Football

Published on March 6th, 2015 | by kickstartfc

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A Glimmer and a Light

After a slow start to their Division 2 campaign, the KickStart Stars are making a rise up the table. A 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon against neighbours, Pro Shottas, and a 2-1 victory at Deacons has seen the Stars quickly elevate themselves from the foot of the table to a rest in a more comfortable mid-table position.

The arrival of some heavy showers just before kickoff on Saturday made it difficult for either team to ‘find their feet’ but it was the Stars who settled first on their home pitch, with Barbados Under-17 midfielder, Elijah Downey, showing good skill and composure before sliding a pass through the Pro Shottas defense to pick out fellow B’dos U-17 teammate, Sekani Mayers, who tucked the ball past another junior national, Sean Field, in the 10th minute.

Buoyed by the early breakthrough, the Stars played with confidence in possession, and looked likely to outclass their long-time rivals from the other side of the wall. Brendan Sidaway, the 3rd of KickStart’s U-17 National contingent, put in another outstanding performance in the midfield and was easily the best player on the pitch over the 90 mins.

Pro Shottas was unfazed by the home team’s early dominance though and out-hustled their opponents to flip the script and take a 2-1 lead, after young Stars goalkeeper, Carlton Wilson, was beaten by long distance efforts from Liam Fields (24′) and Joshua Bynoe (32′). Shell shocked by the turn of events, the Stars lost control of the game and looked destined for yet another defeat; Downey pulled a muscle while shooting and had to be withdrawn, adding injury to insult.

Stars skipper Naphtali Cave, showing true captain’s spirit, would not settle for a loss this time though, prodding home the equalizer from close range after Jabari Brandford had flicked on Elector Pearson’s long free kick, just before half time.

The second half offered very little in the way of opportunities for either team, though the visitors definitely had the better of the game. Cave firmly struck a volley from the inside of the box following a corner but it was blocked before it could reach Field’s gloves and Pro Shottas had their penalty claim for a high boot denied by the referee. In the end, a draw was probably a fair result given the performances but the Stars may view this as two points dropped when they look back at the end of the season.

 

Tuesday night’s match started very similarly to Saturday’s – with rainfall and the Stars on the front foot from early. Despite several changes to the squad due to injuries and unavailability of players, the Stars entered “The Cage” with greater purpose than in previous matches and it didn’t take long for them to get on the scoreboard; Peter Walton heading home at the far post from a Jabari Brandford cross.

With thick layers of mud caked to the bottoms of their boots, the central midfield duo of Morgan Robinson and Jerad Skinner bossed the game with confidence, picking out passes in all directions. Walton and Brandford made good use of the width of the small pitch, the front pairing of Stefan Lewis and Zaquan Ishmael were able to see plenty of the ball as well and the Stars looked dangerous every time they mounted an attack. It was no surprise then when they doubled the lead; Brandford delivering another beauty of a cross and Ishmael’s endeavour forcing the Deacons keeper to parry the ball back onto him, which rebounded back into the net.

Showing a real killer instinct, the Stars kept pushing and were unjustly denied a 3rd goal when Ishmael rounded the keeper, who brought him down in the box, and Lewis slotted home the loose ball; the referee somehow concluded that Ishmael had fouled the keeper and issued him a yellow card, much to his bewilderment.

The home team began the second half with greater purpose and pushed back the Stars into their own half. As fatigue grew, they found it more and more difficult to reverse the pressure and the breakthrough for Deacons was inevitable. Unable to get the ball clear and not quick enough to apply pressure, Deacons scored an exquisite volley from the corner of the box that sailed over Stars keeper Zico Callendar into the top corner. Under growing pressure from the home fans who encroached onto the pitch in support of the then second-placed Deacons, the Stars refused to crumble and showed great resolve to steady the ship and keep their opponents at bay. Working their way back into match, the Stars had quite a few chances to put it to bed, with Brandford continuing to supply perfect crosses and Ishmael weaving his way through the Deacons backline, but failed to convert any of them.

Much to the disappointment of “The Farm”, the final whistle brought KickStart celebrations as they earned their first 3 points of the season.

KickStart head coach, Kent Hall, praised his players for the performance on the night and credited the result to a change in attitude. “The guys really deserved the victory. The effort levels and focus were much better and we actually did more of the right things. We got more crosses in, in this one game, than we have all season.” “We’ve got Elector Pearson on board as our motivational coach/team psychologist, and he’s already starting to make an impact. We’re very lucky to have him. I think this was a turning point for us.”

Next up for the Stars is a Champions Cup first round match vs Maxwell on Tuesday at 6:30pm at Briar Hall.




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