- JOHN’S, Antigua – There were sixteen goals scored in the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) Premier Division in the triple-header played at the ARG on Sunday.
Hoppers regained their place at the top of the point standings with an impressive 5-1 victory over Pigotts Bullets in the first game before Rangers upset Sap in a 4-3 thriller. In the feature match, Old Road made light work of defending champions Parham, beating them 3-0.
Bullets were probably hoping for clear skies and a hot sun to neutralize Hoppers’ superior abilities on the pitch. But that was not to be as overcast skies and a cool breeze made the 3 pm start more like an evening game much suited to Hoppers.
And Bullets paid dearly, giving up five goals before a consolation strike gave the Pigotts men something to take from the game.
As a matter of fact, the beating was so devastating that the police had to be called in to quell a skirmish by two Bullets players.
Hoppers struck early with Bernard Melford scoring his first of two goals in the sixth minute. His second would come on the other side of the break.
Quinton Griffith increased Hoppers’ lead in the 36th minute and they took the two-goal cushion into intermission.
On the restart, Jari Jackson increased the lead to three in the 52nd, before Melford’s second strike 13 minutes later.
Tamarley “Ziggy” Thomas capped off the onslaught in the 65th as Bullets gave up the most goals of the season in one game.
With three games left in the first round of the competition, Hoppers enjoy a one-point lead over Grenades.
Meanwhile, Rangers jumped all over Sap in the second game of the day, racing to a 3-0 lead before Sap battled back to score three straight.
On the stroke of regulation, however, Kejaun Benjamin scored the game winner and handed Sap the third defeat of the season.
Rangers went ahead 3-0 in the first 16 minutes on goals by Shaquille Carr, Daren Stevens and Troy Mellanson, respectively.
The match was a tale of two halves, as Sap, trailing by three at the break, came out to pull back a goal one minute after the interval.
Elvis “Chung” Thomas made the breakthrough before Odel Murray followed up with another strike 14 minutes later.
Thomas drew Sap level in the 74th, as the South-siders looked poised to take maximum points with a number of offensive threats. As the game wound down, however, Rangers made one last push and were rewarded with the winner in the 90th to give the team the first win of the season.
Sap’s top striker Peter Byers had to leave the game after he received a “deep” cut on the leg that required 10 stitches.
He left the ARG in an ambulance for Mount St. John’s Hospital where he was treated and discharged.
In the nightcap, Old Road followed up the impressive 5-1 win over Fort Rad last week with an equally emphatic 3-0 win over Parham.
Not only was Parham beaten; three players were red-carded for foul and abusive conduct following a penalty call by referee I-Roots Appleton
Keeper Molvin James, Tremain Paul and Kimarley McDonald received marching orders five minutes from time.
Additionally, Parham aided Old Road’s victory by not taking advantage of a number of opportunities, including missing a penalty.
Brazilian import Diego Silva missed a penalty seven minutes after intermission, which, if converted, would have tied the game at that point.
Mario Albert kept a clean sheet by denying Silva’s strike from the spot.
On the other hand, Stephan “Tommy” Smith hit from the penalty spot to cap off the three-goal victory after Roy York had opened the scoring for Old Road in the 33rd.
Rasgeed Jules doubled the lead 22 minutes after intermission before the penalty call and the subsequent melee.