This match-up have always been a highly anticipated game in the ABFA. The game was the featured attraction for today December 11, 2016 and is the final game of the first half.
Parham came out a little cautious in my estimation, but an early misjudgment by our goalkeeper seemed to encourage them to come at us. They were not making a lot of passes through the middle, but were just trying to get the long ball downfield for the front-runners. We seemed to have had the smarts to handle those attacks, so most of them were headed away by our defense.
Our defender, Orvada Gordon, went into a sliding tackle with number 25 for Parham, who is called ‘Dutty Mouth’ and had to be taken from the field of play on the stretcher. Reports are that one of his legs was broken as a result of the play. The game went into an uproar for a few minutes as several of our players were very irate with the opposing player and our players had to be restricted from getting close to the Parham player.
They were able to score when a ball came across the goal and the goalkeeper made an attempt to collect it but missed it and it was subsequently headed into the back of the net to give Parham a one goal lead. At that point I was concerned as to the impact that would have on the team, but we held our heads high and started digging. Horseman, who was the substitute for Gordon, collected a ball outside the box, close to the right touchline and travelled with it for some thirty-five yards before hitting it through to Swazo, who struck home for the equalizer.
They continued the same strategy against us. A ball came over the defense for the goalkeeper to collect, but instead of going with his hands for the ball he tried to kick it and missed it completely. The opposing striker was able to catch up with the ball just about a foot from the goal line and was able to turn it enough with his head to get it into the goal. That was the score line at the half, Parham 2: Empire 1.
Shortly after the second half commenced, we were able to get a penalty from a hand ball inside the box and it was converted by Swazo, to equalize for the second time in the encounter. We continued to play and this was one of the few times for the season that we were really able contain the opposing midfield and so it was just the defenders who had a lot of chasing. Something happened, I am not sure exactly what it was, but they were able to come at us and found ways and means of doing so which they had not been able to up to this point in the game. One of those chases down the left flank resulted in a shot, then a save by the keeper, then another shot from the rebound, which bounced off of the upright and was then finally put home for their third goal of the game.
Starty was substituted for Omarie and a few minutes later, Chad was taken out and replaced by Buty. From the point of the third goal onward, we made a few feeble attempts at goal, but nothing came close to make the third equalizer. We were either tired or despondent, but the fight seemed to have left our team.
The game ended Parham 3: Empire 2.