Dream debut!

— Millington double spurs Slingerz FC to Kashif and Shanghai championship and $2m first prize

t was a dream debut for Bakewell Slingerz Football Club in the Kashif and Shanghai football tourney as they were crowned deserved champions defeating an abject Alpha `The Hammers’ United 2-0 on Sunday at National Stadium in Providence.   A 33-minute delay due to the failure of three lighting towers did not blanket the moderate viewership from supporting the West Demerara giants, who secured the title and their first win over the ‘Hammers’ in four fixtures compliments of a Devon Millington double in the 56th and 90th+4 minutes. With the victory, Slingerz FC will receive the championship accolade and the $2,000,000 first prize whilst the two time winners Alpha United will receive $1,000,000 and the respective accolade. While it was not a classic by any stretch of the imagination despite a combined 10 national players on the pitch, the Vergenoegen unit would fashion the first dangerous attempt in the 14th minute through Vurlon Mills.  

Newly crowned champions Slingerz FC posing with the Kashif and Shanghai championship trophy following their 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Alpha United
Newly crowned champions Slingerz FC posing with the Kashif and Shanghai championship trophy following their 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Alpha United

Skipping past his marker with a silky draw from outside the left of the area, the versatile attacker would fire his effort marginally wide of the lower right hand corner, drawing a collective roar from the gathering. The diminutive Mills would be at again 13 minutes later, directing his header into the hands of the goalkeeper from within the six-yard area, after latching onto a Tichard Joseph left-side cross following a 26-yard free kick. With Alpha unable to string together passes and register a shot on target, the former Western Tigers forward would make his presence felt as a poor back pass from Sheldon Holder lead to the deadlock being broken 11 minutes into the second stanza. Intercepting the ball 28 yards from goal on the right side, the wily Millington, upon cutting across the centre of the field into the right side of the box, would cut back on his favoured right leg before placing his effort past custodian Ronson Williams into the right hand corner, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Jolted by their concession, the ‘Hammers’ would finally register their first shot on target five minutes onward as Panamanian import Manuel Vargas unleashed a powerful strike from 30 yards out in the centre of the field, which forced a smart save from Akel Clarke to his left as the ball swerved in the air.  

Goalkeeper Ronson Williams of Alpha United agonizingly watches the ball going into his net after being beaten by the opening Devon Millington goal
Goalkeeper Ronson Williams of Alpha United agonizingly watches the ball going into his net after being beaten by the opening Devon Millington goal

Millington would then bring the crowd to their feet in the 66th minute as he mesmerized left-back Chris Camacho with his tricky footwork just outside the area, turning and twisting the latter inside and out before cutting into the area, much to the appreciation of the Slingerz faithful. Not to be outdone, playmaker Mills would display his deft footwork in the 71st minute, turning between two opposing players in his own half before being brought down, much to cheers of the vocal throng. Desperation would then begin to set in for Alpha United as Daniel Wilson was denied a possible goal in the 89th minute by the outstretched leg of defender Colin Nelson, after racing into the centre of the box. The signal of the fourth official’s added time indicator of five minutes would force Alpha to throw further bodies forward. A resulting corner kick would see the introduction of the shot-stopper Williams within the area. However, this would lead to the sealing of the championship as Millington completed his brace to ignite a frenzy in the stands and technical area. Racing down the right side following a resulting counterattack from the aforementioned corner kick, Millington would break Alpha hearts as he skipped past defender Jamal Smith before lashing his effort past Shevane Seaforth, who attempted unsuccessfully to protect the empty goal as Williams failed to meet back to his ‘post’. Meanwhile, Pele FC clinched the third position in the tourney, squeaking past Mocha-based outfit Riddim Squad FC by a 2-1 score line. Golden Jaguars International Konata Manning gave Pele the initial lead in the 18th minute, curling his left footed free kick from 26 yards out just off the centre of the field, into the back of the net.  However, Riddim Squad would equalize three minutes before the half-time interval in a fortuitous manner as Sandiford netted. Bearing down on road within the left side of the box, Sandiford would unleash a right-footed attempt which took a deflection off the leg of the challenging Jumane Somerset, wrong-footing ‘keeper Richard Reynolds and settling into the lower left corner. Riddim Squad would then be presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 80th minute as Amos Ramsay was brought down within the left side of the box. Tasked with taking the spot-kick, goal scorer Sandiford would inexplicably fire his right-footed effort wide of the lower left corner, much to the disappointment of the teammates. Riddim Squad would then live to rue their earlier miss as Manning settled the matchup nine minutes later with a another sublime effort. Lurking at the top of the box, Manning would let fly a powerful left footed first-time effort into the top right hand corner, after collecting a flat left sided Deshane Garnette cross which evaded the Mocha backline. Due to the win, Pele clinched the third place title and $500,000 while Riddim Squad will collect $250,000 and the fourth place accolade. The official presentation ceremony for team and individual prizes will occur at a later date.  

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