by Wade Gibbons
OKG Rendezvous made a mockery of their Second Division status, as well as the Premier League designation of Mackeson Brittons Hill, by handing the St. Michael team a stunning 6-1 thrashing to create history by winning the KFC-sponsored Barbados Football Association’s Champions Cup Knockout Final at the Wildey, St. Michael Football Astroturf last night.
Although it could be claimed that a number of the Rendezvous players would have at some stage played at the senior domestic level, and the team was also boosted by a few St. Vincent and the Grenadines national players, it said very little for Brittons Hill, and indeed Premier League football in the island, that Rendezvous outplayed Brittons Hill in every conceivable facet of the game, and with a bit of luck, could have won the game by a wider margin.
Before a massive crowd that numbered between 3 000 and 4 000 Brittons Hill started disastrously when with just about a minute into the game Jermaine Caesar clumsily lost the ball to Myron Samuel in his area and in an attempt to recover fouled the crafty Vincentian national. Referee Trevor Taylor immediately pointed to the spot and Samuel converted the penalty to give the Christ Church team a dream start to the final.
Brittons Hill could have immediately responded when in the fifth minute Arantes Lawrence got a ball in a dangerous position just inside the box and with his back to the goal, deftly turned away from his marker and struck a volley that just flashed past Kerry Holder’s goal.
With rain pounding down on the players and spectators alike Rendezvous were all over Brittons Hill with coach/player Luther Watson seeming to be still affected by injury and often playing catch-up in the mid-field to the younger legs of the likes of holding mid-fielder and captain Jeffrey Williams, Norel George and Damal Francis.
Then in the 20th minute a move which started on the right flank saw Francis and Myron Samuel link superbly to get a cross into the other Samuel in the clan, Shandel, who made it 2-0. Fifteen minutes later Rendezvous should have gone 3-0 up after Romano Snagg tore down the left flank and sent in a precise pass to Myron Samuel but his weak shot was easily saved by Brittons Hill custodian Rashad Ince.
Brittons Hill, by now looking more like a team that didn’t make it into the last four of the recently concluded Bico Primary Schools Football Tournament, consistently failed to put pressure on the aging legs of 41-year-old Gregory Goodridge at the left-back position. Indeed, Goodridge looked a man half his age, so reluctant were Brittons Hill to force the pace at openings in Rendezvous’ defence.
Conversely, Francis had a brilliant game in mid-field controlling Rendezvous’ tempo in tandem with Williams and frequently finding the Samuel cousins in forward positions with pinpoint passes either through the middle or to both flanks.
With two minutes to go before the break Rendezvous should have made it 3-0 after a foul in Brittons Hill area but Myron Samuel made a hash of the penalty effort with a casual attempt at goal.
On resumption, the game followed the same pattern as the first half with Rendezvous on the attack and Brittons Hill, who strangely started the game with their left-back Curtis Blackman on the bench, defending and looking to strike on the counter. But in the 55th minute Shandel Samuel basically sealed the game when he put a third goal past Ince.
If anything, Rendezvous’ third goal seemed to rouse Brittons Hill from their indifference with Lawrence and Walton Burrowes showing a bit more enterprise. The substitution of Watson was also timely as he had been a passenger for large chunks of the game. Brittons Hill’s increased urgency was rewarded in the 59th minute when a defensive lapse resulted in Burrowes reducing the deficit to 3-1.
Hopes, though, of Brittons Hill’s fans that Burrowes’ goal would signal a comeback were quickly put aside when in the 64th minute Myron Samuels made a run down the left-side with his marker trailing forlornly like loose kite-tail. His cross into the box was fumbled by Ince and Shandel Samuel capitalised on the error by making the score 4-1.
The rain which had fallen intermittently, and quite heavily, now returned, but this did not dampen Rendezvous’ enthusiasm for more goals. In the 80th minute George made it 5-1 against a team that now seemed to be praying for Taylor’s whistle to put them out of their misery. He soon did just, but not before Snagg blasted a powerful shot past Ince from about six yards out to make it 6-1.
And as if to add insult to injury as Snagg again went on a run at the Brittons Hill goal area, he was cynically brought down by a visibly frustrated Rohan Hall who was immediately shown the red card by Taylor.
For Rendezvous the victory meant a magnificent trophy and $20 000; for Brittons Hill – a handy consolation of $10 000; and for Barbados’ top-flight football – quite a few questions to be answered. email@example.com