By Franklin Wilson
A Delroy Fraser goal in the final minute of added on time (90+3) sunk Pele to their first defeat of the Stag Elite League (SEL) with the Guyana Defence Force recording an exciting 2-1 win over the league leaders in the feature match on Sunday evening last at the Guyana Defence Force ground, Camp Ayanganna.
It was the GDF’s third win in seven matches having been awarded the game against Slingerz FC who had refused to take the field at the same venue last week after being locked in an international transfer issue with the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) which has since ruled in favour of the Army.
Sunday’s opening match saw Buxton United recording their second win of the league as they turned back the challenge of the high riding Georgetown Football Club (GFC) team, 2-1.
The GDF/Pele clash was an eagerly anticipated showdown, many of the fans predicting that the GDF was now finding form and their speed would have been a challenge for Pele whose main weapon, Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson moved to seven goals in the league after putting them ahead from the penalty spot.
Richardson did so very early in the piece, his 9th minute penalty which sailed under goalkeeper Carl Stephenson at full stretch. That would have been the last time that Pele was able to breach the GDF’s defence on the night as Stephenson who many felt was the unofficial MVP of the match was flawless from then to the final whistle.
The GDF’s pace and ability to utilise the flanks was always troublesome for Pele which on the defensive end of things, the home team were able to nullify the threats of Richardson who was double teamed on most occasions.
It did not take too long for the GDF to come on even terms with Pele; the nippy Eusi ‘Bony Man’ Phillips finished clinically in the 21st minute from the penalty spot, custodian Devon Charles unable to stop the goal; Pele 1 GDF 1.
Thereafter, keen exchanges were the order of the day with the GDF looking the more dangerous of the two sides; Richardson tried all he could to break through but was not allowed to. Just as the game was seemingly headed for a draw with the fourth official signaling 3 minutes of added on time, the home team had not yet finished.
In the final minute and what could be termed the final run down, Another of the GDF’s danger man, Delroy Fraser pulled one out of the bag, letting off a well executed shot that settled at the back of the nets to give them the win 2-1.
It was a deflating goal for the Pele side and they would know all about that since they did the same against both Slinger and Alpha United to draw their matches, 1-1 and 2-2, respectively.
The opening game saw a resurgent Buxton United notching up their second win by stopping GFC 2-1.
Buxton dominated the opening half; both their goals were scored in this period. Inceford Charles put the East Coast based side ahead in the 38th minute, while Denvor Dennis (45+2) fired an excellent shot that rippled past debutant 14 year-old goalkeeper Sesi Norville to the far post.
GFC were able to pull one back from the penalty spot on the third attempt, the alert Charles Kellman hitting the ball past Buxton goalie Jason Cromwell who blocked the initial shot as well as the second attempt in the 88th minute.
All the while, the Buxton defenders were just standing by taking in the action and not aware that they too, like the GFC players could have advanced to clear the ball.
Action is set to continue today when second round action kicks off at the GDF ground with a double header. GDF will take on Buxton in the feature game with the curtain raiser bringing together Monedderlust and Fruta Conquerors from 18:00hrs.
Tomorrow at the same venue, two more matches will be contested, Pele will face Alpha United in the opening clash at 18:00hrs with the main event between GFC and Slingerz.
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