Soesdyke Falcons crowned EBFA Senior KO champs
Soesdyke Falcons came of age on Sunday, storming back from one goal deficit to defeat East Bank Football Association’s (EBFA) number one side, Grove Hi Tech 3-2 to win the association’s knockout championship in extra time.
Going into the match, Grove had scored well over 20 goals as opposed to their opponents which did not even reach 10. But on the day, Soesdyke Falcons had a point to prove and that they did when Orin Tasha rose above the Grove defenders in the 90+8th minute to head the ball past young goalie Usher Jones which sealed the title as the best and bragging rights until the next knockout tournament.
As expected, Grove enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and muffed many chances as well; but Soesdyke, came with a plan to absorb what the opponents brought to the table early on and frustrate them.
That plan was effective up until the 17th minute when Nicholai Matthews tucked in the first goal for Grove. But even as they took the lead, Soesdyke grew in confidence to the extent that they fired back three minutes later to level the scores, thanks to a Delon Smith strike.
It was a balanced affair at the half way mark of the battle but the war was way from over. The next chapter in the book was going to be scripted by the Khan brothers who were playing on opposing sides; no brotherly love – at least for the duration of the match.
In the second half tussle, Tyrone Khan, playing for Soesdyke, finished clinically to hand his side the lead in the 52nd minute, much to the delight of his teammates and supporters which outnumbered those on the Grove side of the divide.
But the game had just begun; Grove continued to battle, the next chapter was scripted by Khan’s younger sibling Tyrel who was as clinical as his brother when he scored the equaliser for Grove in the 74th minute.
Tyrell was so animated in scoring that he took off his jersey as part of the celebrations which drew him a yellow card from referee Cordel Johnson. It was again an even situation but the momentum had shifted Soesdyke’s way.
A few minutes later, Tyrell Khan was evicted from the match as a result of drawing a second yellow card which meant that Grove was now playing with 10; advantage, Soesdyke. The remaining minutes of regulation time failed to separate the sides but as the minutes went by, more pressure was building on Grove.
The first period of extra time (five minutes) went by without a change to the score line and the second period seemed to be heading that way until Soesdyke won a corner with two minutes to go.
The cross came over and Orin Tasha found the spring to leap above about four Grove players to guide the ball into the back of the nets, Soesdyke sneaking ahead at a critical juncture in the war.
They were able to protect that advantage until the final whistle was sounded which signaled a new day for the champions as well as set new tone ahead of the associations 2019 season.
Both Soesdyke and Grove have earned the right to contest the Guyana Football Federation playoffs for their year-end Super 16 KO tournament.