Tight at the top

Wales maintain lead after holding champs to a draw

Weymouth Wales are still at the top of the standings of the Digicel-sponsored Barbados Football Association’s Premier League after recovering from a deficit to earn a 1-1 draw against reigning champions Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf last night.

In other action last night Rendezvous rebounded well from defeat last week by University of the West Indies Blackbirds with a 3-0 win over newly promoted Empire. And Mackeson Britton’s Hill got the better of Lumisol Technology Inc. Pinelands 1-0 in the night’s third match.

Weymouth Wales’ defender Shawn Clarke puts pressure on Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme’s goal scorer Shaquille Stewart. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)
Weymouth Wales’ defender Shawn Clarke puts pressure on Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme’s goal scorer Shaquille Stewart. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

Wales have moved to seven points while Rendezvous are currently in second position on six points. Interestingly, Brittons Hill, Empire and UWI are all jointly tied on six points after playing three games so far winning two and drawing the other.

No doubt Wales and BDFSP were evenly matched and they worked the ball around to their advantage with quite a few chances going a begging on both sides.

Mario Williams of BDFSP tried to create some form of magic when on one offensive move he took out Wales’ defenders one by one in search of a goal but was greeted with a sliding tackle from central defender Shawn Clarke.

Dwayne Stewart of Empire did well to clear the ball away from Rendezvous dangerman Shandel Samuel.
Dwayne Stewart of Empire did well to clear the ball away from Rendezvous dangerman Shandel Samuel.

Raheim Sargeant took the resulting free kick that found the forehead of Shaquille Stewart patrolling the back post and he had no problems finishing the job in the 36th minute with a powerful header past Wales’ goalkeeper Omari Eastmond.

That goal by the soldiers ensured that Wales pulled out all the stops to find the all-important equalizer which made for some exciting periods of football. In the second half that goal eventually came off the boot of none other than the skillful Hadan Holligan. In the 84th minute he danced his way around BDFSP’s defence and got the ball deftly past their custodian Dario Weir who is also the national goalkeeper.

That caused for big celebrations in the Wales camp and around the ground. The men in green tried to seek another just minutes before the game ended but Holligan, Kemar Headley and Jomo Harewood just could not connect with their individual efforts.

In the other game Rendezvous coming off that defeat last week needed to convince fans they are still one of the top premiership teams and they did so convincingly against Empire. Shandel Samuel got the ball rolling when Empire’s defence went into a seeming coma and allowed the striker the world of space to take a shot at goal from outside the 18-yard box and score past goalkeeper Dwayne Webb.

Seconds before the first half ended Samuels buried a cross received from his captain Rashida Williams to give their side a 2-0 advantage.

When the second period commenced Empire made a schoolboy error that allowed Rendezvous to capture their third goal of the night. Goalkeeper Webb passed the ball to his defender who placed it onto the boot of Romano Snagg of the opposing team and the Vincentian did as expected and shot it past Webb in the 68th  minute.

At that stage it should have been 5-0 to Rendezvous but Samuel failed to score two sitters given to him by Emarald George and the other by Snagg. Taron Miller conceded two yellow cards in the 86th minute and automatically received a red that left Rendezvous with just ten men but they were still good enough to prevent Empire from scoring.

Brittons Hill, with just ten men after Andre Gibson was sent off in the 45th minute, edged Pinelands 1-0 compliments Travis Coppin who netted in the 51st minute of the second half.

In other matches played Saturday Clayton’s Kola Tonic Notre Dame defeated Belfield 2-1 and University of the West Indies Blackbirds won 2-1 over Paradise.

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