Sunday’s premier division triple-header was a triple-threat of controversy, disappointment and excitement all wrapped up in a single day. It was a day where league-leaders, defending champions and teams with much to prove in football in the country were on display.
In the grand finale, defending champions Asot’s Arcade Parham seemed poised to beat the league leaders Lime Old Road only to give up an extremely late goal to share points.
Parham’s Coach Winston “Debu” Williams and players cried ‘foul’ claiming that referee Curtis Charles carried the game past the allotted injury time.
It was during that time with Parham clinging to a one-nil lead that Old Road was able to battle back to get a penalty with seconds left in the game. Stephan Smith made sure that Old Road left the ARG with a point, hitting past Keita Decastro in the goal. Whether the coach Williams and players were right in their protest, Parham have no one but themselves to blame.
Just moments before the penalty was awarded striker Ricky Charles had a clear run on goal but instead of going for glory decided to pass to Eugene Kirwan advancing on his left.
Bad decision, rather, bad pass, and Old Road averted danger. Had Charles scored then it might have been an impossible task for Old Road to get the equalizers. Old Road remain unbeaten in the second round and with the point moved to 3o points, seven ahead of United, and significantly improving their chances of winning the title.
Parham remain in third place on 18 points, tied with Bassa and Hoppers, the winners of the opening encounter.
Special Security Services All Saints United, the team second on the point standings behind Old Road was knocked off for the second week in row, probably knocking their title hopes out the window. It was Hospitality Services Sea View Farm who beat United in the second game on Sunday by a goal to nil, a penalty in the 11th minute that sealed the deal.
With the victory Farm improved to 15 points and sixth on the table ahead of Sugar Ridge Sap (14), La Bussola Willikies (14), Cool & Smooth Empire (11) and Pigotts Bullets (10).
Farm was in danger of being pulled down into the cellar but showed a lot of courage and determination against United, a pre-season favourate to win the title.
While there were three goals scored in the two late games, the opening encounter was a five-goal shootout between Champion Footwear Hoppers and Sap.
Hoppers came from two goals down to beat Sap 3-2, with substitute Kelly Frederick, still nursing a hamstring injury, scoring the game winner. Frederick missed Hoppers previous encounter where they drew 1-1 with Willikies but on Sunday, he made a gritty appearance late in the game to get Hoppers three valuable points.
Following an upset over Parham a week ago, Sap came out firing.
Hoppers looked destined for a similar upset as Sap went up by two goals the 35th minute with strikes from Okeem “Soda” Challenger and Kerry Aaron. Challenger opened the scoring in the eighth minute and Aaron followed 27 minutes later. Before halftime however, Hoppers pulled a goals back on a strike by Tamarley “Ziggy” Thomas three minutes from intermission.
After the break, it was all Hoppers.
In the 64th Rolston “Lexi” Phoenix hit home from close range to tie the game before Frederick put the ‘icing on the cake’ in extra time. Now tied in third position, Hoppers are in their usual position in the top three of the premiership, a league they have never won but have place second some five consecutive years.
The premier division continues on Wednesday with a double header at the ARG, first Bassa take on Parham before Sap and Empire battle.