By Neto Baptiste
Former Premier Division champions, Empire FC, grabbed a crucial victory in the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s (ABFA) First Division on Thursday, edging promotion hopefuls Blue Jays 1-0 to take command of the division set to peak over the coming weeks.
The lone goal of the contest was scored from the penalty spot when Rakeem Joseph beat the Blue Jays custodian in the 25th minute to put Empire ahead at the Cedar Grove playing field. The win, their 12th in 17 showings, put Empire atop the standings with 39 points, two more than SAP who are second with 37 points from the same number of showings.
Blue Jays remain fifth in the standings with 30 points after 17 showings.
Meanwhile, FC Aston Villa dominated play against Potters Tigers to win 7-0, also on Thursday. National player Ronaldo Flowers and Cuban import Rivero Torres Yasnay each scored twice in the massive victory. Flowers scored in minutes five and nine, while Yasnay hit the back of the net in minutes 20 and 34.
Omega Jeffrey (minute seven), Kwame Ture Kirby (minute 55) and Tikwan Matthew (minute 87) all had single strikes as Villa moved to 33 points and third in the standings on goal difference. They boast a positive 22 goal difference while fourth placed Tryum boast a positive 20 goal difference.
Potters remain second from bottom in the 12-team standings with just five points from their 16 showings.
There was victory as well for Bolans who beat bottom of the table Westham, 2-1. Shaquille Watkins and Les Peters each scored once for the victors as they move 20 points in the ninth position on the table. Westham remain on two points after 17 matches.
In Zone B of the Second Division, Green City picked up a crucial 2-1 win over Blackburn Palace to move into the third position with 36 points after 16 matches.
Travis Barrett in minute 33 and Sylvester Fenton in minute 71 were on target for City, while Mel Edwards scored the lone goal for Palace. They remain 10th in the standings with 16 points. Meanwhile, in the lone women’s match contested Thursday, Cutting Edge defeated Grenades 2-1. Donesha Samuel and Alexis Garcia scored in minutes 30 and 54, respectively, for the victors, while Keavoncia James was on target for Grenades.