By Duncan Saul
Blueberry Hill Football Club edged a game Ann’s Grove All-Stars team 3-2 while Riddim Squad needled Beacons FC 1-0 Friday night at the Georgetown Cricket Club, ground Bourda in the latest action in the Georgetown Football Association/Banks Beer Knockout Cup.
In the opening fixture, Blueberry Hill FC showed resolve and mental fortitude to hold off a gritty Ann’s Grove All-Stars team. The first half started with Blueberry Hill FC almost scoring from their very attempt only to be denied by a brilliant save from the Ann’s Grove custodian.
The game began to take on a cagey nature as both teams wrestled for control in the midfield. Ann’s Grove was awarded a penalty for a needless tackle in the box by a Blueberry Hill player which was converted by Oswald Duke in the ninth minute.
Undaunted by the early deficit, the boys from Linden started to press the action and were duly rewarded with a penalty after a beautiful buildup that lead to a reckless challenge in the box. Troy Miller expertly converted the ensuing spot kick in the 16th minute restoring parity to the proceedings.
Inspired by their recent success, the Blueberry Hill outfit started to dictate proceedings with their silky passing and rampaging runs resulting in the Ann’s Grove defense scrambling desperately to deal with the constant threats.
The boys from Linden finally took the lead in the most fortuitous of conditions when a badly attempted strike found its way to an open Ronel Bristol who calmly finished almost on the stroke of half time.
The second half started at a frenetic tempo with Blueberry Hill trying to consolidate their position and Ann’s Grove searching for the all important equaliser. A failed clearance by the Blueberry Hill defence led to the Ann’s Grove unit leveling proceedings compliments of a Kevon Barry wonder strike in the 49th minute that brought the large crowd to its feet.
The open nature of the game continued with both teams searching for the winner. Moments of individual brilliance were mixed with a comedy of errors and tactical ineptitude as both teams were guilty of wasting countless opportunities. Robust defending was the order of the day as tackles flew in every direction keeping both offenses at bay. The deadlock was finally broken in the 86th minute through a Travlin Daniels own goal breaking the heart’s of the Ann’s Grove faithful.
In the feature event, Riddim Squad and its band of brothers – the Hopes, Stewarts and Ramsays skillfully outplayed a combative Beacons FC team.
The first half started at a frenetic pace with both teams searching for the early initiative. Stout defending by both units negated the creative outputs in the early exchanges, resulting in a midfield battle which made scoring opportunities a rare commodity.
The stalemate was finally broken compliments of a brilliant build up and expertly capped off by the skilful Aamis Ramsay in the 31st minute. The Mocha-based unit started to find their rhythm and passing range and almost added to their score line only to be denied by a brilliant save from the Beacon’s shot stopper just before the half time interval.
The second half started brightly for the Mocha based-outfit as they constantly pressed the action with Beacons FC living on the counterattack. The game ebbed and flowed as both teams made rampaging runs deep in opposition territory bringing the large crowd to its feet.
The stretched nature of the game continued with Riddim Squad clearly having the upper hand in the exchanges through their midfield duo of Lyliton Ramsay and Sceyon Hope. Missed chances by both sides continued with robust defending being the catalyst in most instances. Beacons FC was lucky not concede further as a sublime move in the final minutes unceremoniously came crashing off the uprights keeping them in contention.
A brief moment of ingenuity from the Beacons front line nearly found the treasured equalizer only to be denied brilliantly by Riddim Squad custodian Dervil Stewart who was as reliable as ever between the uprights.
As the game entered the dying stages Beacons continued to attack frantically but were negated by the imperious backline of the Mocha based outfit.
In a cruel twist of faith, the first red cards of the tournament were issued embarrassingly to Navaro Griffith and Troy Lambert – both of Beacons FC for fighting with each other in the second minute of injury time.The final whistle finally came, bringing an end to proceedings and sending the Riddim Squad team and supporters into ecstasy.
Action continues back at the GCC ground Bourda with a double header slated today with Northern Rangers tackling Blueberry Hill FC in the curtain raiser at 6pm followed by Santos FC taking on the University of Guyana FC in the feature event at 8pm.