Riddim Squad Football Club edged the Guyana Defence Force Football Club by two goals to one while Sunburst Camptown overcame a spirited Northern Rangers Football Club 3-0 to reach today’s final of the Georgetown Football Association/Banks Beer knockout Cup competition.
Watched by thousands of spectators at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground, Bourda Sunday night, Riddim Squad, led by their band of brothers, the Hopes, the Ramsays and the Stewarts, exhibited the acumen of a championship outfit as they overcame a determined Army unit in an absolutely thrilling encounter.
Played under the best conditions to date, the first half started out at a frenetic tempo with both units trying to seize the early initiative.
Asserting their tactical prowess, the army outfit started to dictate proceedings with the Mocha-based unit defending stoutly while posing considerable threats on the counterattack.
The pattern continued throughout the exchanges with robust defending being the cause of broken plays and mistimed passes.
Buoyed by the rapid crowd, the deadlock was broken compliments of an Amos Ramsay strike in the 26th minute from a resulting set piece, the goal sending the partisan mass into frenzied jubilation. Shell-shocked due to the aforementioned result, the GDF assault continued as they searched desperately to restore parity to the proceedings.
The open nature of the game continued with both teams finding their creative range through clever passing but the score remained unchanged at lemon time.
The second half continued in the same back and forth action vein. Marauding runs from the wider areas typified the openness of the second half as both teams tried to strengthen their positions.
Uniformity was finally restored in the 52nd minute through a clinical Clifford Garraway strike to send the GDF faithful into wild celebrations.
The GDF’s moment of elation was brief as Riddim Squad scored in the 63rd minute compliments of well taken Sheldon Hope strike from a resulting corner.
Despondent by the current state of affairs, deep lobbed passes highlighted the urgency of the army outfit as they desperately tried to find a way back into the game. Creatively negated and physically dispossessed by the robust backline of the Riddim Squad defence led gallantly by the imposing Kester Alleyne, the outcome was finally cast in stone as the inevitable final whistle sounded, sending players, spectators and members of the coaching staff rushing hysterically onto the playing area celebrating in a sea of revelry.
In the opening encounter, Sunburst Camptown showed the character and determination of champions to overcome a feisty Northern Rangers team.
The first half began at a feverish pace with both teams trying to dictate proceedings. Palpably on the ascendency and getting the better of the early exchanges, the boys from Kitty almost broke the deadlock only to be denied by a brilliant save from Camptown’s reliable custodian Oswald Cornette.
The pace of the game quickly increased as both teams wrestled to gain the upper hand with rampaging runs the vehicle for many forays deep into enemy territory and stout defending the hallmark of both sides. Missed opportunities and vigorous plays became increasingly common as half time quickly approached.
The back and forth action continued in the second half as both units tried to assert their creative prowess. Northern Rangers almost broke the stalemate after a beautiful buildup only to be found wanting in the finish. Both teams continued to struggle to find their creative rhythm and range but it was the Campbellville unit who almost broke the stalemate, only to be denied brilliantly by Northern Rangers custodian Shawn Johnson who was as safe as ever between the uprights. Pressing for the game winner, missed chances continued to be prevalent as both teams lacked the clinical application as regulation time expired.
Throwing caution to the wind, both teams continued to attack as extra time began. The open nature of the game began to take its physical toll on the players as tired legs and fatigue began to set it. The deadlock was finally broken in the 98th minute by the hardworking Peter Parks whose goal sent the packed house into wild celebrations ending the first half of extra time.
Sensing their championship hopes slipping away, Northern Rangers began to chase the game on the resumption on the second half, only to be exposed continuously on the counter attack, resulting in a brilliant solo finish compliment of Jamal Codington in the 107th minute.
Tactics went out window as the Kitty outfit attacked desperately to find a way back into the game. Given a life line through the awarding of a penalty for an infringement in the aforementioned area, the ensuing spot kick was brilliantly saved by the reliable Cornette which took the wind out of the Kitty boys’ sails. The proverbial nail in the coffin was struck in the 118th minute compliments of well taken Parks strike booking Camptown’s place in the coveted final.
The tournament ends today at the GCC ground Bourda with Northern Rangers FC taking on GDFFC in the third place play off at 6pm followed by Sunburst Camptown FC tackling Riddim Squad FC in the grand finale at 8 pm.