Jan 27, 2020 Sports
By Franklin Wilson
Fruta Conquerors ladies added yet another title to their club’s collection when they outlasted Lady Panthers in the final of the GFF-Always Championship 2019 which took place on Saturday evening last at the GFC ground.
The match was a classic as both teams went about the business of winning in no nonsense style. Despite being the more experienced of the two teams, Fruta had to pull on all their experience to outlast the determined Lady Panthers who came from behind twice, took the lead but could not defend it.
Conquerors took the lead in the 14th minute when the tournament’s leading goal scorer, national Under-20 player Tiandi Smith netted her 15th goal of the tournament. It was early days and the fans on hand to witness the action had lots more in store for them.
Annalisa Vincent, the star of the Lady Panthers’ attack took on the challenge of keeping her team in the hunt for the championship. Vincent tucked in the equalizer five minutes after falling behind.
But even before Conquerors took the lead, Panthers squandered at least two opportunities to score. Fourteen year-old Glendle Lewis of the Lady Panthers outfit was just superb on the pitch, her speed and control was something to behold as was her daft touches and dribbling skills, fans can look out for more of young Vincent who is certainly an asset for the national programme.
It was Tiandi Smith who restored the advantage for Conquerors in the 28th minute on the back end of a sweetly timed cross which the lanky forward headed past Alba Marquez in clinical fashion. It was Smith’s 16th goal of the league which earned her the Highest Goal Scorer trophy.
The lead was taken over to the second half even as play ebbed and flowed with Panthers creating chances; Conquerors’ Abioce Heywood was kept quiet by the brave defenders of the Panthers unit. On 59 minutes Vincent brought her team level once again working in tandem with Lewis.
Panthers would take the lead for the first time in the match in the 77th and it was Vincent again who tapped in a loose ball in the six yard box on the end of a well taken free kick. As the clock ticked away Lady Panthers were sensing an upset win but the Fruta Conquerors ladies would have none of that.
Smith teamed up with Heywood to deliver the equalizing goal with just two minutes to go in regulation time much to the delight of their teammates and disappointment of the Lady Panthers, the score ending 3-3.
Based on the tournament rules, kicks from the penalty mark were required to arrive at the winning team as there was no extra time; the match was played for 90 minutes. Fruta Conquerors won comfortably, 4-2 to win the final and League.
The Tucville based side also walked away with all the individual awards, Abocie Heywood was named the Most Valuable Player; Best Goalkeeper was Deckola Chester with Delon Williams taking the Best Coach trophy.
Meanwhile, Santos Football Club, in their first season at this level, defeated Foxy Ladies of Den Asmtel 2-1 in the third place playoff. Scoring both goals for Santos was seasoned campaigner and former National player Andrea Lashley who also represented Guyana at Rugby.
Lashley scored in the 54th and 59th (penalty) minutes, Foxy Ladies’ consolation goal came off the boot of Horicia Adams in the 64th minute.
Assisting with the presentation of trophies were National Association of Women’s Football President – Andrea Johnson, Member of the International Support Group – Rebecca Vaughn, Akela Castello – Assistant Coach of the Guyana Senior Women’s National Team, Naseya Brewster – Manager of the Women’s U20 Team, GFF General Secretary (ag), Rev. Ian Alves and GFF Technical Director, Ian Greenwood.
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