By Michael Benjamin
Pele FC defeated Conqueror’s FC 3-1 on penalty kicks while Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United recovered from a 23rd minute goal off the boot of soldier Stellon David to register a 3-1 victory and book their places in the final of the Mayor’s Cup Football Championships in semi-finals action at the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) Wednesday evening last.
Back in the fray after receiving a red card in the Milerock game, Stellon David netted for the Army 23 minutes into play in what turned out to be the only success for either team in the first half. The Army held onto that lead for the greater part of the match and with just 13 minutes remaining in the game, it looked as though ‘The Hammers’ would be sent packing.
This was not to be however, as the Alpha United boys raked themselves from their lethargy to slam home the first of three goals off the boot of Kelvin McKenzie in the 77th minute to equalize the situation.
Four minutes later Dwight Peters collected a perfect pass from the left wing and registered the second success for Alpha. The soldiers tried their best to equalize the situation but despite several raids to Alpha’s goal, the score-line remained unchanged. Emerick Williams then joined the act and his effort from midfield had goal written all over it from the time the ball left his boot in the 81st minute.
By now, the soldier’s shoulders had drooped considerably and their efforts lacked the verve earlier displayed. To compound matters, David had received a yellow card in the 53rd minute for infringing the rules while his compatriot, Sherlock Dowlin also received a similar reprimand in the 61st minute.
The final whistle simply put the soldiers out of their misery. As they left the field, they were probably contemplating on what might have been.
The game between Pele and Conquerors was fiercely contested with neither team relenting. Travis Grant opened Pele’s account in the 30th minute but the advantage was short-lived as Troy Prescod slammed in the equalizer 48 minutes into play. The fierce battle for honours continued with each team attempting to regain the advantage. As the game wound down to the final whistle, Gerald Whittington broke free and pasted the Conqueror’s custodian only to have the goal reverted after the assistant referee reported that his vision was blocked and he could not ascertain if Wittington was offside. At that moment, controversy erupted as the Pele team and their supporters vociferously protested. Lawrence Griffith, a senior FIFA referee was asked to comment on the ruckus that stalled the game. He supported the decision while citing the statute that vindicated the referee. According to Griffith, if the game has not been restarted the referee, after acknowledging the goal, can revert his decision.
The dispute raged for about twenty minutes, after which the referee’s decision was upheld and the match resumed. There was no additional goal, forcing the match into overtime and eventually penalty kicks. Pele prevailed 3-0.
The final is expected to produce keen rivalry as both Pele and Alpha United are well warmed up for the thriller.
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