ALTHOUGH being in the third round, the STAG Elite League has certainly lived up to the hype, and Tuesday at the Tucville ground football fans were treated to an enthralling 2-2 draw between Fruta Conquerors and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). The ‘Army’ went into the contest searching for another three points after picking up their first win against Buxton United (1-0), while Fruta Conquerors wanted to keep their unbeaten record intact.
Known for their ‘rough’ style of play, the GDF were reduced to 10 men after one of their primary goalscorers Delwin Fraser was given a ‘straight red’ just eight minutes into the game.
The referee was right on the play when the forward intentionally elbowed Fruta Conquerors defender Dwayne Lindy to the face and immediately coach Denzil Thompson’s men were forced to play deep into their half to keep the always-hungry home side strikers at bay.
Knowing that the Army will have changed their strategy, Fruta Conquerors head coach Calvin Allen pressed his men forward and this resulted in Kwamie LaFleur netting his side’s first goal of the game in the 24th minute.
It was LaFleur’s second goal of the Stag Elite League but ten minutes later, the GDF equalised from the penalty spot when the referee thought that Alex Murray (Fruta Conquerors goalkeeper) was too harsh to the play when he and the Army’s Delroy Fraser collided in the air for a loose ball.
As a result Murray picked up an injury to his hip after falling and was rushed to the hospital, with Fruta Conquerors turning to second-string keeper Dennis Edwards.
Edwards, who also plays in the midfield for his club, was beaten by Phillips and the scores were level for the first time.
The half closed 1-1 and in the second canto, despite being a player down, the GDF changed from being defensive and searched for the ‘go-ahead’ goal which they found in the 60th minute.
A shot was taken and Fruta Conquerors’ Ralph Edwards was given a red card for what the referee believed was a deliberate hand ball in the 18 yards box.
Phillips again was asked by coach Thompson to take the decisive penalty and the diminutive forward did not disappoint, putting it flat and hard in the left corner, out of Edwards’ reach.
But the Army’s celebration was short-lived, as Fruta Conquerors captain Trevon Lythcott, one minute later, towered above the GDF players in the goal area to head home the equaliser.
It was ‘game on’ from then. The two teams searched for the much-needed win but though creating some real goal chances, in the end, a point was what they had to settle for.
The GDF, who are now on four points after three games (one win, one draw, one loss), will play the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) tomorrow at their Base Camp Ayanganna ground from 20:30hrs.
Fruta Conquerors are now on seven points, the same as Pele FC but are in second place, because of Pele’s superior goal difference.