Last two standing

CHRIST CHURCH EAST CENTRAL, ST GEORGE SOUTH TO CLASH IN CLASSIC FINAL

Two-time defending champions Christ Church East Central have earned a berth in the final of the 2016 David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils Football Classic following their 2-1 victory last night over former champions The City of Bridgetown at the Gall Hill Playing Field, St. John.

Troy Speed scored the opening goal for Christ Church East Central. (FP)
Troy Speed scored the opening goal for Christ Church East Central. (FP)

Playing in front of a massive crowd, one could sense that both teams were hungry for that coveted spot in the final as within the first five minutes, there were several fouls committed by each team as they tried to play each other very tight on defence.

However, it did not take too long for Christ Church East Central to get their fans really involved in the game as defensive midfielder Troy Speed would make a breakthrough in the 6th minute with a powerful shot which went straight through the legs of The City of Bridgetown’s goalkeeper Dario Ifill, to make the score 1-0.

Following this, The City of Bridgetown was almost put under more pressure in the 15th minute when Christ Church East Central’s midfielder Keon Harding had a chance to make it 2-0. However, the shot narrowly passed the left goalpost.

After the early setback, The City of Bridgetown never looked as if they could equalize for the reminder of the first half, since very few real scoring opportunities were being created thanks mainly to some solid defence from their tough opponents.

Going into the second half, The City of Bridgetown’s coach must have had a serious conversation with his players as in the 48th  minute, their striker Dwayne Stanford found a way to equalise for his team to get them back into the game with a shot which proved too high for Christ Church East Central’s goalkeeper Corey Bridgeman.

Compared to the first half, there was definitely more determination being shown by the City of Bridgetown in the second half as they were creating more opportunities for themselves. Despite this, the defending champions were up to the challenge, not allowing them to score again so easily.

Eventually in the 73rd minute, Christ Church East Central’s striker Jabari “Papi” Chandler, who is also the leading goal scorer of the tournament with 12 goals overall, broke the 1-1 deadlock with what would prove to be the winning goal for the defending champions.

However, there was a tense moment towards the end of the second half when The City of Bridgetown were given three corner opportunities, including a close one which resulted in a header from Avery Chandler almost making it 2-2, but Bridgeman was having none of it with a brilliant save just before the referee’s final whistle. This allowed the defending champions to march into their third consecutive final.

Christ Church East Central will now meet St. George South in the final which takes place next Sunday night at The Kensington Oval.

In the earlier semi-final match, St. George South also registered a 2-1 win playing against St. Michael South.

Winger Romario Watson provided the opening goal for his team in the 29th minute. Following this, Watson could not contain his emotion as he celebrated like a professional footballer with the typical knee slide on the grass.

Then in the second half, in the 61st minute, it was St. George South’s forward Shaquille Belle who would make it 2-0 with a powerful shot pass the diving effort of St. Michael’s South goalkeeper Shakeem Kellman.

Moreover, throughout the game, St. George South’s goalkeeper also starred for his team with several blocked attempts making it difficult for the opposition to find a breakthrough. This was until the 83rd minute when forward Tristan Parris would eventually score for his team to pull one back.

However, it was not enough to get his team back into the game, nor prevent St. George South from booking their first spot in next Sunday’s final at Kensington Oval.

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