A classy second half double by substitute Jody Allsop ensured that Guaya United remained atop the CNG National Super League’s Premiership Division this evening after their clash with FC Santa Rosa, who are 10th in the 15-team table.
Introduced in the 70th minute, it took the lanky Allsop all of five minutes to leave his mark on the contest, as he curled a beautiful left-footed 23-yard free kick into the bottom right corner to level the game at one-apiece.
The Santa Rosa wall had inched forward to try to lessen the danger of Allsop’s set piece. But the ploy made no difference as the substitute’s strike was a thing of beauty.
The goal reignited the “Green Army” charge as they abandoned their rear guard and surged forward with great intensity. And Allsop grabbed the late winner too as he applied a smooth left-footed finish to a move which involved the industrious Ryan Stewart and fellow sub Carlon Hughes.
Allsop’s neatly taken goal sent the Guaya supporters into ecstasy as chants of “Guaya! Guaya!” echoed from the visiting supporters, who flooded the Marvin Lee venue and made a mockery of the fact that Santa Rosa was the home team.
The Green Army did not have everything go its way today though against a stubborn Santa Rosa outfit that shaded a stop-start first half.
“We usually start with a very high tempo but today we started very slowly,” said Guaya’s Scottish coach James Baird. “And bearing in mind that it is an artificial surface, I think we probably started slowly because the boys were getting accustomed.”
Guaya’s marksmen took some time to get their range and winger Kheelon Mitchell was the main culprit in the early stages.
At the other end, Santa Rosa’s deep-lying midfield duo of Durwin Ross and Shaka Pilgrim won most of the loose balls in the middle of the park but struggled to find lone striker Rashad Griffith who had his hands full between Guaya central defenders Beville Joseph and captain Sherlon Campbell.
The best opportunity of the first half fell to Guaya as some snappy passing by Stewart and striker Earlon Thomas, on the edge of the area led to a glorious opportunity for midfielder Keylon Thomas in the 43rd minute. But the latter’s tame effort was easily gathered by Santa Rosa goalkeeper Kitwanna Manning.
Guaya’s fans were calling out for a goal but burly centre half Joseph nearly gifted one to the opposition in the 48th minute when he sent a routine headed clearance straight to Santa Rosa midfielder Christian Young.
Luckily for Joseph, Young kicked into the artificial turf.
Nine minutes later, Rosa midfielder Keston Henry was not as wasteful as he superbly lobbed onrushing Guaya custodian Erskine Johnson, after latching on to a clever lofted pass.
But Santa Rosa’s deadly counter attack only served to rouse the Green Army into action, as the chants of “Guaya!” intensified from the visitors.
Mitchell nearly appeased the green fans in the 64th minute but crashed his left-footed drive into the side netting.
‘Super sub’ Allsop had the answer though.
“Ironically I spoke to Jody (Allsop) just before and jokingly told him I wanted two goals and then he went on and got them,” Baird told Wired868.
It took Allsop just 17 minutes to grant his coach’s wishes. His first could not have been placed any better if he had tossed the ball into the net himself. While his second was not only a sizzling finish but well crafted too following clever passes from Stewart and Hughes.
Wish granted and mission accomplished, as the Guaya soldiers maintained their one point lead over Defence Force, who they meet next Sunday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium’s training field.
Santa Rosa (4-2-3-1): 22.Kitwana Manning (GK), 23.Claudius Howard, 13.Jovan Rochford (captain), 24.Jesse Reyes, 3.Kerron Reid; 11.Durwin Ross, 8.Shaka Pilgrim; 21.Jean-Paul Aqui-Blanc (6.Kashif Clarke 74), 26.Keston Henry, 25.Christian Young (19.Gary Bart 55); 7.Rashad Griffith (17.Kearn Noel 84).
Unused Substitutes: 1.Anthony Kallicharan (GK), 4.Jeremy Mc Meo, 18.Shaquille Antoine, 20.Johan De Bique.
Coach: Keith Look Loy
Guaya United (4-1-3-2): 1.Erskine Johnson (GK); 8.Kerdell Alfred, 14.Sherlon Campbell (Captain), 19.Beville Joseph, 11.Leroy Jones; 25.Keston Jordan; 12.Hakeem Rolingston (Kevin Jagdeosingh 46), 18.Keylon Thomas (7.Jody Allsop 70), 27.Kheelon Mitchell; 9.Earlon Thomas (10.Carlon Hughes 46), 17.Ryan Stewart.
Unused Substitutes: 4.Kheelon Ferrier, 15.Russel Alfred, 13.Andre Alfred, 23.Cio Morris.
Coach: James Baird
Referee: Gordon Maloney
Man of the Match: Jody Allsop (Guaya United)
NSL Premiership Division
Defence Force FC 4 (Michael Edwards 23, 58, 72, Josimar Belgrave 87), Siparia Spurs 0, Hasely Crawford Stadium training field;
Stokely Vale FC 1 (Akeilon Murphy 49), Real Maracas 4 (Christian Thomas 14, Andell Allsop 23, Ricardo Bennett 76, 89), Plymouth Recreation Ground;
Club Sando Moruga 2 (Nigel John 36, 89), Bethel United 1 (Akeel Scott 32), Grand Chemin Recreation Ground;
1976 FC Phoenix 1 (Stefano Wright 40), Petrotrin Palo Seco 0, Canaan Recreation Ground;
Marabella Family Crisis Centre 3 (Arvid Applewhite 13, Ghmyo Harper 62, Kevin Moodie 90), NLCB La Horquetta SA 3 (Taje Commissiong 42, Keston Jones 75, Frederick Commissiong 83), Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
FC Santa Rosa 1 (Keston Henry 57), Guaya United 2 (Jody Allsop 75, 87), Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya;
Police FC 4 (Marcus Ashton 34, Colin Williams 40, Keon Figaro 84, Trent Noel 87), Matura ReUnited 0, St James Barracks.