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Taking flight

UWI Blackbirds top table after mauling Pinelands

 The University of the West Indies Blackbirds have taken over the lead of the Digicel-sponsored Barbados Football Association’s Premier League.

Last night at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf, UWI gave Solaris Lumisol Technology Inc. Pinelands a 5-1 lesson that appears part of a semester that could, without proper revision, end with their demotion later in the season.

It was Pinelands fourth successive loss of the 2016 programme with UWI skipper Mario Harte proving their main tormentor with a hat-trick to take his side to nine points. UWI have so far played four matches with three wins and one loss.

Jairo Lombardo gave UWI a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute. Despite a few other chances the score line remained that way going into the break. The Cave Hill men took that momentum into the second half and Pinelands wilted under the sustained pressure

Fifteen minutes after resumption the constant forward movement of UWI finally paid further dividends when Harte scored the first of his three goals to make it 2-0. Before Pinelands could settle down into any type of rhythm they were taking the ball out of the back of the nets when Corey Barrow made it 3-0.

University of the West Indies captain Mario Harte about to take a shot during his hat-trick performance. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

University of the West Indies captain Mario Harte about to take a shot during his hat-trick performance. (Picture by Morissa Lindsay)

Rommell Burgess, who captained Pinelands instead of Arantes Lawrence who didn’t play, scored in the 63rd minute against the run of play. That goal gave Pinelands’ diehard fans hopes of a possible resurgence but their expectations were soon dashed. With the clock ticking down and Pinelands forced to leave gaping holes in their defence in their effort to find goals, Harte made them pay dearly. He added goals in the 81st and 84th minutes to complete the rout and leave Pinelands still seeking to have a turnaround in their awful start to the season.

In what was the featured game of the evening, two of the top teams in Wales and Rendezvous played out a thrilling 2-2 draw that had the crowd buzzing.

The two teams were undoubtedly evenly matched and had similar styles of play with lots of pace on the ball to manoeuvre down the flanks and square where necessary inside the 18-yard box in search of that all important goal.

Rendezvous got their game off to a good start when their captain Jeffrey Williams, leading by example, volleyed a shot over the head of custodian Omari Eastmond and into the back of the nets to give his side the lead as early as the third minute.

Two minutes before halftime Rendezvous striker Keon Atkins missed a golden chance to give his side a 2-0 advantage when he took shot at goal inside the danger zone but failed to bury the opportunity past Wales’ keeper Eastmond.

When the second half commenced Rendezvous continued from where they left off and their persistency paid off when Romano Snagg sped up the left flank and sent a cross to Shandel Samuel roaming inside the 18-yard box and he does not miss such chances. Predictably, he nailed the pass past Eastmond in the 60th minute to make it 2-0.

Wales needed a response and they needed it quickly and they got it thanks to captain Jabar Greene in the most emphatic fashion. In the 61st minute he unleashed a thunderous shot from at least 40 yards out in midfield and the ball screamed past Rendezvous’ befuddled goalkeeper Wayne Sobers and into the back of the nets.

At this stage the game came absolutely alive with both sides advancing on every counter-attack opportunity while trying to shore up their defence. Unfortunately for Rendezvous their defender Jomo Brathwaite handled the ball inside the danger zone and that resulted in a penalty that was duly converted by Wales striker Kemar Headley in the 77th minute.

That goal and the parity it brought certainly had Wales’ supporters in a frenzy and with under 13 minutes to play Rendezvous did not look as menacing as they had earlier. Conversely, Wales seemed to find a third wind and attacked Rendezvous’ goal area but did not quite manage to get that game-winning strike.

Weymouth Wales and Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) are jointly tied in second position in the league on eight points after playing four games with two wins and two draws.

In a third game played on the night Clayton’s Kola Tonic Notre Dame and Mackeson Britton’s Hill played to a 0-0 draw.

In action on Saturday Paradise defeated Empire 4-0 with Barry Skeete and Armando Lashley each getting a brace.

In another Premier League encounter the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) defeated Belfield 4-1. For the BDFSP Shaquille Stewart (2), Shaquille Boyce and Romario Harewood scored while Henderson Richards netted for Belfield.

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