Mar 29, 2016 Sports
Defending champions Grove Hi Tech were tested to the hilt and responded like true champions when they defeated old rivals Agricola Red Triangle 2-0 despite finishing the game with 8 men after receiving red cards in a
physical battle; Agricola ended with 10 players.
Sunday’s other match saw Herstelling Raiders recording their biggest victory yet in a short but encouraging history so far when they upstaged Soesdyke Falcons 2-1.
The Grove / Agricola match-up was anticipated to be a close and fierce battle but ended up being a physical tug-o-war almost resembling a rugby match at times with players on either side, rather than allowing the ball to do the work, going after each other bodily.
The first half did not produce any goals but the defending champions created the better opportunities but couldn’t break the deadlock even as Agricola also had some good moments. The final 45 minutes turned out to be the most rugged in a very long time and possibly the worst ever on the East Bank as the Referee was forced to issue four red cards.
Three minutes into the second half, Grove found themselves a man down when Mervin Squires received a straight red card. This set back seemed to wake up the home team which took the lead four minutes later from the penalty spot; the goal was scored by Lloyd Matthews in the 52nd minute.
Both sides are capable of playing much more attractive football but did not look the part on the day.
Grove were further placed on the back foot when Lloyd Matthews who was booked in the 56th minute received his second yellow card in the 66th minute much the disgust of his teammates and Coach who felt that the referee was a bit too harsh and was not being fair in his treatment of the Grove players.
Ten minutes after being reduced to 9 men, Grove doubled their advantage when Delroy Dodson finished on the end of an enterprising run, slotting the ball past the otherwise efficient Agricola custodian, Shemroy Kendall.
All along the referee and his assistants had their work cut out as they were required to be ever so vigilant with the many off the ball and other infringements that were being committed. Three minutes after increasing their advantage, Grove Hi Tech again found themselves in red card zone when Denzil Crawford was booked for his second offence in the 79th minute; they were now down to 8 players. But even with this sort of advantage, Agricola could not find a way to penetrate let alone score against the home team.
As the minutes ticked away the atmosphere was tense with the players from both teams not letting up; Agricola pressed forward for all their worth and even scored a goal that was disallowed from a set play in the final moments.
In the first minute of added on time, Agricola’s Jermaine Frank was shown the dreaded red card for a fierce tackle against a Grove player to bring the curtains down on a match that will be the talking point beyond both villages for a long time to come.
Grove prevailing 2-0 to take over the lead on the points table with their third win in as many matches, it was Agricola’s first defeat of the league.
Sunday’s opening match saw a resilient and determined Herstelling Raiders notching up their second win of the league, a solid 2-1 triumph over Soesdyke Falcons, the game could have easily ended by a much larger margin were it not for the soft misses especially by forward, Seon Alfred.
It was Alfred who handed Herstelling the lead from the penalty spot in the 25th minute as the leaders dominated their Soesdyke opponents. The lead would double in the 46th minute when Ijaz Cave rose above the Soesdyke defence to head past goalkeeper John Steele, into the back of the nets; Alfred serving up the ball from a free kick about 25 yards out.
Many were the opportunities created by Herstelling midfielders but Alfred was miserable with his finishing which almost cost them. Alvin Adams was able to reduce the lead for Soesdyke in the 62nd minute.
However, Herstelling were able to hold onto their slim advantage to walk away with full points and have already equaled their two wins from their debut season (2014) when they won two out of 13 matches to end with 9 points.
Herstelling’s win over Soesdyke was their first in three meetings between the two sides as well as their first goals having conceded a total of 10 in their previous two encounters.
League action will continue on Sunday at the same venue with two more matches. Kuru Kururu Warriors will come up against Mocha Champs in the first match at 13:30hrs with Agricola set to oppose the red hot Herstelling in the feature clash.
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