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Soldiers march on

. . . but champs Rendezvous knocked out of tourney

 The Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) defeated the Pride of Gall Hill 12 -11 on penalty kicks when the third-round of the KFC-sponsored Barbados Football Association’s Knockout Tournament continued at the National Stadium last night.

The BDFSP, who are leading the standings in the Digicel-sponsored Premier League and second-placed Pride Of Gall  Hill played an exciting and entertaining game which frequently brought the fans on their feet.

The soldiers strike force led by captain Mario Harte have been scoring goals almost at will in the Premier League, while Gall Hill  has one of the strongest back lines in the competition.

Fans were asking the question if the crafty Harte along with national forward Kyle Gibson and play-maker Romario Harewood, who was returning to the line-up, could unlock the tight Gall Hill defence led by veterans Ramuel Miller and Oscar Nero along with teenagers Ranaldo Bailey and Ramar Millar.

The match began at a rapid pace with each team taking the ball into each other’s half only to have it cleared by an opposing defender.

Jabarry Chandler had the opportunity to put Gall Hill ahead when the match was only 20 minutes old. He penetrated the BDFSP’s defenCe and unleashed a powerful strike at the nets but it was plucked out of the air by goalkeeper Albert Brathwaite.

Ten minutes, later Harte bolted down the  right wing and played the play ball into the centre  where it landed almost on the head of Jamal Chandler (Jabarry’s sibling) who headed it past Gall Hill‘s goalkeeper Omari Eastmond.

After conceding this goal, the  Gall Hill players went on the attack with the strikers receiving good support on the flanks and their defenders trying to get forward into the BDFSP’s fortified half of the field. The pressure paid off as they got the equalizer  in the 44th minute due to an error by the BDFSP goalkeeper Albert Brathwaite who in an attempt to clear the ball dropped it almost at the feet of  Kadeem Latham. He gratefully accepted the gift and booted it past Brathwaite to level the score.

At half-time the score was locked at 1-1. After play resumed, both teams tried to get that vital match-winning goal. Harte was the inspirational leader of the BDFSP as he seemed to be playing in also every position on the field. He almost scored in the 64th minute of the game but his shot at goal was foiled by goalkeeper Brathwaite.

The game was still locked 1-1 at the end of regulation time and 30 minutes more were added. Eight minutes into extra time Romario Harewood skillfully dribbled his way past the Gall Hill defense and hampered the ball past Eastmond to give BDFSP a 2-0 lead.

The BDFSP held the lead until deep into extra time but with eight minutes remaining Jabarry Chandler atoned for his first half mistake. Chandler took the ball from the right side to the left and tapped it past Brathwaite to lock the score at 2-2 and take it into penalty kicks.

The fans at the stadium watched in amazement as 23 goals were scored before BDFSP won 12-11. The game which began at 8 p.m. ended just before midnight. It was almost the first football game on the island to be played over two days.

In the opening match defending champion Rendezvous suffered the ignominy of being booted out of the competition by the UWI. Carlo Perry gave the Cave Hill Campus team the lead after 17 minutes. Vincentian international Myron Samuels leveled the score after 30 minutes. His sibling Shandel Samuels placed  the Christ Church team ahead in the 70th minute. Then Shaquille Layne scored the equalizer for UWI in the 76th minute forcing the game into extra time.

No more goals were scored during the additional time thus the game went into penalty kicks with the UWI winning 4-1.

In the opening match Weymouth Wales whipped Cosmos 7-0. National player Carl Joseph booted home four goals, Ahil Cumberbatch notched a brace 2 and Jadvi Clarke also got on the scoresheet.

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