Benefitting from both resilience and questionable calls, Blueberry Hill Football Club on Wednesday managed to hold off an aggressive Caribbean United team 3-2, in the latest action in the GFA/Banks Beer Knockout Cup.
It was the first of two pulsating fixtures for the large and boisterous crowd that gathered at the Fruta Conquerors Ground in Tucville, where the games were relocated due to the inclement weather.
The first half of the curtain raiser saw Blueberry Hill FC and a game Caribbean United frenetically trying to dictate the tempo of the game, with the former taking the early lead compliments of a great strike from Quincy Stephens in the 2nd minute. The boys from the mining town started to dictate the run of play and quickly added to their lead after a dubious refereeing call that allowed Ronel Bristol to score in the tenth minute. Undaunted by the score line, Caribbean United quickly pulled one back through an Alston Gardener strike from a corner kick in the 18th minute.
The game quickly opened up and rampaging runs from both teams into each other’s territory became common place as they wrestled for control. Going into the half, Caribbean United was denied the equalising goal through a brilliant save from the Blueberry Hill custodian.
The open nature of the game continued in the second half, with the Caribbean outfit searching for the equalizing goal, while the Linden unit remained on the counterattack. Blueberry Hill further added to their tally through another dubious call, which resulted in Troy Miller converting a penalty spot in the 57th minute.
The Linden unit subsequently conceded possession and allowed their opposition to dictate possession and the tempo of the game. But the dogged Blueberry Hill backline thwarted wave after wave of attacks from the Caribbean team until a Kacy John spot kick in the 83rd minute.
Meanwhile, in the feature match, Kwakwani Strikers clearly proved “it’s not how you start but how you finish that counts” as they overcame GFC 2-1.
Although the crowd-favourite Kwakwani dictated the frenzied exchanges in the early minutes of the game, GFC stunned the crowd when they took the lead, compliments of an Eon Singh strike in the 18th minute. They then almost added to their lead but were denied by a magnificent save from the Kwakwani keeper. Afterward, neither team really settled into a rhythm due to the constant midfield battle which continued right into half time.
The second half started with the Kwakwani outfit pressing the action and the Bourda boys defending stoutly. The game began to open up as the crowds bellowed and urged on the Kwakwani team forward. The equalizing goal was finally conceded in the 54th minute through a Roy Lee Cox strike that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Trying to take advantage of the momentum, Kwakwani continued to attack fiercely only to be thwarted valiantly by excellent glove work from the GFC keeper Shawn Browne, who kept his side in the game.
But clearly under siege and lacking a strategy, the GFC were run ragged by the Kwakwani outfit, gallantly led in attack by the wily Dale Sauers, who was a constant thorn in the side of his opponents. As the game entered the homestretch, the fitter Kwakwani unit had the advantage. The game-winning goal came from a brilliant build up that was skilfully capped off by Ted Rogers in the 75th minute, sending spectators rushing wildly onto the playing area.
Although GFC tried for the equalizer, they were found wanting as they failed to create opportunities and were rebuffed by the robust backline of the Kwakwani team until the final whistle.
Action continues back at the GCC Ground, Bourda, with a double header slated for this evening, when Ann’s Grove All Stars face Blueberry Hill FC in the 6pm curtain raiser, followed by Riddim Squad FC taking on Beacon FC in the feature event at 8pm.