Defending champions Sunburst Camptown and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) had contrasting experiences, but ultimately, both marched into the semi-finals of the 2009 Mackeson/Digicel Sweet 16 knockout football tournament last Thursday evening.
In quarter-final action at the Plaisance Community Centre ground, Camptown were pushed to the limit by giant killers, Ann’s Grove, who finally surrendered 2-0, while GDF disposed of B/V Triumph United 4-0.
Camptown, who were also sternly tested by Golden Stars in their group-of-16 encounter which they won on penalty kicks, prevailed despite the absence of leading strikers Telson McKinnon and Chris Camacho.
The Ann’s Grove forwards created a number of early chances but were errant with their finishing, the most blatant example of which came from Oswald Duke who banged the ball way over the cross bar with the Camptown defenders and keeper already beaten.
Camptown’s midfielders were guilty of allowing their East Coast counterparts to have their way in the initial stages. A goalless first half was not something they would have complained about.
The defending champs broke the deadlock late in the second stanza. It took the persistence and determination of second half substitute Lance Rolston, who replaced Keifa Small in the 46th minute, to put his team ahead with a low diving header from a cross in the 78th minute.
Rolston’s strike eased tremendous tension for the visitors while the pressure was turned to the hosts who continued to persevere with the hope of equalizing but were unsuccessful. It was Camptown who increased their advantage two minutes before the end of regulation. Sceyon Hope’s strike eluded goalkeeper Elton Adams, who did well between the uprights, despite the loss.
Camptown’s Kester Alleyne received a red card in the third minute of injury time for using abusive language to referee Otis James.
Their semi-final opponent will be the winner of tonight’s clash, the second of two quarter-finals, between Cougars and Bakewell Buxton Stars, at the Plaisance Community Centre ground. GFC, who defeated the Bakewell side in their first game, were disqualified from the tournament for fielding an unregistered player (Paul Daniels) as reported by tournament official, Mark Bradford.
Thursday’s first quarter-final saw the GDF breezing past BV Triumph United.
Leading their charge was striker Warren Gilkes with a double in the 7th and 86th minutes. Despite scoring a brace, Gilkes was guilty of missing at least four other chances. When questioned after the game about his lack of finishing, he quipped, “I can’t score all now, I have to keep some for the other games.”
Second half substitutes Stellon David and Shawn Arthur accounted for the other goals. David, who was introduced in the 53rd minute at the expense of Hubert Pedro, scored seven minutes later while Arthur, who came on for Keron Joseph in the 52nd minute, was on target on the stroke of full time.
GDF will match skills with the winner of the Alpha United/Pele quarter-final match-up which is this evening’s curtain-raiser at Plaisance. Kick off time is 18:00hrs. (Franklin Wilson)
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