Stag knockout champions Paradise are not out of the running just yet, as they made it clear to Scotty Car Rentals St Andrew Lions, Brazilians or not, they are here for the long haul this season.
The Dover based team managed to put three goals on the scorecard in this weekend’s nightcap game of the tripleheader at the Barbados Football Association’s Wildey Turf, placing them second in Zone 2 of the Premier League.
The Lions came out roaring, landing the first goal of the game in the 18th-minute courtesy Brazilian midfielder Jefferson Silva after converting a free kick. He took advantage of a bit of weak goalkeeping by Paradise’s custodian Paul Doughty, much to the delight of the many fans from St Andrew adorning the bleachers.
However, Paradise would have none of it and replied two minutes later via a 40-yard pass from national midfielder Jomo Harris and a smooth finish from Dario “Ears” Harewood, over the head of opposing goalkeeper Romain Primus. Making sure the Lions knew who was in charge; Paradise took the lead in the 49th-minute courtesy Trevor “Taz” Mayers after a scramble in the box.
The team is currently playing minus the services of midfielder Ackeel Applewaithe and coach Kenville Layne, who are currently on national duty at the Concacaf’s Under-20 Championships in Florida, while Mario Williams is currently on attachment in Antigua.
As the second half progressed Paradise continued to pull at the Lion’s chain, as they ensured the north- based players had less scoring opportunities than in the first half. Paradise also dominated on possession, defending much better compared to the previous 47 minutes of play.
In the end, the Lions tried unsuccessfully to muster a final roar as there was a mad scramble from players when a header bounced off the bar, on the line, back off the bar, again on the line and then there was superb goalkeeping from Doughty.
And just to add the icing on the cake, Armando “Sugar” Lashley, on target, deposited the final goal of the night in the fading seconds of the game to give Paradise a 3-1 victory, despite the many fouls and stoppages that plagued the game.
In the second game of the night, Empire was “lit” as they played precision football, earning them the top seat at the top of Zone 2 with six points.
While the game started slowly, Jabarry “Papi” Chandler tapped one past the keeper, making no mistake from the 18-yard line, to put the first goal on the scorecard in the 26th minute. They ended the first half with the advantage.
The newly promoted Youth Milan were desperately looking for a win, coming off a draw against Paradise in their opening encounter, but the Mighty Blues once again shut down any hopes of that when substitute Renacko Thompson shot a rocket past the keeper in the 52nd minute ending that encounter 2-0.
The opening game saw the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP), who began the game with the goal advantage, give newcomers Ellerton three big opportunities to take it away, similar to taking candy from a baby. However, the soldiers came back in the dead of extra time to level the playing field.
National captain Rashad Jules wasted no time setting the pace of the game, landing the first of the 12 goals scored for the evening on the scorecards, compliments a left-footed goal in the 12th minute, when he beat goalkeeper Jamar Brewster. He paused for a split second but caught himself and came around to tap the ball into the back of the net.
Five minutes later he told the St George based team, he was large and in charge scoring once again, after opting not to go into the box, but instead volleying a shot from the top of the box finishing flawlessly, catching the keeper completely off guard.
While Ellerton’s shots were slightly off target, they cranked up the pressure on the BDFSP defence half hour into the game, but it wasn’t enough to break the soldiers until the final minute of the first half saw Anson Barrow deposit a header into the net.
As the second half action continued, Ellerton, playing under the command of new assistant coach Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge, showed their dominance as they came from behind to outscore the soldiers. This seemed to completely rattle the St Ann’s Fort based team as the newcomers turned up the pressure and the soldiers lost concentration allowing Shaquille Belle to convert a penalty in the 61st minute, and five minutes later Jamar Grazette tapped the ball in after a goalkeeper foul up by Kishmar Primus.
However, in a nail-biting finish, and similar to Paradise, Rashad Smith waited until the very last minute of extra time to level the playing field for the soldiers.