Reprinted from the ABFA website.
Photo courtesy Thaddeus Price.
JOHN’S, Antigua (October 28, 2015) – On Sunday, Cool & Smooth Empire not only fought back; they shocked Sap by coming from two goals down with 20 minutes remaining to win 4-3.
The dramatic victory could not have been scripted any better for the team that was humiliated in the Gray’s Green derby two weeks ago. This time around, it was markedly different.
In the first game of the triple header in the ABFA Premier Division, fans were treated to the real deal.
And what a show it was: a dazzling display of moves, passes and goals by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines national team striker.
But Sunday, the Vincentian gave the fans what they wanted and more, to upset the then league leaders.
Early on, Empire seemed destined for another defeat, as Sap took a 3-1 lead.
A spectacular corner kick from the left flank by Okeem “Soda” Challenger found the back of a challenging Jermaine Browne and the back of the net.
With the scores leveled and halftime approaching, a critical error by keeper Kennah Mercel afforded Sap the lead once more.
Novelle “Boy-Boy” Francis caught Christian off his line and hit over the keeper’s head from an acute angle on the right side.
Empire went into the dressing room in obvious discomfort.
In the second half, Mercel made up for his poor judgment in the first session to stop national striker Peter “Big Pete” Byers on a one-on-one encounter.
On a number of other occasions, Mercel came up trumps, making save after save, redeeming himself along the way.
Twenty minutes after intermission, however, Sap made another breakthrough, on Challenger’s corner kick.
That goal seemed to have ignited a fire in the Empire camp and coach Steveroy “Demon” Anthony made a change that turned the game his way.
Anthony sent in veteran striker Kenny “Upper Level” Morgan who along with Zeno and Rodney Lawrence took over the game.
A build-up by the trio opened up space for Hakeem “Squat” Joseph, who slotted home from inside the area five minutes after Sap’s third goal.
The equalizer followed 14 minutes later.
A pass came through the Sap defense to find an open Marie Samuel alone just outside the six.
Samuel hit a one-time shot confidently into the open goal, which drew huge cheers from the Empire fans.
There was more to come, and when it did, it capped off another dazzling build-up by Morgan and Lawrence.
This time the pass went to Lawrence, who eased his way to the middle of the area in time to receive a ball from Morgan passed in from the right flank.
The comeback complete and the shock apparent as a number of Sap players fell to the ground in disbelief, the whistle sounded to end the contest.