By Terry Andrew
Empire won its first match of the ABFA’s Premier League season with Justin “Trini” Pereira and Hakeem “Squat” Joseph finding the back of the net to clinch a 2-1 come from behind win over Defending Champions Parham.
Pereira scored on his first touch of the match in the 76th minute after entering the game a minute earlier, the experience midfielder slot home from close range after receiving a pass across the six yard box from captain on the night Nyque Watkins. It was the equalizer after Parham had took the lead through Tevin Slater who nodded home a well-placed cross.
However after Pereira’s decisive first touch the Grays Farm men gained momentum which resonated belief that they could complete the comeback, and so they did after the Parham’s back-line was robbed of possession in their own half and a forward pass found Pereira again unmarked, proving that the midfielder had another crucial touch which was left up to Joseph to placed his looping shot over Parham’s custodian Olson Ford.
Another top performer for the victors was Goal Keeper Randy Nicholas, his crucial decision making between the uprights was top class, even denying the opposition from the penalty spot and other goal scoring chances after his defense was left dead by Parham’s attackers.
However, it was a more organized Empire than what was displayed in the first encounter, the 4-5-1 system thwarted attack after attack from Parham which was preferred to the 3-5-2 formation.
With the win Empire gained its first 3 points back in the country’s top flight and the hope is they will not be resting on their success but work on improving in all sections of the field defensively, in the engine room of midfield or on top with the forwards.