The Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) proved to be too much for Weymouth Wales, and in the end marched away as champions of the 2018/2019 BFA Premier League.
The defending champions Wales saved their best performance for last, but it wasn’t enough to stun the St Ann’s Fort based soldiers, who ended the 120-minute encounter 5-4 on aggregate.
The night-capper began fast and furious and fans lined the BFA’s Wildey Turf bleachers in anticipation to see who would walk away with bragging rights and the $20 000 grand prize. Whispers across the field were that Wales would retain the championship needing to win by a two-goal margin. But this wasn’t to be. Coach Asquith Howell’s team hoisted the trophy after a four-year lull.
The three-time champions BDFSP, playing minus the likes of Akeem Hill and Renaldo Trim, who were both red-carded in the last playoff game where they won 2-0, held the lead 4-2 on aggregate as referee Gillian Martindale signalled the start of play. However, Wales, sporting a starting line-up minus Aarantees Lawrence, Renaldo Marques, Rashida Williams and Akeem Maloney, wasted no time in showing the soldiers they meant business.
The green machine, pressing and probing and with the greater ball possession in the opening half, drew first blood, scoring as early as the 19th minute. Romario Harewood hit home from 12 yards out following a brilliant flip ball by Hadan Holligan, to give the Carrington Village side a much needed lift.
The 2017/2018 champions were in the rise and unleased a full-on attack on BDFSP. Walton Burrowes collected a superb cross from Rico Graham, which he headed past keeper Kishmar Primus to put Wales up 2-0, and level the playing field on aggregate 4-4.
Fans stood in disbelief as shock engulfed the Wildey Turf. He defending champions had level the contest and it was now anyone’s game.
However, the fitness and endurance of the soldiers, despite playing one man down, proved too much for Wales to handle, when in extra time Rashad Smith caught Maloney sleeping and slipped in at near post in the 97th minute to seal the deal for newly crowned champions.
Try as they might to put one up on their opponents, Wales was no match for the stars of the night and the Turf turned into a sea of yellow and green, as all members of the BDFSP joined their teammates following their victory.
A jubilant captain and utility man Raheim Sargeant accepted the trophy from BFA’s president Randy Harris, which he, in turn, presented to their commanding officer Colonel Glyne Grannum who embraced the entire team.
Meanwhile, Scotty’s Car Rentals St Andrew Lions stalked their prey in Mark Auto Spares Porey Spring United to end their encounter 6-0 and send the St Thomas-based team back to Division One for the 2019/2020 football season.
The Lions, set the tone and dominated the first half, raised their tails in the 12th minute to pocket goal number one, after Jamol Williams collected a cross, showing superb chest control and finishing from 12 yards out.
Nine minutes later, Javon Taylor slotted home past the keeper in the box, moments before Lindell Sandiford, in trying to prevent the opposition from scoring, pocketed an unfortunate own goal to give the St Andrew team the advantage when the whistle blew at the end of the first 45 minutes.
The Lions came out hungry and hunting in the second half, while it was evident Porey Spring played with little to no enthusiasm. Kareem Jordan secured his second goal of the season in the 64th after he came in at the back and slid home past the keeper.
Sixteen minutes later, Shamar Edwards stepped up to the plate and scored goal number five after squeezing in a ball past the unsuspecting Ryan Hope. Ten minutes later he deposited the final goal, and his 14th goal of the season, to seal the deal for the Lions.