By Ian “Magic” Hughes
Novell “Boy Boy” Francis scored in extra time to give Sap a 2-1 win over Sani Pro Fort Road in the first game of the Harney Motors ABFA Premier Division double-header on Saturday.
The goal came moments after Fort Road came close to taking the lead when a shot from deep by Jahmar “Smalls” Semper beat the keeper, hit the cross bar and bounced harmlessly into play.
With the game tied and time running out, Francis produced a stunner much to the chagrin of the Fort Road team and their supporters.
The diminutive striker got a ball on the left side of the area, beat a defender and fired a left-footed shot that beat keeper Davrick Lockhart at his near post.
It was Francis’ second goal of the season having scored against Parham in the team’s opening encounter.
Sap was under pressure to win the game following the impressive 5-1 start a week earlier over defending champions Asot’s Arcade Parham.
Fort Road, which upset Jennings Grenades last week, was upbeat and confident against Sap and took the lead early, an 11th minute strike by Zakeem Michael.
Despite numerous chances, Sap trailed until three minutes to intermission when Fort Road fell asleep on defence.
A throw from deep in the half caught the Fort Road defence off guard, and Peter Byers took full advantage, hitting home from inside the six.
There was a stalemate throughout the second half despite the fact Byers missed a number of open chances.
With time running out, Francis produced the game winner to keep Sap perfect for the season.
Meanwhile, Fort Road Coach Schyan Jeffers said a lack of fire power and experience led to his team’s defeat.
“We scored early last week and again this week, but, without that killer instinct, we are not putting teams away,” Jeffers said. “In addition, we tend to lack that level of maturity. Both goals came from the guys not paying attention to the job at hand and Sap, a more experienced team, took advantage of that.”
In the feature game, Jennings Grenades bounced back to beat Ottos Rangers 3-1 in a game where Rangers’ official Steveroy Jacobs was ejected from the dugout.
The expulsion came after Grenades’ third goal. The Rangers stopped playing because they expected the referee, Brian Willett, to blow his whistle for an out-of-play ball.
The referee’s assistant did not raise his flag and the whistle never came.
With Rangers at a standstill, Grenades continued playing and it resulted in a third goal, hit home by Akeem Henry.
Rangers argued but the goal stood.
Kyle Edwards gave Grenades the lead in the 7th minute following multiple shots before the final conversion.
Rangers fell behind by two goals four minutes before the break on a Damian Hardwood strike before Terry Roberts pulled a goal back for them 17 minutes after intermission.
Rangers pushed for an equalizer that never came before Akeem Henry put the game out of reach 18 minutes from regulation.