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‘Strikers’ LIME final


RANDY BENNETT

‘Strikers’ LIME  final

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THE “STRIKERS” WERE out in full force at the National Stadium on Sunday night.
Sensational performances from Diquan Adamson and Jabarry “Papi” Chandler propelled L. Strike Force and TS Strikers, respectively, into Saturday’s LIME Pelican Football Challenge finals in contrasting styles.
Playing in the night’s first game, Adamson produced a classy hat-trick to help lead Strike Force to a 5-1 demolition of Barbados Steelworks Esso Oistins Top Bay Settlers in a lopsided contest.
Chandler then starred for TS Strikers, netting a brace in his side’s thrilling 2-1 extra-time win over Bajan Pride, which brought a jam-packed stadium to its feet.
Spectators had barely settled into their seats to watch what was expected to be a keen contest before Adamson made his first impression on the game in brilliant fashion.
Elsid Miggins picked out the speedy striker with a perfectly weighted ball down the right flank which beat Top Bay’s offside trap.
Adamson ran onto the pass, and in one flowing motion cut inside his marker, before unleashing a powerful, curling left-foot shot into the far corner which left goalkeeper Bernard Howell
as stationary as Lord Nelson’s Statue, to give his side the lead after just five minutes.
Top Bay eventually found a rhythm, but despite long periods of possession, their play in the final third left a lot to be desired.
Top Bay’s Henderson Richards, given a start after his hat-trick performance in the quarter-finals blasted a long distance strike wide, before Mustafa Haqq wasted a good opportunity to level the score.
After shaking off his marker, Haqq found himself free inside the six yard box, and with Strike Force custodian Kareem Farrell at his mercy, he inexplicably sent his effort over the crossbar.
Top Bay continued to disappoint going forward, with Carl Joseph curling his free kick from just outside the penalty area high and wide.
The score remained 1-0 at half-time, but ten minutes into the second half, Adamson virtually ended any hopes of a Top Bay comeback with two quality strikes.
It would be the same combination to strike again for Strike Force, with Miggins delivering a pinpoint pass on to the boot of a streaking Adamson, who easily rounded the advancing Howell before slotting into an empty net to make it 2-0 in the 51st minute.
And just four minutes later Adamson completed his hat-trick, as Howell could only parry his firm strike into the back of the net after Adamson had outpaced Top Bay’s defence yet again.
Top Bay did get a consolation goal in the 70th minute, courtesy of a Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge free kick, but goals by Dwayne Mars in the 87th and Giancarlo Cobham in the 91st helped to complete the rout, and earn Strike Force their first finals berth.
Spectators were then treated to a heart-stopping second match, which came within seconds of having a winner at the end of 90 minutes.
Chandler had seemingly booked TS Strikers place in the Independence Day finals with a 82nd minute strike, which sent the National Stadium into a frenzy.
After seeing his goal-bound effort in the first half rebound off the post and the game seemingly headed for extra-time, the skilful striker finally came good, when he unleashed a thunderous shot from inside the eight-yard box, which left Bajan Pride keeper Morrison Taylor with no chance.
But with the very last kick of the game, Carlo Perry somehow got his foot onto the ball during a mad scramble in the TS Striker’s penalty box, and the ball sneaked into the near post past goalkeeper Omari Eastmond, to make it 1-1 in the 92nd minute.
TS Strikers weren’t to be denied though, and three minutes into the first period of extra-time, Chandler’s strike was all they needed to advance to Sunday’s final and a shot at $100 000.

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