By Neto Baptiste
All Saints United open their 2023/24 Premier Division campaign with a dominant 8-1 trouncing of former 13 times champions Empire FC when they clashed in the feature match of a triple-header played at the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s (ABFA) technical center on Sunday.
In what was the largest margin of victory over the weekend, the first of the 2023/24 domestic season, United dominated from start to finish with St Vincent and the Grenadines midfielder, Nazir McBurnette, leading the charge with a double.
With his team already three-nil up, McBurnette made it 4-0 from the penalty spot in the 41st minute before finding a brace in the 73rd minute to make it 7-0.
The onslaught however started in as early as the sixth minute through the efforts of Tiquan Isaac. Malcolm Stewart made it 2-0 just 28 minutes later when he struck from close range in the 34th before D’Andre Bishop pushed the score to three-nil in the 39th minute.
Leroy Graham closed out his team’s scoring in the first half when he struck in added time to send United into the dressing room as five-nil leaders.
The All Saints men continued to dominate the contest after the interval with Zafique Drew hitting the back of the net in minute 61, while Shafeez Joseph rounded off the scoring in minute 75. Joseph then failed to convert from the penalty spot just five minutes later.
Shemar Scott scored the lone goal for Empire when in struck in the 45th minute.
Also on Sunday, former national striker Peter Byers struck once as former back to back champions Sap FC got their campaign off to a winning start, claiming a 2-1 victory over newcomers, Green City.
Byers struck in the 41st minute to put his team two-nil up after Emerson Henry had given the Bolans men a one-nil advantage in minute 35. Gary Barnes scored the lone goal for City in added time.
Meanwhile, in the day’s opening clash, newcomers John Hughes got off to a flying start, beating Swetes FC 4-1.
Deno Bryan scored all four goals for the victors, netting in minutes 14 (penalty), 20, 32 (penalty) and 40. Shackwon Simon scored for Swetes, netting in the 89th minute. Hanel Burrell of John Hughes was red-carded in added time for violent conduct.