By Neto Baptiste
Greenbay Hoppers opened their 2022 Premier Division campaign with an exciting 3-2 victory over neighbours and rivals Empire when they met in the feature match of a triple-header at the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s (ABFA) technical centre on Sunday.
The Greenbay men seized the early advantage via a ninth minute conversion by Javon Stevens before Empire’s Jayvaughn Joseph levelled the score with the first of two goals in the 26th minute.
Midfielder Eugene Kirwan restored Hoppers’ advantage with a 32nd minute goal to take his team into the interval as 2-1 leaders. Rodney Lawrence stretched Hoppers’ lead to 3-1 when he intercepted a poor Empire pass just outside the penalty area, rounded one defender and slammed a left-footed effort into the roof of the net in the 67th minute.
Joseph scored the second of his two conversions in stoppage time to move Empire within one but their efforts to salvage a draw proved futile.
There was victory as well for Old Road who easily beat Ottos Rangers 4-1 in Sunday’s opening fixture. Raheem Deterville led the charge with the tournament’s first hattrick, scoring in minutes four, 32 and 61. Veteran Tash Harris scored the other goal in the 24th minute. Lloyd Jeremy scored the lone goal for Potters in the 52nd minute.
In Sunday’s other contest, Parham and Five Islands played to a scoreless draw.