By Neto Baptiste
Former Premier Division champions Empire FC racked up their third victory in nine showings in the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) Premier Division on Monday, edging Tryum FC 3-2 at the FA’s technical centre in Paynters.
The former 13 times champions were led by Rakeem Joseph who scored a hattrick with goals in minutes 48, 59 and 89. Romario Dennie scored both goals for Tryum with strikes in minutes 18 and 41.
The win lifts Empire to 10 points from nine showings and 11th in the 16-team standings, while Tryum remain eighth in the standings with 13 points.
All Saints United continue to lead the division with 27 points from 10 showings, three points ahead of Grenades in the second slot from the same number of outings.
Another former champion, FC Aston Villa, occupy the number three slot with 22 points after 10 outings, some five points ahead former back to back champs Old Road FC, who are fourth with 17 points. Top flight newcomers, Willikies FC, round off the top five with 16 points after nine showings.
Still in the hunt for a profitable finish are Ottos Rangers and Swetes FC who both have 15 points in the sixth and seventh positions respectively, while former champions SAP are at mid-table with 13 points from nine matches.
Greenbay Hoppers, who continue to put out lukewarm performances, are 10th in the 16-team standings with 13 points after nine matches with Pigotts Bullets two places behind on 10 points.
The once dominant Parham FC (8 pts), Blue Jays (7 pts), Five Islands (2 pts) and Liberta Blackhawks (4 pts) occupy from the 13th to the 16th positions respectively.