IT was as if the entire East Coast was at the Buxton Community Centre Ground on Saturday night as the thousands in attendance witness one of the biggest upsets in local football when the mighty Alpha United fell to Buxton United 1 – 0 and Amelia’s Ward United got the better of Pele whom they defeated 2 – 1.
In all the pre-tournament gaffs, the pundits didn’t predict either of the two finalists to meet this far, much less having a chance to play for the $4M first prize but as the late great Bob Marley said “As a man sow, so shall he reap…the heat of the battle is as sweet as the victory”.
A trade mark free kick by Travis Watterton in the first half and an excellent strike by Keon Sears in the second was all it took for the side from Linden to get past Pele – the same team that defeated them in last year’s Semi-Finals.
Alpha United would only have themselves to blame for the lost since it was an own goal off a Dwyane Jacobs shot late in the second half that was responsible for their demise.
The Buxton/Alpha game was promoted under the David versus Goliath story simply because Alpha United hold the distinction of being Guyana’s number one club and boasting some of the Caribbean’s top players, while their opponents are for the first time meeting this far in any tournament played.
“The East Coast Warriors” as they are now being called lived up to their alias and their supporters cheered every time they gained possession of the ball to show appreciation to their team.
Bells and drums rang and boomed through out the contest which saw both sides sharing possession of the ball evenly throughout the first half of the gruelling contest.
The likes of kayode Mckinnon, National Captain Chris Nurse, defensive stalwart Charles ‘Lilly’ Pollard, goal keeper Ronson Williams, Anthony Abrams and Dwight Peters; all of whom are prominent members of the Golden Jaguars team, could’nt have helped Alpha United get past Buxton.
Grenada’s leading striker and one of the best forwards in the Caribbean Kithson Bain also donned the Alpha United uniform in this year’s tournament but his strength and tactical efforts on the frontline proved futile against a resolute Buxton defence.
Scores were nil at the end of the first half and remained that way until the closing minutes of regulation time when Dwayne Jacobs, a former Alpha United player, powerfully stroked a right footer to goal and a swarm of Alpha defenders pounced on the ball to clear it from goal but only to cause it piercing the back of their own net.
The crowd swarmed the field of play in euphoria of their team’s one nil lead over the mighty Alpha United and when play resumed, Kithson Bain sent a powerful right foot volley to goal only to have his shot swerved just inches of the of goal.
When referee Stanley Lancaster sounded his whistle to signal the end of the game, the entire field of play was filled with joyous Buxton United supporters all shouting “we coming to the stadium”!
Meanwhile, the opening encounter set the perfect tone for the night when Amelia’s sang sweet songs of revenge when they got past Pele, a team known for showing up in ‘big money’ tournaments.
Last year Amelia’s Ward United finished fourth and were defeated 3 – 1 by Pele in the semi-finals and since then the team regrouped, rebuild and produced a stunning performance, one which would see them playing Buxton on January 1st.
For the first time in years, the Kashif and Shanghai football tournament will not see a Georgetown side in the finals and would see two teams whose villages share a rich history in their fight for democracy.
The after football concert will feature Mavado and Guyana’s Natural Black and tickets for the finals are presently on sale at Ashmins Trading.