Another tournament, another championship as Alpha ‘the Hammer’ United silenced their critics, defeating Slingerz FC 4-2 in a hard-fought grand final of the Slingerz/National Association for Women Football (NAWF) Goal for Gold tourney.
Contested under wet conditions and in front of a large gathering at the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) ground in Bourda,
Alpha took the lead in the 29th minute through a sublime Dwight Peters right-foot strike.
Latching onto a defence-splitting, Andrew Murray Jr. through pass from the right side, Peters would unleash a powerful effort from the right side of the penalty area that flew across the Slingerz keeper Jason Cromwell and nestled in the lower left-hand corner after striking the upright.
Alpha would double their lead five minutes later from a neatly played one-two combination between Grenadian Kithson Bain and Peters from a resulting counterattack.
Receiving a defensive clearance from a Slingerz corner, Bain upon starting the combination would receive a perfect return pass from Peters on the right side that left him in a one on one situation with the onrushing Cromwell who he easily rounded and scored against.
Staring down a two-goal deficit heading into half time, Slingerz would pull one back in the 44th minute through a Colin Nelson header from a right-sided Vurlon Mills cross to end an exciting first half.
Resuming in the second period, Alpha would restore their two-goal advantage in a fortuitous manner as Murray Jr. etched his name on the scorer’s sheet in the 49th minute.
Lurking on the left wing, the lanky winger upon cutting into the penalty area pounced on a poorly saved left-footed Bain effort by Cromwell to finish easily down the middle of the goal.
The `Hammer’ further strengthened their lead as Murray Jr. completed his double in the 61st minute following a defensive mistake by fullback Joshua Browne.
Trying to intercept an Anthony Abrams through pass, Browne accidentally allowed the ball to slip under his foot to the onrushing Murray Jr. who easily finished his right-footed effort under the body of Cromwell.
The West Demerara side would however be given a glimmer of hope as diminutive forward Devon Millington netted in the 63rd minute.
Receiving a pass inside the attacking third, Millington would evade his two centre half markers only to strike a powerful right-footed missile that gave Alpha shot stopper Richie Richards no chance.
A further twist would be in the tale as Murray Jr. would be controversially given marching orders in the 81st minute after picking up his second yellow card for what the official deemed as time wasting.
This numerical advantage would set up tense final moments as the Vergenoegen side desperately tried to find an avenue back into proceedings. Their valiant attempts however would be repelled as the official sounded the final whistle to spark celebrations amongst the Alpha faithful.
With the win, Alpha will receive $2,000,000 and the first place trophy while Slingerz will pocket $1,000,000 and the runner-up trophy.
In the earlier women’s finale, Georgetown led by a Sasha James double in the second and 22nd minute blanked Bartica 4-0. Neshanna Costello and Andrea Lashley completed the win with goals in the 14th and 54th minutes respectively.