close on a few occasions, but they were denied  by a courageous, collective effort from Red Snappers.
Earlier, Jomo Harewood gave a true striker’s display as his first-half brace was enough to give 2011 champions Bajan Pride a comfortable three points to take the early lead in Group A.
In the second fixture, both Strike Force and  TS Strikers seemed a bit tentative in their offensive approach and created few scoring opportunities  in the first half.
The second half  showed much of the same, as neither team was able to penetrate the other’s defence and most of the action took place in the middle of the park.
Second-half substitute Terrell “Peter Pan” Gibbons broke the deadlock in the  90th minute.
A cross from the right side by Hadan Holligan missed a couple of players in the box and wound  up on the boot of Gibbons. He showed tremendous composure to shoot  inside the area under pressure from the advancing Omari Eastmond in goal.