Published on January 21st, 2016 | by kickstartfc0
Stars Start the Season with a Draw
KickStart’s senior team (The Stars) started off their 2016 season with a hard-fought 1-1 draw versus Eden Stars on Tuesday night (January 19). Playing at Eden Lodge, where they fell to a 2-0 defeat last year, the Stars got off to a rough start, struggling to settle into their passing game on the not-well-maintained field, whereas the home team quickly settled into their rhythm.
Nonetheless, the KickStart lads, led by team captain Naphtali Cave, repelled all that came their way and it was only a questionable decision by referee Andrew Herbert that was able to breach the well-organized defense. A long ball over the top of the KickStart defense drew goalie Zico Callendar off his line, and though he was fully committed to getting the ball, the opposing striker was more interested in drawing contact and charged straight into Callendar, somehow convincing the referee that he was one fouled.
Keymar Holligan stepped up and converted the penalty in the 19th minute to give Eden Stars an early lead. Although they were visibly discouraged by the early events, the Stars fought back admirably, cheered on by the small but faithful following of supporters and players, led in no small part by assistant coach Elector Pearson Sr (aka Coach Rev).
In the latter moments of the first half the Stars managed to get the ball in the nets, only to have another questionable decision deny them the equalizer. A scuffed shot from outside the box was controlled by centre-forward Zaquan Ishmael, who was clearly onside, and he swiveled and tucked the ball neatly into the corner but the referee deemed that Gregg Mandeville, who was in an offside position but had neither made a gesture towards the ball nor had it even crossed his path, was interfering with play.
Frustrated but on the front foot, the Stars came out in the second half with an even greater determination to turn the tables and they did just that. A tactical change by the coaching staff of Pearson, David Cave and player/coach Kent Hall saw centre-back Stuart Hall move to the right wing to replace Jabari Brandford, who was substituted for junior national defender Tim Maynard. The move paid off immediately as Stuart Hall, the older brother of player/coach Kent, made good penetrating runs down the flanks and linked up well with right back Elector Pearson Jr. to cause the Eden Stars defense all kinds of trouble throughout the second half.
Indeed, it was only a few minutes after the change that KickStart made the breakthrough, when three of the club’s new signings, all of whom came from Paradise FC, combined for the goal. Younger brother Kent played a driven diagonal cross from deep on the left side, which was met at the far post by older brother Stuart, who headed it back across to the lurking Mandeville, who glanced his header into the corner of the opposition net, sparking vociferous celebrations and a period of dominance for the away team.
Rattled by the momentum shift, the home players and supporters struggled to come to grips with the waves of attacks they faced but somehow managed to not concede anything further. Ishmael weaved some magic in tight spaces on a couple occasions in the opponent’s box but couldn’t quite get the ball over the line, and Hall Sr. barely missed with another header, but it was Mandeville who, for a brief moment, made the KickStart faithful believe that they would be taking 3 points back to Wildey. Good combination play between left winger Rayn Phillips and left back Stefon Caesar-Cadogan culminated in a good cross which Mandeville took on his chest and, as it ballooned up into the air, with confidence oozing out of his every pore, he executed a spectacular overhead kick which narrowly passed over the crossbar.
In the dying minutes of the match, with legs getting weary and defensive shape starting to fail, coach Hall was replaced by Bryan Johnson, who joined up with fellow senior-level debutant Kwame White to maintain parity in the match and ensure that KickStart left with at least a share of the spoils.
After the match the coaching staff hailed the spirit of the players to overcome the difficult conditions, environment and situation, to come out with a positive result. Player/coach Hall had special praise for his younger players, several of whom are still only 17 years old and playing only their 1st or 2nd season of senior-level football, for their performances on the night and also for the leadership of the experienced members of the team. “A few of the guys were making their competitive debut tonight so you could tell that they were a bit nervous but they worked hard and you could see that they gradually settled in, particularly in the second half. It’s normal to feel a bit tense but it’s something they’ll learn to handle. It helps as well to have experienced players in the midst of them to help guide them. Being on the field myself, and having Gregg and Stuart with me, makes a huge difference in keeping them calm and keeping the communication constructive. Overall it was a good first performance and result. We can’t afford to drop many points, and we arguably dropped two tonight, but I feel confident that we will build on this and be better in the games to come. I also need to thank David and Coach Rev for their support; they’re making my job a whole lot easier. I honestly don’t think I could play and coach without their help. It was nice to see Ron and Christine coming out to support us as well; it’s good to know that the team is supported at the administrative level too.”
The next match for the KickStart Stars is the “derby” scheduled for Saturday 23th Jan 4:00pm at FCIB Sports Ground against neighbours and rivals Pro-Shottas. The Stars failed to win any of their three match ups last year and will be looking to put that right starting this weekend.
The Stars compete in the Lambert Thomas Zone of the BFA Division 2 league. For tables, results and fixtures go to: