Ollivierre rescues point for Panthers
One love had been guilty of missing several golden opportunities during the second period to finish the game off having gone into a 2-1 lead inside two minutes of the restart via a goal from Sylvan Wynter. However, the Panthers kept battling away and were rewarded with the spot kick when a defender was adjudged to have first pushed and then handled the ball inside the box from a throw in.
Ollivierre made no mistake with his kick, leaving the keeper flat footed and scoring to his left.
Carl Stewart opened the scoring in the first half despite three great consecutive saves and blocks from Erron Ewers, but the ball broke kindly for Stewart who fired home with the outside of his right boot from 8 yards out.
The Panthers though were playing fast and incisive football and after nearly equalizing with the move of the match featuring Luis Buckley, Odian Thompson, Gregory James and Shannon Lawrence; it was Thompson who reacted first to level the scores after another flowing move.
Ewers did well to keep then ball in on his own bye line and then quickly punted the ball up field where Lawrence played the perfect ball into the path of Thompson. He looked up, saw the keeper, Craig Sinclair, off his line and delicately lobbed the ball into the empty net.
Stewart was guilty of a glaring miss when faced with an open goal and One Love were left to rue their failure to kill the game when the penalty kick was awarded.
The result, coupled with the Rebels 4-0 victory over Haitian Stars leaves One Love still top on 20 points, the Rebels second on goal difference ahead of the Wolues with both teams on 16 points and the Panthers sit fourth on 13.
The Rebels were indebted to three of the sweetest strikes you will ever see in one match and one incredible piece of misfortune by a goalkeeper for their comfortable victory
Garnet Fearon was fouled 20 yards out and Hilton Matthew sent his free kick past the wall and into what at first appeared to be the safe hands of the ‘keeper, who luckily for him, shall remain anonymous as his name didn’t appear on the team sheet. He completely misread the ball and let it slip past his hands and into the bottom right corner.
That lead was doubled just a few minutes later by Howard Hemmings, on the stroke of half time, when he took advantage of a defensive mix-up to fire home. The what turned out to be a crazy closing to the first period, Fearon himself trebled the lead with a powerful drive.
The ball broke to him on the edge of the box and he took a touch, skipped past one challenge and lashed an unstoppable half volley home.
Halfway through the second period, Fearon hit his second and the Rebels fourth with a beautiful first time volley from Michael Facey’s corner.
In group A action over the weekend, Ballstars and Islanders played to a nil-nil draw despite the Ballstars drafting in their St Thomas-based players in an attempt to resurrect the season, their hopes of a qualification spot for the equivalent of last year’s Heineken Cup and indeed the new look Premier league.
The move backfired although the Ballstars seemed happier with a point than the disappointment of now facing an uphill battle to reach the post season. Three or four of the National Youth players were left sidelined and it brings into sharp focus what the BVIFA will do in an attempt to give the youngsters more playing time in senior football, with the obvious benefits to the National sides of the future.
The Ballstars were the only side to feature youngsters, apart from the new look VG United and if now the quest for glory and Premiership status becomes the main driving force, then the gap between young players and their Caribbean counterparts will become even more exaggerated.
The Islanders of course remain unbeaten and sit in first place in group A with 22 points and Old Madrid slip down to third after suffering a 5-0 defeat to the Sugar Boys over in Virgin Gorda.
The win, courtesy of a brace from Javon Wallace and one each from Michael Castillo, Derol Redhead and Michael Richards, means the Boys now also have 12 points and are ahead of Old Madrid on goal difference.
The Ballstars sit 4th on 7 points and might have at least an outside chance of reaching the Premier League qualification places with games against Old Madrid and possibly East End to come.