Grenades returns to the pinnacle of top flight football

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By Neto Baptiste

Grenades FC returned to the top of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) Premier Division standings on Sunday with a 3-1 win over rivals Greenbay Hoppers when they met in the second match of a triple-header at the Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG).

The victory, their fifth in seven matches, moves them onto 16 points, three ahead of Hoppers who have also played seven, but have lost one more and won a game less than Grenades.

Ironically, Grenades’ first two goals were scored by opposing players with veteran George Dublin scoring into his own net in as early as the first minute while Jari Jackson followed suit in the second half when he also put the ball past his own goalkeeper on minute 70.

Jackson’s unwelcomed goal came some 20 minutes after Javorn Stevens had drawn Hoppers level in the 51st minute.

But it was too late for the Greenbay men as Akeem Williams sealed the three points for Grenades with an 81 minute conversion.

Coach of the Grenades outfit, Derrick Edwards, said going into the Christmas with a three-point lead is a plus for any team.

“Well any coach will be happy leading the competition by three points because at the end of the day, once you keep doing what you’re supposed to do and being consistent then that’s good and I think that the players are striving on their confidence right now,” he said.

Meanwhile in Sunday’s feature match-up, the Ottos Rangers FC played from behind to record a 2-1 victory over All Saints United.

Deandre Bishop and Junior Benjamin scored within four minutes of each other, netting in minutes 45 and 49 respectively to give Rangers their third win in seven matches. Their heroics came after Ajarni Thomas had given United a 25th minute lead.

Rangers are now fifth in the standings while United have slipped to sixth with eight points also from seven outings.

Assistant coach of the winning Ottos Rangers team, Renee Sellwood, said the victory hopefully signals the start of a more consistent run as the team struggles with a number of internal issues.

“We basically didn’t have a lot of continuity in terms of players because we had injuries and stuff like that, and of course, little personal issues with some players and that sort of really put a little spoke in our wheel, and it showed in the results for the past couple of weeks that we were stumbling a bit; but we are trying our best to get back on track. We did a lot of internal soul searching and a lot of different meetings and stuff like that, and try to get guys mindset back on track and so we were pleased with the performance yesterday [Sunday], so hopefully we are back on track where we want to be and we will be getting the results going forward,” he said.

In Sunday’s opening match, Luciano Cigno scored a 78th minute penalty to help Old Road salvage a point against Pigotts Bullets following a 1-1 draw.

Reiner Ceideira had given Bullets the lead in similar fashion when he too, scored form the penalty spot in the ninth minute. The draw means that Old Road moves to seventh with eight points from their seven showings while Bullets are third with 13 points from their seven encounters.

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