Sunday, April 21, 2024

All Stars douse Fire


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The flames of Phoenix UFO Toyota Firehouse have finally been doused.
Tech4Less Combined Scotty’s All Stars took a gigantic step towards qualifying for the knockout round of the LIME Pelican Football Challenge when they upended the previously unbeaten Firehouse 1-0 at Kensington Oval on Thursday night.
All Stars wouldn’t care that the game’s lone goal came by way of a horrible blunder by Firehouse’s usually solid custodian Shakeda “Rossi” Duke, which allowed Damian Husbands’ tame shot to sneak in at the near post in the 60th minute.
Of more importance, however, would be the fact that they grabbed three crucial points to maintain a three-point cushion over Zone “B” playoff hopefuls DirecTV Red Snappers, who defeated Sportstown Galaxy 2-1 in the night’s first match.
It now means that, barring a huge defeat in their last game against the winless Sportstown Galaxy, All Stars will qualify for the quarter-finals.
With a superior goal difference, Firehouse are almost assured of a final eight berth but they may have to do so without the services of leading goalscorer Paul “Soup” Lovell, who had to be substituted after sustaining an injury in the first half.
Lovell was guilty of wasting Firehouse’s two best chances in the opening minutes as the pre-tournament favourites dominated proceedings early on.
A beautiful one-two between Norman Forde and Shurland Roberts set Roberts free on the right flank. However, after being picked out with a pinpoint pass, Lovell couldn’t keep his header down and it sailed over the crossbar.
Minutes later, Roberts played Lovell through with a lovely ball and after rounding All Stars’ advancing keeper Mario Albert, Lovell shot wide, falling to the turf and holding his right hamstring.
At the other end, Firehouse’s Ricky Barnes had to be alert to deny Reno Shepherd a shot after he dribbled his way past two defenders and into the penalty area.
Roberts was back in the thick of things soon after, twisting and turning his way past two All Star defenders but his firm right-footed shot was straight at Albert.
Just before the break, All Stars were awarded an indirect free kick two yards from goal after Llewellyn Broomes inadvertently back passed a ball to Duke and the keeper picked up the ball.
But both Tristan “Fishy” Parris’ and Husbands’ shots were hammered straight into the wall, much to the relief of Firehouse supporters.
Troy Carrington, who replaced Lovell, spurned another chance shortly after the half, with Albert producing a superb save to deny the dreadlocked striker.
On their next possession, though, All Stars went ahead.
A good build-up on the right found a tightly marked Parris just outside the penalty area; and with two defenders marking the strongly built marksman, he laid off a pass to Husbands.
Duke looked to have Husbands’ left-footed shot covered but an error in judgement saw the ball roll under his hands and into the back of the net.
Another Firehouse chance went abegging when Carrington shot wide with just the keeper to beat, before Darnell Murray did the same after being played through by Forde.
Just seconds before the final whistle, All Stars were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty when Rohan Hall handled the ball in the penalty area, but the referee waved off their appeals.
Earlier, despite having to play with ten men inside the opening minutes, Red Snappers kept their qualification hopes alive through goals by Rashad Jules (12th) and Kenroy Skinner in the 79th, after Renaco Thompson brought his side level with a strike in the 43rd minute.

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