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BARBADOS - football 2007

Knockout punch!

Date August 21, 2007 Compliments of the Nation News


BUBBLY BRITTONS HILL are the kings of knockout football in Barbados for the first time.

Playing a brilliant brand of soccer, the Brittons Hill boys, spearheaded by a hat-trick from dreadlocked midfielder Anthony "Del Piero" Cumberbatch, dazzled the Ronald Toppin Eden Stars with a 5-1 demolition to capture the Barbados Football Association's Knockout Cup at the YMCA on Sunday night.

It was Brittons Hill's first major title since winning the Division 1 crown (now Premier) on debut,

17 years ago in 1990. Cumberbatch, the 32-year-old three-goal hometown hero, who hails from Eversley Road, dedicated the title to the memory of the

team's late captain and long-serving sweeper Colvin "Bunitz" Lynch.

"He was a great footballer. My brethren for life.

He is gone but not forgotten and I had to win something for him and the whole Brittons Hill football family."

Flattered to deceive

The Stars, with Barbados' United States-based midfielder Rommell Burgess in their line-up, just flattered to deceive after an encouraging display

in the opening exchanges and failed to shine in the second half when Brittons Hill piled on the pressure and found cracks in their defence, which had hardly conceded any goals in the knockout competition.

The lanky and skilful Andre Pinder opened the scoring in the 11th minute when he slipped past Gregory "Lalu" Goodridge and Paul Straughn through the centre of Brittons Hill's defence and neatly pushed his shot away from goalkeeper Wayne Williams into the far corner, much to the delight of the Eden Stars posse.

However, Brittons Hill gradually started to assert their authority on the game and a minute from

half-time, got the equaliser in fortuitous circumstances. Cumberbatch picked up the ball off the left side of the penalty box and his crisp, curling shot, deflected off the body of Eden Stars' captain Dale Collymore and left goal-keeper Romayne Primus bewildered as the ball dropped in the nets to his right as he moved to his left.

Pay dearly

The pendulum of the match swung Brittons Hill's way about 15 minutes into the second half when an injured Pinder was replaced by Fitzgerald Carter. This substitution did not find favour with the Eden Stars players and some vocal fans and it seemed to affect the concentration of their reliable sweeper Collymore.

Brittons Hill made them pay dearly for the lapse in defence in the 61st minute. Substitute Arantes Lawrence, who had replaced Edwin Brereton, switched the ball far on the left side where Rondell Vaughan moved past his marker Richard Hunte and cleverly took it to the by-line before playing it across the goalmouth for the advancing Cumberbatch to knock into the roof of the nets.

Five minutes later, it became 3-1 when Vaughan hammered a fierce 20-yard shot at Primus, who found it too hot to handle and an alert Walton Burrowes showed his goal-scoring skill by smartly hooking the waist-high rebound into the nets with his left-foot.

Took no chances

Brittons Hill then took no chances with their

two-goal cushion and coach Dale Greenidge consulted with manager Elston Dowell and brought on the more defensive-minded Ernie Bacchus for the flamboyant Vaughan, to shore up the middle, alongside Luther Watson with veteran Goodridge, Straughan and

Omar Archer holding the fort at the back.

Brittons Hill never really stopped attacking and striker Dwayne Lynch, who was engaged in a tough battle with Collymore throughout the encounter, seemed destined to score a loose ball in the

six-yard box when he was brought down by Primus, who had initially fumbled a regulation take.

Referee Mark "Bob" Forde, who did a good job in controlling the match with over-zealous fans in the estimated 3 000 crowd invading the field after every goal, pointed to the spot.

Cumberbatch stepped up and calmly converted, picking the right corner to complete his hat-trick,

which some observers reckoned was the first treble

in a knockout final since Barry Richards did the

same for Paradise over a decade ago.

Lanky substitute Travis "Angus" Coppin put the icing on the cake in the 90th minute when he slotted home a cross from Lynch to join Cumberbatch as the leading goalscorers in the knockout with seven goals, while Lynch remained on five.

"It was the team spirit, discipline and playing together as a unit with God up front. We don't do anything and leave Him out. The team's success was

a whole club and community effort from the smallest child to the biggest. We can't forget the fans. They were great supporters," an emotional manager Dowell said after the match.

In the third-place match Valrico Technico continued their dominance of the Barbados Defence Force, defeating them 2-1 to add to their double triumph in the Digicel Premier League. Patrick Ifill scored the winner in injury time after Jermaine Boyce (32nd minute) had equalised for the army outfit following Dwayne O'Garro's 28th minute opener for Technico.



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