GDF too strong for Topp XX…Fruta Conquerors remain unbeaten
By Rawle Toney
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and Fruta Conquerors Football club were too good for their opponents to handle, as the two sides showed why the second season of the STAG Elite League is perceived as a two-team race.
Played on a water-logged Mackenzie Sports Club Ground on Sunday evening, the Army, despite being reduced to ten men, literally over-powered the home team Topp XX 4 – 1 while Fruta Conquerors endured a dogged performance by Buxton United to pick up their three points with a 2 – 1 victory.
Both games were exciting from the start and it provided the perfect introduction for the STAG Elite League to the football-starved Linden community.
The weather might have played its part for the venue not being usual filled, but nonetheless, the crowd that gathered were certainly entertained; especially in the GDF/Topp XX encounter.
It was evident that Topp XX would be in for a long night and referee Sherwin Johnson also knew that he would be having busy evening in the middle.
The GDF side entered the game having scored 11 goals from their two previous games while for the Linden-based team, it was a game they were hoping for a result that would’ve seen them picking up their first point (at least), coming off of back-to-back defeats.
Poor defending, coupled with some goalkeeping blunder resulted in Olvis Mitchell scoring his first of two goals in the 13th minute.
The Army’s forward playing with his back to the goal, collected a pass just inside the 18-yards area but the defence was late for the challenge, as Mitchell nicely turned and hammered in the game’s opening goal.
The crowd was furious, and sounded their frustration, but, it was only the beginning. Kennard Simon (27th minute) was left with too much space and the diminutive but rather skillful player, made no mistakes in clinically finishing to give the Army a 2 – 0 advantage.
Shawn Daniels and Duquan Hercules were given the task by coach Collie Hercules to get the goals for the Linden side, but the pair seemed out of sync and never got a quality shot off as the visitors went into the locker room with a comfortable lead.
The second stanza would see a more spirited approach to the game by Topp XX but Mitchell completed his double 53rd minute when caught the Topp XX keeper off his line and with precision, he (Mitchell) slipped his right-footed shot flat and hard to pierce the net.
With the score 3 – 0, Topp XX won a penalty three minutes later when one of their players was clipped in the ‘18’ and Referee Johnson wasted little time in pointing to the ‘stop’.
Travis ‘Chicken’ Watterton stepped up the mark and made no mistakes in converting; bringing the Linden crowd to their feet (for the first time in the match).
With the scores 3 – 1 and Topp XX rejuvenated, thanks to Watterton’s goal, the game saw a shift in momentum.
Topp XX was awarded another penalty in the 71st minute after the Referee whistled Simon for a handball just on the goal-line. The play also saw the goalscorer given a Red Card; reducing the GDF to ten men.
However, Watterton’s shot was timed to perfection by the GDF custodian who pulled off a beautiful save.
But despite being a man short, the GDF immediately responded, this time through their usual goal-getter Delwin Fraser, who used his pace to get around the Topp XX defender (Ruel Johnson) and again, caught the keeper off-guard to score the Army’s fourth goal.
Topp XX never recovered and would lose their third game in as many outings in the STAG Elite League.
Meanwhile the opening game, saw both Buxton United and Fruta Conquerors playing good football, especially in the opening minutes. So tense was the battle between the two, that the first half ended scoreless.
The second half, however, belonged to Fruta Conquerors, who got their go-ahead goal from Eon Alleyne in the 52nd minute when he collected a pass from Jermaine Junor to put the SM Jaleel-sponsored club in the lead.
But on the other end, in a rather comical fashion, Buxton United equalised when the Fruta Conquerors keeper cleared a ball that was played in, but, the ball rebounded off the head of Clive Andries and the East Coast Demerara team leveled the score 1 – 1.
The ‘ever dependable’ Kwamie La Fluer who came on as a first half substitute for teenager Nicholas Mc Arthur, scored, what is so far, the goal of the tournament to eventually hand the Tucville-based team three points.
La Fluer had all the time that game allowed when he collected a pass just inside the 18-years area, attacking the Mackenzie Police Station-end goal, and curled his right-footed shot around the defence and stunned the Buxton United keeper.
The goal found favour with the crowd, who showed appreciation with loud cheers. The goal also meant that Fruta Conquerors would remain unbeaten and are just one point ahead of the GDF.
The League will head to Berbice on Saturday December 10 at the #5 Ground, where the Monedderlust will play host to the Guyana Defence Force from 20:30 hours, and Topp XX will take on Victoria Kings.