By Franklin Wilson
Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United whipped the Guyana Defence Force 3-1 to top Group D of the Caribbean Football Union Champions League Qualifying competition at the GCC Ground Bourda yesterday afternoon.
While it was a victory for the Alpha side which will join Suriname’s Walking Boys in the second round of qualifying scheduled for Puerto Rico, it was a lackluster performance from ‘The Hammer’ who failed to capitalize of the advantage the Army playing with 10-men 40 minutes into the encounter; Shavane Seaforth red carded by Trinidadian Referee Neil Brizan for violent conduct – kicking at an opposing player in an off the ball incident.
Jamaican forward Oneke Ford who did not start in the game against Walking Boys which ended 1-1 vindicated Head Coach Wayne Dover’s confidence in him by banging in a double. He netted in the 38th and 69th minute. First half substitute Elton Brown who came in for Dwight Peters who was subbed due to a right ankle injury, rocked the nets with a sweetly taken right foot bomb on the run from about 30 yards out, in the 42nd minute.
Marlon Washing netted a consolation goal for the Army in the 90th minute.
The GDF was enjoying the better of the exchanges when Alpha broke into the lead. During that period of dominance from about the 23rd minute, main strikers Delroy Deen and Stellon David missed chances, Deen in the 26th, Alpha’s goalkeeper Ronson Williams parrying the ball into touch for a corner and David in the 32nd, who was forced to shoot with his weak foot (right) after splitting the Alpha defence.
Even the army Captain Warren Gilkes hit the upright in the 35th minute, the missed opportunities surely came back to haunt the Soldiers in their debut at this level.
Ford, who had made some promising runs during the half finally hit the network when another first half substitute Shawn Bishop who replaced Anthony Harding, who suffered a left tight injury in the 30th minute, made a run down the right side of midfield in the GDF half, squared the ball and after a mix up in the box, Ford pounced on the loose ball to bang it home with custodian Delon Young well beaten and out of place.
It was exactly what the doctor had ordered for Alpha who turned up the pressure from that point as the Army wilted. Brown inked his name on the score sheets with a beautiful goal 4 minutes later to hand his team a comfortable advantage by the end of the half.
Alpha, were intent on really hammering the Army in the final 45 minutes but missed numerous chances along the way, many of the shots were taken in haste and not well directed.
Edison Gomes missed chances in 51st and 52nd minute but most of the credit must also be given to the GDF goalkeeper who brought some excellent saves during the half; some of them at point blank range.
Alpha’s advantage with having an extra player was never really noticeable as the Army battled back. Stellon David had to make way for Peter Parks in the 65th as the Army threw everything they had at their opponents but to no avail.
Another Jamaican, Kevin Deere replaced Edison Gomes in midfield in the 68th minute and one minute later, Ford achieved his double.
Alpha were now all over their opponents and shots were being fired all around but not hitting the network owing to some good work between the uprights by Young and poor finishing by the Alpha forward line.
Head Coach of the victorious team Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover while content with the win voiced his disappointment once again with the poor work by his charges especially in the latter part of the second half.
“Having had the numerical advantage, I thought we would have possessed the ball for longer periods but we did not. We made some openings in their defence but poor finishing again was our downfall which saw us only scoring three goals.”
Dover noted that there is a lot of work to be done going forward knowing that the second-round tie will be very tough for his side.
“I will be sitting with the boss (Odinga Lumumba) and we will have to put some stringent measures in place to deal with the situation of players not being consistent at practice from time to time.”
Lack of discipline in this regard affected the level of fitness and focus of the team Dover concluded, pointing out that his charges found it difficult to put away 10-man GDF.
“So this was worrying for me since we will be meeting other top teams who will be much fitter and have players moving much faster, so we have to really step it up.”
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