BDFSP clip Blackbirds’ wings
If the Barbados Football Association’s decision to divide the 12 Premier League teams into two zones was designed to make the clashes close and captivating, Sunday’s triple header strayed offside.
Whether or not the soccer stimulated the spectators sitting in the bleachers on the eastern side of the developing Wildey AstroTurf venue, the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) will surely top Zone 2, even with six matches left.
With a routine 2-0 triumph over one-time champs UWI Blackbirds for their eighth win in nine matches, BDFSP moved to 24 points, opening a wide 12-point gap at the top of the standings.
In the earlier matches, Crane & Equipment Ellerton blanked Waterford Compton 3-0 and Claytons Kola Tonic Notre Dame defeated Abrahams Silver Sands 3-1.
BDFSP took control of the feature match with early first half goals from Omani Leacock and T’Shane Lorde in the 15th and 24th minutes, respectively, before thwarting UWI’s attacks.
Leacock neatly tucked away Darrico King’s left-side cross into the six-yard box while Lorde collected a through ball and kept his composure to put the ball beyond UWI’s goalkeeper, Liam Brathwaite.
Thereafter, Ranaldo Bailey and captain Shane Codrington were solid in the centre of defence to keep former BDFSP prolific goalscorer Mario Harte from threatening their custodian, Kishmar Primus.
The battle in midfield was also keenly contested, with BDFSP’s trio of Rashad Jules, Raheim Sargeant and Akeem Hill more creative and efficient ball possession and distribution than UWI’s hard-working Jomo Harris and Shomari Mark.
With their third loss, UWI remain in second place on 12 points but Ellerton, who snapped a four-game losing streak in the evening’s opener, are now only two points adrift.
After a goalless first half, Shaine Hermas netted in the 54th minute with a lob over Compton’s custodian Greg Jones after he was put through by fellow midfielder Rosean Brathwaite.
Brathwaite scored Ellerton’s second goal in the 75th minute, when he cut in from the left side and buried a right foot shot into Jones’ far corner.
Hermas, who had had a barren run all season, completed a brace in the 77th minute. He ran onto a through ball from Zico Mascoll and beat Jones at his near post.
In the middle game, the Dames logged their sixth victory to move to 18 points, still seven behind defending champions, Weymouth Wales.
Midfielder Azarel Croney hit a one-time shot high into nets from just outside the penalty area, beating a badly positioned goalkeeper Gabriel Layne to give the Dames a 1-0 lead after 16 minutes.
But just when it looked like there would be a goal spree, the Dames squandered countless chances in the first half, with captain Giancarlo Cobham, a highly touted youngster, Antone Greaves and Daniel Rowe the chief culprits.
Silver Sands equalised against the run of play on the stroke of half-time, when a free-kick from Derrine Gale-Forde into a crowded Dames’ defence was nudged home by a lurking Cameron Lewis.
Greaves, however, redeemed himself in the second half with a brace in a vexatious ten-minute span, marked by some physical play.
After he calmly but confidently pushed his left-footed effort to the right of Layne in the 62nd minute, Silver Sands’ Mario Birkett was red-carded by referee Ramon Springer for serious foul play.
Dames’ Chad Bynoe quickly followed him on the sidelines for a second bookable offence, but both maintained their innocence as they left the field. Greaves then sealed the outcome in the 72nd minute, running onto a through ball from teenaged midfielder Rickneco Marshall and again used his favoured left foot to beat Layne to his right. (EZS)