University of the West Indies Blackbirds’ Mustafa Haqq (right) watches and waits for his opportunity to take the ball from Raheim Sargeant of the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme.

Wales, BDF Sports Programme are teams to watch

The Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme and 2017 triple-crown champions Weymouth Wales are not mixing matters when it comes to the title race in the Barbados Football Association’s Premier League. Both teams went up to nine points after taking wins on Sunday night to sit pretty at the top of their respective zones. Playing in the first games ever at the BFA’s newly-reopened Wildey Turf, the two teams put some extra distance between them and the rest of the pack with sound victories.

In the nightcap game, Wales rolled to a 3-0 result over Paradise to move six points clear of the rest of Zone 1. Paradise looked to be the better version of themselves early on in the encounter – holding possession, stringing some solid passes and applying pressure on the defending champions. However, that all changed in the 12th minute as the eventual “Player of the Match” Romario Harewood got the ball a few yards outside of the box on the right and took a beautiful left-booted shot which sailed to the right of a diving Jason Boxill and into the nets.

Before the end of the first half, Wales were able to double up as former national team captain Rashida Williams showed that he still had years of football left in him with an impressive left-foot volley in the 25th. The third and final goal came in the 62nd when Arantees Lawrence ran the left flank and made a long cross to Hadan Holligan who comfortably finished the play for his third goal of the season. Paradise now have only one win from their three games to hover just over Empire Club in the group.

The soldiers are seeking to take back the title as they were led to their third win in Zone 2 by a brace from a returning Kyle Gibson. The lanky striker, who is back in the outfit after leaving at the end of the 2015 season, had two second half goals in the 47th and 60th to break the half-time 0-0 deadlock against the hot and cold University of the West Indies Blackbirds. Although they had several chances at goal, the Blackbirds failed to finish each time, seeing them going home empty-handed and in the danger zone after two draws in three games.

The evening’s first game saw Home Improvement Hardware Compton and Crane and Equipment Ellerton playing to a 3-1 result in the latter’s favour. Ellerton picked up the lead very early as Shaquan Clarke opened the account in the ninth minute of play. Going into the second half with the score remaining the same, Compton were able to draw level as Kishmar Wade was able to beat former national keeper Kerry Holder in the 71st minute. However, Ellerton would go up two to take the win with goals from Zico Mascoll (75th) and Shad Parris (83rd).

The league is set to continue today with two games at the Wildey venue. At 7 pm Abrahams United Silver Sands take on Clayton’s Kola Tonic Notre Dame, while Empire and Brittons Hill have the nightcap at 9 pm.

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