On a night highlighted by contrasting wins for West Front Road and Leopold Street respectively, North Ruimveldt and Alexander Village battled to a 4-4 stalemate when the Ministry of Health/Petra Organization Soft Shoe championships continued on Monday.
The wet conditions of the Santos Training Venue provided the perfect setting for a thrilling encounter which featured everything from great goals to horrendous blunders for the sizeable viewership.
As both sides struggled with their footing, Alexander Village took the lead in the seventh minute compliments of an own goal as Linris Carrington directed the ball into the net in an attempt to deny a solo run from Leon Yaw inside the box.
It was from this point the matchup intensified as North Ruimveldt immediately responded through Anthony Sancho, who blasted his effort into the centre of the net after the custodian parried the ball into his path.
Alexander responded in the ninth minute when veteran sharpshooter Shem Porter directed a powerful free-kick from the right side which crashed into the right post and settled into the net. North Ruimveldt was gifted the equaliser in the 11th minute, much to the amusement of the crowd as a tame Gerald Gittens strike from the left side went through the legs of the goalkeeper and into the right corner.
The back and forth nature of the matchup continued with Sheldon Fletcher handing Alexander Village the lead once more, blasting his powerful strike into the left side of the net in the 13th minute.
As expected, North Ruimveldt answered on the stroke of half-time in the 15th minute as Jamal Hamilton directed a thunderous right foot free-kick from the centre of the field, into the top right corner.
Although the second period matched the first half with regards to intensity, robust defending on both ends thwarted many of the attacking threats.
Eventually, Sancho handed North Ruimveldt the lead for the first time in the encounter in the 22nd minute, dribbling past the onrushing goalkeeper before finishing down the centre while fighting off challenge of defender in the penalty area.
Nevertheless, Alexander Village secured a deserved point as Ryan October netted what proved to be the fixture’s last goal moments later, directing his right foot shot into the left corner, after latching onto a strike from a right side free-kick.
Last year’s losing finalist West Front Road swamped newcomer the Ministry of Health 5-0. Randolph Wagner recorded a brace in the 15th and 18th minutes while Michael Pedro, Nathaniel Nagaloo and Jermin Junior scored in the second, 13th and 17th minutes respectively.
Also, Leopold Street got their campaign off to the perfect start, edging Festival City by a 2-1 score line. Akeem Rajkumar and Rondell Williams were on target in the eighth and 11th minute respectively for the winner while Jamal Brown scored for the loser in the 18th minute.
In other results, Campbellville created the first major upset of the event, downing West Back Road by a 2-0 margin compliments of a Ozeal Small double in the 14th and 20th minutes.
Meanwhile, North East La Penitence and Albouystown battled to a 1-1 result. Calvin Moore scored for North East La Penitence in the eighth minute while Devon Dooker equalised in the 23rd minute for Albouystown.
The final result witnessed Channel-9 Warriors defeating Back Circle via walkover. The event will continue tomorrow at the Parade Ground with six matchups.
In the opening fixture at 19:00hrs, Campbellville will oppose Channel-9 Warriors while the second match will bring together Back Circle and West Back Road from 19:45hrs.
In the third affair at 20:30hrs, Leopold Street will tackle North Ruimveldt while holders Sparta Boss will lock horns with Holmes Street Tiger Bay in the fourth affair at 21:15hrs.
The fifth showdown will then pit Queen’s Street Tiger Bay against Ministry of Health from 21:45hrs while the final fixture will witness Kitty opposing Globe Yard from 10:30hrs.