A master class performance by Devon Millington propelled Slingerz to a 3-2 victory over Santos in the thrilling finale of the Georgetown Football Association (GFA)/Banks Beer Cup on Wednesday at the National Stadium, Providence.
Deployed on the left side of the field, Millington opened the scoring for the Vergenoegen side in sublime manner with an 11th minute strike,
which brought loud celebrations from the large viewership.
Dribbling two markers following a marauding left-sided run, Millington, upon cutting inside the penalty area, thumped a powerful flat right- footed strike into the back of the net past custodian Richard Reynolds.
Santos quickly levelled the score four minutes later through their ‘Dutch Connection’ Christoff Wensly. Racing into the left side of the 18-yard box to receive a forward pass, Wensly powered his flat left-footed effort into the right-hand corner of the net.
With the score remaining intact as half time commenced, running at his right back marker after collecting the ball off the left side, Millington placed a perfectly weighted cross into the path of Vurlon Mills, who buried his effort from inside the right side of the six-yard box, into the back of the net with a 61st minute strike.
Refusing to go down without a fight, Santos levelled the proceedings albeit fortuitously one minute later through their Surinamese forward Wensly.
Shielding the ball within the left side of the 18-yard box, defender Les Charles Critchlow and goal keeper Ronson Williams were at fault due to poor communication, allowing Wensly to strike the ball into the bottom right-hand corner after getting around Critchlow.
With the seconds ticking away, Millington almost broke the resulting gridlock in the 84th minute with a powerful curling strike. Evading his marker with a simple step-over on the left side of the box, Millington let loose a powerful strike that struck the base of the right post, leaving Richard Reynolds with simply no chance.
The first time participant sealed the win in the 89th minute as Millington found the back of the net with a superb finish. Latching onto a perfectly played Dwain Jacobs forward pass, Millington upon cutting across the left side of the box, evaded his marker before smashing his effort from just outside the centre of the box, into the lower left-hand corner.
Charles Pollard, coach of the Slingerz FC during a post-match comment said, “It was a good victory. It’s a massive win, it’s been a long time since the West Demerara region had a national champion.”
Pollard added, “The occasion got to the players a little, I told them it will be a difficult game because Santos didn’t buy their way into the final. The guys played some good football and the entire coaching staff are quite satisfied with the performance throughout the event.”
Losing coach, Dwain Babb during an invited comment said, “It was a good, hard fought game. You can’t take anything away from Slingerz, they showed good composure, patience and confidence.
“We didn’t play too bad, I think the boys were a little nervous as it was the first time the club meet to this far in a big tournament. I am pleased with performance; can’t complain about anything. We just have a few areas where we have to work on”, added Babb.
For their efforts, Slingerz will receive the $4,000,000 first prize and the championship trophy. Santos for their efforts will collect $2,500,000 and the runners-up trophy.
BK Western Tigers defeated the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) 2-1 to claim the third place title. With the win, Western Tigers will collect $1,500,000 and a third place trophy while the fourth place finishers will collect $1,000,000 and the corresponding accolade.
Awards inclusive of the most disciplined team, the most valuable player, highest goal scorer, best goal keeper and best coach will be presented to the respective teams and individuals tomorrow at a venue yet to be announced.