-Alpha United edges GDF 1-0 to retain Namilco title
Alpha United successfully defended their title, edging the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) 1-0 in the grand finale of the Namilco sponsored Fruta Conquerors One Love tourney at the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) ground, Bourda on Sunday.
Jamaica import Mark Miller settled proceedings in the 121st minute through a well struck 30 yard effort from the centre of the park, which sailed over the hands of the GDF custodian and settled down the middle of the goal.
Due to the win, Alpha pocked the $1,200,000 first prize and the championship trophy while the army walked away with $600,000 and the second place accolade.
In what would prove to be an evenly contested opening period, Delroy Fraser would fashion the best chance for the army unit in the 29th minute.
Racing into the centre of the penalty area, the nippy Fraser would direct his header straight into the path of custodian Ronson Williams, after latching onto a right sided cross from sibling Delwyn Fraser.
Alpha would be denied in the 37th minute from taking the lead as Gregory Richardson smashed his powerful right footed effort off the top of the left upright, from just within the centre of the area.
The second period would see the woodwork coming to the rescue of the army outfit once again as Sheldon Holder was denied by the crossbar in the 69th minute, through a 24 yard right footed effort from the centre of the park.
Andrew Murray Jr. would be denied seconds later, chipping his right footed attempt onto the crossbar from inside the centre of the box, following a one-on-one with the GDF custodian as Alpha began to assert their grip on proceedings.
With the matchup unable to be decided in normal time, extra time was then required to find a winner.
Coming on to replace Grenadian Kithson Bain in the second period of normal time, Manasseh Primo almost pushed the ‘Hammers’ ahead in the 97th minute as he thumped his right footed attempt just over the crossbar from the centre of the box, after fortuitously receiving the ball.
The deadlock would eventually be broken in the added time period of the second extra time interval as Miller powered his effort into the net, catching the GDF custodian by surprise off his line with the speculative 30 yard effort.
However, the Army should have levelled the scores one minute later through a Royan Morrison effort right footed effort.
Running into the left side of the penalty area, the versatile Morrison upon evading the final defender would inexplicably tamely strike his effort straight into the path of Williams in a one-on-one situation.
The final whistle would quickly sound as Alpha sealed their fourth Namilco Football Festival title. In the presentation ceremony that followed, GDF’s Delwyn Fraser was adjudged to be the event’s most valuable player.
Fruta Conquerors Dwayne Lawrence was awarded the tournament’s highest goal scorer accolade for his five strikes while Alpha’s Ronson Williams was adjudged to be the event’s best shot-stopper, conceding a total of two goals throughout his side’s four game campaign.
In the third place playoff, tournament hosts Fruta Conquerors defeated Riddim Squad by a 4-2 score line.