GFA / Banks Beer Knockout Cup…Alpha, Conquerors in showdown for $3million today
-Camptown, Beacons play for third place
By Rawle Welch
Reigning club champions Alpha ‘the Hammer’ United led by overtime goals from Leon Grumble (110th) and Dwain Jacobs (115th) had to summon all their collective experience to repel a determined effort from Sunburst Camptown in the feature clash on semi-finals day in the GFA / Banks Beer Knockout Cup on Friday evening, at the GFC ground.
Played before a capacity crowd, Sunburst Camptown threw their entire arsenal at ‘the Hammer’ who must be credited for withstanding the ferocious onslaught, before coming out victorious after regulation time could not manufacture a winner.
In the opening encounter, the emerging young unit of Fruta Conquerors too had to soak up immense pressure in the second half from a much improved Beacons to prevail 2-1.
Marko Markus’ imperious effort in the 41st minute gave them the lead which they held at the half, while the wily Gerald Gritten, who has returned after a lengthy break gave them a 2-0 cushion after he netted in the 78th minute of play.
Christon Galloway’s 89th minute strike provided some jitters for the Fruta Conquerors fans, before the final whistle sounded.
In the feature game, both teams started off tentatively, before picking up the pace midway in the opening period with Camptown’s Troy Prescod coming close with a fierce right-footer hat landed agonizingly outside the right upright.
National striker Anthony ‘Awo’ Abrams then had a good chance cancel out after his shot was parried into touch for a corner.
The teams went to the half goalless and the packed venue anticipating a closely contested final period.
On the resumption, Dwain Jacobs and Dwight Peters both had close calls, but once again competent goalkeeping by Oswald Corlette denied them.
Camptown’s Nigel Codrington had a shot competently saved by national goalkeeper Ronson Williams, while another effort from Prescod produced the same result with Williams equal to the task.
All the while the combination of Grumble and Jacobs were providing a stern test for the Camptown defenders, but their stood up manfully with Orlando Gilgeous and Sheldon Shepherd exceptional in their performance.
Eventually no team managed to score after 90 minutes sending the game into extra time.
A defensive lapse in the second period of extra time handed Alpha its first goal with Grumble beating Corlette to his right.
Five minutes after another bit of poor communication resulted in Alpha’s second and subsequent the elimination of Camptown from the championship game as Jacobs scored from close range.
In the first encounter, Markus’ opening strike was sheer class as he weaved past two defenders in a solo effort, before rounding the goalkeeper to lash home coolly.
Gritten was left unmarked and calmly hit in to provide the much needed comfort for the young unit which has shown vulnerability in the closing stages of games recently.
It happened in the previous encounter against Santos that nearly cost them the game and it threatened to happen again when Galloway scored a wonderful goal.
He expertly chested down a pass from the left flank onto his left foot and in one sweeping motion hammered a stunning shot past the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Colin Edwards into the far corner. It was a beauty.
However, it came a little too late with the final whistle sounding shortly after.
They will now meet Sunburst Camptown for the third prize of $500,000.
The runner-up receives $1.5 million, while fourth place gets $250,000.