By Franklin Wilson
Home team Den Amstel held its nerve to win the second edition of the Stag/West Demarara Football Association/Derrick Josiah Memorial knockout 6-5 on sudden death penalty kicks against Pouderoyen on Sunday night.
The third place match did not come off as Uitvlugt Warriors failed to show up as they were not in agreement with the WDFA allowing Eagles United back in the competition to contest this match after they lost their first match to Pouderoyen.
WDFA Secretary, Adrian Giddings had informed Kaieteur Sport that Young Achievers and Stewartville were both axed from the tournament for fielding ineligible players; as a result of this, Eagles were brought back into the fray and it is this decision that Uitvlugt Warriors apparently were not pleased with.
The Executive of the association will meet shortly to deal with Uitvlugt’s no-show and they are likely to be disciplined for showing scant regards for the rules of the game.
Uitvlugt’s no-show did not dampen the mood of the other teams as the final, which was a keen battle, saw Den Amstel coming from behind to even the score before going on to win even as regular penalty kicks did not separate the two rivals.
Action commenced at a very fast pace with Pouderoyen enjoying the early exchanges as they looked the hungrier of the two sides. It was not a surprise when they took the lead in the 22nd minute, Kwesi Alleyne’s shot was too good for Den Amstel’s goalkeeper Ryan Hunte to deny.
Despite falling behind, Den Amstel never gave up the fight as they kept matching the nippy Pouderoyen players play for play. Capping a good period close to the half time whistle, the home team forced a free kick just outside the Pouderoyen goal area (right side), almost on the touchline.
It was a dangerous position and the ensuing free kick taken by Travis Hilliman was as good as any, Den Amstel ensured they cashed in on their opponents’ defensive lapse. Hilliman’s cross curled across the goal and seemed like it was heading into touch but the quick thinking Kevaughn Ward connected to head the ball into the back of the nets past custodian Sherwin Bernard on the stroke of half time for the equalizer.
The second half did not produce any goals even as did the ensuing period of extra time which meant that penalty kicks was next on the agenda to determine the winner. After the first five kicks, the score was still tied at 4-4, Alleyne was the man who went wide of the upright for Pouderoyen as he failed to repeat his first half exploits, while Den Amstel’s Ward also failed to duplicate his equalizing goal as his shot was saved by Bernard.
During sudden death penalty kicks, it was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Den Amstel goalkeeper and Captain Ryan Hunte who stepped up to the plate to save Cleveland Walcott’s shot as Colin Benn’s shot sailed into the back of the Pouderoyen nets to spark wild celebrations for the home fans and team.
The victory sealed the top prize of $200,000 with Pouderoyen pocketing $100,000. Eagles United, a Stewartville based team received $50,000 as the third place finishers.
Meanwhile, Guyana Football Federation (GFF) President Wayne Forde was present to witness part of the final and during remarks before the kick off complimented WDFA Orin Ferrier and his executive for bringing off the competition which was in honour of former football administrator and member of the Guyana Police Force, Derrick Josiah.
Forde, whilst pledging the federation’s continued support to the WDFA also extended gratitude to Ansa McAl for stepping on board to sponsor the competition through the popular Stag Beer brand.
The Guyana Police Force and The Trophy Stall also contributed towards the success of the tournament to which Ferrier expressed the association’s appreciation. Ansa McAl’s Stag Beer Representative, Sean Abel assisted with the presentation of prizes as did ASP Johnson of the Guyana Police Force.
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