The Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) and Weymouth Wales have levelled the playing field, after the first of three playoff matches for the grand prize of $20 000 and this year’s championship.
The two champions in Zones Two and One respectively played to a 2-2 draw last night at the Barbados Football Association’s Wildey Turf as the Premier League playoff games got underway.
Two Sundays ago, in their final crossover encounter ahead of the deciding games, both teams played to a goalless draw as they seemed to take a cool Sunday stroll through the 90 minutes, conserving their energy ahead of the showdown matches.
Rashad Smith registered the first goal of the night as early as the eighth minute after Omani Leacock beat three defenders to cross the ball into the box and the waiting feet of Smith, to shoot past keeper Omari Eastmond.
Wales however, sent a strong message to the soldiers seven minutes later when Romario Harewood pushed a corner kick into the box and a very open Arantees Lawrence delivered the goal past an unsuspecting Kishmar Primus.
Wales thought they had it in the bag at the end of the first half after Rashida Williams delivered for the defending champions giving them the upper hand in the 33rd. However, the soldiers would have none of it, and in the 81st minute, Smith came back to secure a brace, slipping in at the near post after a long off past from Akeem Hill, to score the equalizer and level the playing field. Top of Form
Top of Form
Meanwhile, Porey Spring showed they were in the Premier League to stay in the top tier after beating Youth Milan 2-1 in their demotion game.
The St Thomas based team pulled out all the stops, despite Youth Milan appearing to have a fire underneath them last night.
As shouts of “we gotta work hard tonight” was heard from the touchline, the Checker Hall team opened the scoring in the 43rd minute, just as the whistle was about to be blown to signal half time. Jaleel Corbin was in the right place to deliver a header, which ricocheted off the back post, following a long throw-in by Shamar Sandiford.
While Porey Spring maintained greater ball possession throughout the game, it wasn’t until the 64th when Jason Gilkes scored an own goal levelling the playing field to end the game in a 1-1 deadlock at the end of regular time.
It was Najee Holder who gave Porey Spring a much-needed lifeline in the 114th, heading home a free kick taken by Rivaldo Graham moments before which connected with his head, saving them demotion and sending Youth Milan packing straight back to Division One.
The playoffs continue on Sunday at the Wildey Turf when St Andrew Lions face off against Barbados Soccer Academy in the opening game, UWI Blackbirds meet Empire for playoff match to determine third and fourth place, and Wales and BDFSP clash again in their second of three games.