The inaugural Stag Super XV1 knock-out football tournament kicked off in fine style at the
#5 ground West Coast Berbice on Sunday evening last with two teams walking the preverbal plank.
It was an evening where the two home teams in action pleased their supporters’ hearts as they turned back the challenge of the visiting teams in contrasting fashion. On show in the main attraction, Monedderlust showed excellent composure to erase a deficit and take victory over a game Golden Stars of East Demerara 2-1.
The tournament got going when Cougars tore apart East Bank’s, Soesdyke Falcons 3-0 to secure their place in the quarterfinals at the Victoria Ground on Boxing night.
Monedderlust, still licking their wounds inflicted by another East Coast side, Victoria Kings who defeated them in the final of a recent knock-out tournament, were in no mood to let another rival team have their way.
But for sometime in the encounter, Golden Stars were holding their own, as a matter of fact it was the East Coast based unit that took the lead when they were awarded a penalty in the 12th minute.
Emitt Leacock was tasked with the responsibility of taking the spot kick and he made no mistake in burying the shot past custodian Elvis Rutherford; Golden Stars 1 Monedderlust 0. The home fans were left to ponder as to what would be the response of their team who were now found trailing on home turf.
Golden Stars had quite a few chances to increase the lead but poor decision making in the attacking third undermined their hold on the game early on. The fast paced exchanges, end to end, proved that neither side was willing to allow the other any time to settle.
The picturesque venue under clear night skies was just warming up to task of a mouth watering showdown and so it turned out. The first half ended with the visitors still ahead but not comfortable.
As the minutes ticked away, the pressure began to mount on the home side with the fans becoming restless knowing that an early exit was not something they even wanted to think about. Their anxiety would have been eased to a great extent in the 71st minute when the neutralizing goal was realized through a Travis Henry shot; Golden Stars 1 Monedderlust 1.
The game was on and it was going to be the more focused team that would go on to win the war as the battle intensified. When Referee Sherwin Johnson sounded the whistle for full time, the scores were still unchanged which meant that an additional 30 minutes (15 minutes per half) was required to decide the winner.
Towards the end of the first period of extra time Clifford Campbell would give the home team and fans something to shout about as they took the lead for the first time, his goal in the 103rd minute served as a huge deflator for Golden Stars as they were not able to respond which meant that Monedderlust emerged victors by a 2-1 margin.
They have now moved on to the quarter finals and will face the winner of next Sunday’s (#5 Gr.) round of 16 clash between Timehri Panthers and New Amsterdam United on Christmas Day at the Buxton Community ground.
The competition’s first game saw Soesdyke Falcons putting up stern resistance early on but once Cougars got warmed to the task at hand, Soesdyke never had a chance as they found themselves on the defensive.
Cougars cracked the defence of Soesdyke with four minutes remaining in the half, Sherwin Parris having the distinction of scoring the tournament’s first goal. That advantage would increase to two in the first minute of added on time, Albert Anderson rocking the nest as his shot flew past goalkeeper Javier Greene.
Soesdyke tried for all their worth to pull one back in the final half but were denied by the home side. As a matter of fact, the third goal was as a result of a Soesdyke mistake in the 77th minute; Cougars 3 Soesdyke 0.
Cougars have now earned themselves a place in the next round (Boxing Day at Victoria ground) against the winner of the match between Mahaica Determinators and Rosignol United who will clash on Sunday at the #5 ground.
However, plank walking will continue on Friday evening when round-of-16 play continues at the Grove Community Centre ground with two more matches. Agricola Red Triangle will face off with Ann’s Grove from 18:00hrs with the feature game between Grove Hi Tech and BV Triumph United at 20:00hrs.
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