Cool & Smooth Empire blanked Bullets 3-0 to pick up its first win of the season in the feature game of the Imobile premier Division double header at the ARG on Saturday.
Both teams were winless coming into the encounter and there were high hopes of Bullets picking off the former 13-time champions.
Not so.
Bullets looked good early.
But looking good does not win games, goals do and it was Empire who got three past rookie goalie Prince Walter.
And there were no fluke goals.
As a matter of fact the second strike of the day may be considered the goal of the season, showing flashes of what Empire have done in the past.
After a scoreless first half, Coach George “Cajawawa” Warner who guaranteed a win prior to the game had his team fired up coming out the locker room.
“Me go destroy them (Bullets) tonight,” Warner said prior to the start.
(I’m going to destroy (beat) them).
Justin “Trini” Pereira gave Empire the lead eight minutes after intermission moments after Bullets squandered an excellent opportunity to score.
It took the prowess of keeper Kendel Honere to keep Bullets at bay.
Honere has been having an excellent time between the uprights for Empire.
Without his great play, the Grays Farm men would be worst off.
On Saturday Honere kept a clean slate.
The goal of the season came in the 73rd, a cheeky one-time chip over Walter and into the back of the net by Chad Vidal.
It was such a fantastic strike that a former national team coach could not contain his excitement, “that’s a world class strike,” he exclaimed.
‘True dat.’
Vidal got a through pass from about half- line and the striker who had just entered the game two minutes earlier ran onto the ball hitting from about 20 yards out.
Walter paid dearly for being in the wrong place, off his line, at the wrong time.
With ‘as much as a glace,’ Vidal picked his spot with precision and calmly and confidently caressed the ball over the head of Walter.
The keeper dove hopelessly in vain and could only watch the ball float into the back of the net.
What a lovely strike that was.
Veteran Kenny Morgan drove in the final ‘nail into the Bullets’ coffin’ from the penalty spot, a shot that left Walter frozen in the mud at the ARG.
Empire leapfrog Willikies and Parham and joined Hoppers on seven points, and just like that Warner and Empire is back in the hunt, maybe not for a title but surely once cannot ignore a winning Empire.
In the first encounter Hoppers and Bassa drew 2-2 in a game of uncertainty.
There was another red card for the Green Bay team that have struggled all season to keep 11 men on the pitch for an entire game all season.
Kelly Frederick got his walking ticket eleven minutes after he brought Hoppers level for the second time during the game.
The gritty striker was unable to keep his cool following a shoving match with a Bassa midfielder in the middle of the pitch.
Frederick threw his elbow catching his opponent in the jaw.
And like Clint Eastwood in the movie ‘A Few Dollars More’ referee Anthony Govia was quick on the draw pulling the red card before Frederick could blink.
And Frederick was on his way to the dressing room, taking his tenacity and Hoppers’ hopes of scoring again into the dressing room.
It was a sad display by Frederick whose ability to score goals is a necessary ingredient needed for Hoppers’ success.
Bassa was playing its third game of the week.
Any concerns of Bassa having tired legs were quickly laid as the young men from All Saints came out firing on all cylinders.
They claimed the half both in ball possession and in goals.
The most surprising team of the season scored g twice, limiting Hoppers to one goal; a strike by the relentless Frederick after Bassa took the lead in the 20th minute.
Roger “First” Hurst, the leader on the Bassa frontline sent a good ball across the Hoppers goal from the corner spot directly to a waiting Dave Kerr, who hit home with style.
Twelve minutes later Frederick ran through two Bassa defenders to slot home through the legs of keeper Sean “Scratchy” Martin.
Despite claims of foul by Bassa players and fans, Govia stood his ground and allowed the goal.
An injury to veteran striker Lennox “Fox” Julian led to his substitution late in the first session.
With Julian on the bench Bassa did not miss a beat as a matter of fact they intensified their attack and it paid dividends during extra time of the half.
Romario Braithwaite who scored the game-winner in Bassa’s win over Asot’s Arcade Parham on Wednesday gave Bassa the lead going into the break.
Hurst broke down the Hoppers defense and hit across the mouth of the goal and Braithwaite did the rest, a fine strike past keeper Omarie Joseph, 2-1 Bassa going into the break.
Eleven minutes after intermission Frederick again bullied his way past the Bassa defense to hit the mark and keep Hoppers in the game, two-all at that point.
Unfortunately though Frederick had to miss the next 33 minutes where both teams failed to score.
Bassa moved to 11 points and top of the point standings while the one point increased Hoppers’ tally to seven.

Courtesy of ABFA Webnews Team