Hoppers remain in tow as Grenades and Old Road lurks

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Defending champions, Greenbay Hoppers, remained within striking distance of leaders Parham FC in the Football Association Premier Division on Sunday after coming away with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over relegation threatened Liberta Blackhawks.
In the feature contest of a triple-header at the Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG), Hoppers, gifted by an own-goal by Lennox Julian, went ahead in minute 45.
Blackhawks should have levelled the score just seconds later when striker Akeem Weekes was set free of the Hoppers defense via a lovely through-ball. Excellent and precise goalkeeping by national custodian, Brentton Muhammad, however, robbed the striker of what should have been Blackhawks’ first goal.
Hoppers moved further away in minute 57 when midfielder Jari Jackson netted from close-range in minute 57 from the penalty spot.
Blackhawks were given hope in minute 70 when Jahred Williams reduced the deficit from the penalty spot but the Premier Division newcomers could not find the equalizer before the end of the contest.
Hoppers moves to 30 points, four points off leaders Parham and three points clear of Grenades in the number three slot. Blackhawks remain on nine points and second from bottom in the 10 team standings.
General Secretary of the Hoppers FC, Troy Gibson, said teams are making it their business to foil their attempts of becoming back to back champions.
“Defending a championship is much harder than winning a championship and now we are actually seeing that reality because everyone is coming for us every week. They are coming organised, they are coming hard so we have to really adjust ourselves. I think we dropped some points in the first round and now it is just up to us to be consistent down the line and see what happens for us,” he said.
Also on Sunday, Old Road defeated SAP 3-2 to move into fourth in the standings with 24 points.
Striker Stefan Smith recorded a double, netting in minutes 12 and 29 while Raheem Deterville scored in minutes 23.
Kemar Headley and Peter Byers were on target for SAP as they remain on 14 points and sixth in the standings.
Coach of the Old Road team, Vincent Samuel, said his players were determined to come out on top in the round-south derby.
“There are certain teams that don’t beat me at all and SAP is one of them. We always get ourselves geared up for that game and we know SAP is a team that has a never say die attitude and that’s reflective of what happened yesterday [Sunday]. We were 3-0 up and we ended up [winning] the game 3-2 by giving away two penalties,” he said.
In the other match played on Sunday, Grenades were 2-1 winners over Tryum FC as they move 27 points and third in the standings.
Lamar Hodges and Steven Roberts were on target for the winners while Kevin Samuel netted for Tryum who are third from bottom with 11 points.

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