Jan 03, 2016 Sports
By Michael Benjamin
In a game of swaying fortunes, and backed by a vociferous bunch of supporters, Riddim Squad FC (RS) displayed grit and determination to overcome Western Tigers FC (WTFC) 2-1 and waltzed off with the championship trophy and two million dollars when the 5th Annual GFA/Banks Cup Knockout tournament concluded at the National Stadium, Providence last Friday evening. Western Tigers had to be content with the one million dollars incentive for the runner up team.
This was one match after underdogs, New Amsterdam United, turned back the challenge of Santos FC with a heart-wrenching 3-2 defeat to take the remaining podium spot and the accompanying half million dollars and trophy.
Riddim Squad’s Amos Ramsay stitched in a 50th minute success just before Randolph Wagner 73rd minute contribution for Western brought the situation back to equilibrium. Delon John’s 80th minute goal returned the advantage to Riddim Squad which held to the final whistle. Consequently, Riddim Squad carted off the lion’s share of auxiliary prizes and Wagner’s tournament tally of 7 goals was enough to clinch the trophy for this category of special prizes, while his teammate, Ron Liverpool received the trophy for being the best goalkeeper. Sceyon Hope had scored in all of his team’s encounters and he was justly awarded the accolade for the Most Valuable Player.
Western Tigers started the match at a fast clip and Daron Benjamin tested the opposition’s goalkeeper with a powerful shot which the latter individual did well to save. Rowley then featured after he had weaved his way past the opposition’s defence cordon but once again, Liverpool endorsed his ‘best goalkeeper’ accomplishment when he skillfully punched the ball back into play.
Riddim Squad’s initial show of resistance occurred after Amos Ramsay took a free kick ten meters from the box but flouted the opportunity with a wayward strike that the opposition’s custodian, Romell Legall, easily intercepted. Ramsay was to feature again several minutes later when he adroitly steered the ball from the middle of the field into his opponents’ comfort zone and slammed home his team’s first success.
Riddim Squad defence cordon also averted sure disaster after Western Tiger’s striker, Dwayne Ali, tested it with a wicked kick that failed to breach the wall. Indeed the competition was fierce and resulted in RS small 1 nil advantage at the halfway break.
The fierce rivalry resumed in the second half when Amos Ramsay thundered down the left flank and unleashed a powerful kick which the opposition’s custodian did well to save. Rudolph Wagner then responded for Western Tigers after performing a solo that brought him dangerously close to Riddim Squad’s goal; their custodian, Ron Liverpool, sprang into action and his save truly endorsed the selection panel’s eventual decision to bequeath him the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
As the minutes elapsed the ‘Tigers’ upped the ante and Delon Fraser performed a solo only to be forced into a premature kick after the opposition’s defenders attacked with venom.
Devon Forde may also rue his fortunes after he intercepted a pass just outside the box but sent the ball cannoning down the right of the Riddim Squad’s goal.
The minutes were dwindling and Riddim Squad aspired to hold on to their slim 1 nil lead resulting in the ‘keeper’ receiving a yellow card after being cited for delayed tactics.
Western were then fed a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty after one of their players was fouled in the box. Wagner took the shot and deceived the goalie who plunged to the left while the dapper Western striker kicked to the right.
Merely 8 minutes later, Riddim Squad retained the lead when Charles received a pass from the left flank and he swiveled on the balls of his feet and sent in a powerful shot that flew past the Western Tigers’ custodian and came to rest in the nets. Thereafter, a vicious battle ensued with both teams missing out on opportunities to either equalize (in the case of Western Tigers) or extend the lead (in the case of Riddim Squad). The final whistle ten minutes after Charles’ success meant that Riddim Squad had won the championship. They can now enjoy 2 million dollars, a beautiful trophy and a full year of bragging rights.
Earlier, in the third place playoff, New Amsterdam United (NAU) defied their underdog status and had Santos FC on the ropes from as early as the 9th minute when George Hinckson’s powerful shot sent the Berbicians ahead. By the end of the first session, NAU had extended its lead to 2-0 following a Travis Williams 28th minute success. Delroy Fernandes netted a double for the Berbicians in the 52nd and 78th minutes, while Santos staged a late revival after Dwayne McLennan was twice fouled in the box and converted those penalties in the 84th and 87th minutes. The prize giving ceremony was performed just after the end of the feature game.
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