Waramadong come from behind twice to capture playoff and quarter-final spot
- also beat Bartica for regional title
By Rawle Welch
It was billed as the clash of the titans and the twenty-two players that took to the field did not disappoint the over 3,000 fans that came from nearly all the sub-regions of Region 7 (Upper Mazaruni / Cuyuni) to witness the Playoff final between Waramadong and Santa Rosa of Region1 yesterday, at the Kamarang Recreational Centre ground.
In the end, Waramadong, who enjoyed most of the support prevailed 4-2 in what could easily be regarded as one of the most entertaining matches in this year’s Digicel nationwide Schools Football Competition.
On target for the winners were Whazir Bascome (30th), Ramkair Jordan (62nd), Cirilo George (81st) and Kenzy George (90th), while Dominic Heyliger blasted in a double in the (17th and 58th) minutes.
The match which was also witness by Digicel’s Events and Sponsorship Manager Gavin Hope and Region 7 Chairman Gordon Bradford started with the home team, Waramadong, very early on the offensive and dominated the possession, but just could not penetrate the Santa Rosa backline marshaled expertly by the stoutly built Christopher Henry.
However, Santa Rosa weathered the storm, staging several counter attacks of their own and were duly rewarded when Heyliger took full advantage of a partial stop from the goalkeeper who had parried a cross from the left flank onto the cross bar only to see it land into the path of the lurking forward and he made no mistake firing a fierce shot into the goal.
That result silenced the partisan fan base of Waramadong for a while.
They had a good opportunity to get the equalizer shortly after, but good goalkeeping thwarted the effort of Cirilo George, who had outran his markers, but over touched the ball and the alert keeper booted it into touch for a corner.
Waramadong had another chance to score go abegging when a cross from the right side bounced agonizingly across the goal area and two attempts by two different players failed to make connection.
They eventually gained the equalizer thirteen minutes later when Bascome reached onto the end of a floated cross that landed over the head of the scrambling keeper and he headed the ball into the empty net.
The opening period ended with the teams deadlocked at 1-1 and everything to play for in the final stanza.
The visitors would not wilt despite the scorching sunshine and partisan support and took the lead once more through the speedy Heyliger as he burst past two defenders on receiving a long pass and fired past the hapless keeper who could only watch as the ball ricochet off his hands and bounced over the goal line.
Once again, the home support was forced to silence, but several encouraging raids from the home team created rapturous applause and hope of an equalizer and it came four minutes later when a ball delivered from the right flank was punched into the path of Jordan and he let fly a rasping volley past a surprised Santa Rosa custodian.
The Santa Rosa players continued to fight, but it was evident that the tide had turned as the crafty McCurd Crammer, a player that benefited from former England international John Barnes’ Digicel sponsored Clinic, weaved his magic at mid-field, while the dependable big central defender Arnon Fredericks seemed impregnable at the back and it was only a matter of time before the visitors yielded under the relentless pressure as they surely did.
Waramadong netted their third goal, which was the first time they had led in the match, when the hardworking Cirilo George hit a thunderous volley that crashed onto the crossbar and slid into the goal.
Then in the final minute of regulation time, Kenzy George put the icing on the cake when the Santa Rosa goalkeeper, who had performed competently up to that stage committed his first real mistake of the game after coming forward hesitantly to save a high ball delivered from the right side, but somehow mistimed his jump and the ball eluded his grasp bounced into the path of George and he nonchalantly placed the ball into an empty goal.
The final whistle sounded shortly after and initiated wild celebrations among the Waramadong supporters and a earned them a place in the national quarterfinals where they will play Region 6 champions Tutorial Academy on Wednesday in Skeldon.
On Friday, Waramadong defeated Bartica 9-0 with McCurd Crammer hitting in four goals, Cirilo George a treble, while there was one apiece for Myles Albert and Lydell Joseph.