On a chilly night and with the Atlantic breeze wafting across the venue, the Guyana Defense Force continued to stake a place for championship honours with a 5-2 drubbing over Flamingo FC in the feature game when the GFA/Banks Cup Round Robin knock-out tournament continued at the GDF Ground, Thomaslands, on Wednesday evening.
Pele FC was also in winners’ row and dominated Black Pearl 4-0 in the supporting game. Kirwin Benjamin (29:70), Jumane Sommerset (30) and Godfrey Powers (52) were the architects of Pele’s victory while the GDF prevailed through doubles from Desford Williams (39, 52), and Delwin Fraser (22, 90+2) with support from Eusi Phillips (20).
To their credit, Flamingo did put up a fight through strikes from Orlando Rickett (53) and Ryan October (68) but in the end their efforts proved to be inconsequential. Known for their aggressive and attacking style, the soldiers who had defeated Black Pearl 3-1 late last week, approached the early stages of the match in similar vein but with fresh legs in their favour, Flamingo’s players managed to keep them at bay with clever ball distribution.
The soldiers continued to attack and were rewarded when Phillips broke past the opposition’s defense before pasting their goalie. The success seemed to have buoyed their spirits and the soldiers struck again two minutes later, compliments of an enterprising run by Fraser down the centre of the field.
The soldiers then resorted to their forceful brand of football and Williams extended their lead after performing a solo, evading all and sundry before tapping in an easy shot. The soldiers pressed on at the start of the second session and Trevon Thomas saved the day for Flamingo when he held on to an especially stinging shot from Williams but in the end it boiled down to naught after the very player replicated the shot shortly afterwards, this time successfully.
Flamingo’s response was almost immediate after Rickett took matters into his own hands and steered the ball to the GDF goal before unleashing a thunder kick that narrowed the score a mite.
The game became physical as the players of both teams intensified their efforts and a ferocious collision resulted in Mark Jhalu (GDF) and Dwayne Layne (Flamingo) sustaining injuries that necessitated medical attention as the blood spurted from a wound on the former player’s face while the latter also suffered injury.
The soldiers then upped the ante, systematically applying the pressure and when Williams weaved his way to Flamingo’s goal, it looked like a sure goal; the goal keeper, Trevon Thomas courageously threw himself forward, effectively denying the soldiers.
Ryan October then added salt to the soldier’s wound when he sprinted down the field and sent in a thunder kick that settled aback the Army’s network even before their ‘keeper’ could have moved. Thereafter, Flamingo attacked with renewed vigor, bent on bringing the situation back to equilibrium but Fraser dented their confidence with a spirited run past their defense in the 89th minute and repeated the feat three minutes later to deflate Flamingo’s hopes and seal his team’s victory.
The loss to Pele has pushed Black Pearl further out of contention after they would have suffered an earlier loss to the GDF (3-1). That team comprised mostly of young, untested players and the bright spot was their ‘keeper, veteran Andrew ‘Docker’ Bright who, on many occasions, had to fill the defensive void after his players were found wanting.
On some occasions, the wily ‘keeper’ was forced to advance way out of the ‘box’ to avert disaster and confine the total to those 3 goals at the intermission. In the end, his herculean efforts dwindled to naught as Pele dug in and stamped its superiority.
The players rested yesterday but activities resume this afternoon with a potentially scorching double header; Alpha returns, after disposing of Northern Rangers 13-0, to oppose the Guyana Police Force at the Tucville Ground while Blackwater and Northern Rangers clash in the opening fixture.
Tomorrow evening, Houston Stars FC will oppose GFC, just before Western Tigers clash with Fruta Conquerors FC at the GDF ground. Activities then return to the Tucville Ground on Sunday when Beacon FC play Camptown FC just before Riddim Squad take on Santos FC.
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