IF the zonal teams in the Craven A Professional Footbal League's debut North/South Cassic had taken advantage of the numerous chances that came their way yesterday, the fans would have had a scoring feast.
But as things turned out at the João Havelange Centre of Excellence, the small crowd on hand had to settle for fast-paced, attacking, entertaining football from both sides marred by a marked inability to finish.
In the end, the South squad emerged victors in the contest, 4-1 winners on penalty kicks after play in regulation time saw the sides deadlocked at 2-2.
The first half featured flank attacks from both teams, with WCFC's Titus Elva for the south and Defence Force's Carlos Edwards for the north being the main protagonists.
On many occasions, Edwards would torment the Anton Pierre-marshalled defence, dribbling deftly then supplying teasing crosses into his opponents' penalty area. But his best chance at scoring came when the northerner's captain Arnold Dwarika, positioned at the top of the area, slid the ball to the former St Anthony's College player behind the South defence. Edwards then got his six-yard blast off before the W Connection custodian could smother his shot, but the ball whistled inches over the crossbar.
Minutes later from centrefield Dwarika would release CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh striker Warren Butler with an accurate pass through the heart of the South's back four. Clarke's anticipation combined with Butler's inability to control adequately resulted in the keeper safely retrieving the ball at the attacker's feet.
Throughout the encounter, Elva in combination with teammates Anton Brown, Earl Jean and the PFL's leading goal scorer at the moment, Collie Hercules, would also cause the Dwarika-led North side many a concern.
The speedy forwards often caught out captain Reynold Carrington's defenders but scoreline remained goalless when referee Ramesh Ramdan's whistle to signal half-time went. Seven minutes into the second half, the southerners opened their scoring account through Elva.
Making a strong run down the right flank from midfield, he surged past
two southern defenders and from 10 yards out struck a low powerful right-footed
shot past Michael McComie who had replaced Clayton Ince during the interval.
Dwarika's team would take eleven minutes to reply. Edwards dummied a pass from Dwa
rika on the right side, then leaving Brown in his wake, proceeded to the byline and hit the ball along the ground across the area to Jabloteh's MarK Borde who quickly fired past an outstretched Anthony Marshall.
Then the northerners would wrest take the initiative. Edwards and Dwarika once again worked a one-two on the left side of the the south's 18-yard area, with Edwards breaking free to the byline and this time slipping the ball for the onrushing Kendall Velox to slot home from close range.
Eager to find an equaliser, South launched into attack. .But when it seemed that all hope as lost, Ramdhan's generous addition of three minutes injury time proved to be their saviour.
René Regis made a searching run to the touchline from his right back position then crossed the ball directly onto the head of substitute Colvin Hutchinson who headed home from just outside McComie's six-metre box.
Penalty kicks followed and a miss by Wesley John and Marshall's save off Borde's attempt handed Earl Jean the opportunity to seal the victory for his team. The WCFC forward shot past McComie to give his team a 4-1 win.