Hoppers survive another week as Parham rebounds

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Greenbay Hoppers FC managed to stay atop the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s (ABFA) Premier Division standings following the 15th round of matches on Sunday, racking up their ninth victory of the competition with a 1-0 triumph over the struggling Old Road FC on Sunday at the ARG. 
National midfielder Tomarley “Ziggy” Thomas scored the lone goal of the
5 p.m. contest when he slotted home from close range in minute 35 to push Hoppers onto 31 points, three points ahead of both Five Islands and defending champions Parham FC.
Coach and former national player, Rolston “Lexy” Phoenix said his hardest job is keeping the players focused on the task at hand.
“I have already sat and spoken to the players and I’ve said before that I have to keep them focused and I still have to keep myself focused  and we will be taking one game at a time,” he said. 
The loss was Old Road’s eighth of the competition as they slip into the lone playoff spot with 13 points, levelled with Pigotts Bullets also on 13 points. Bullets are however, in the two-team relegation zone owing to an inferior goal difference.
Meanwhile, Parham kept their hopes of repeating as champions alive when they crushed the hopes of Grenades, beating the Jennings men 2-0 in the day’s feature contest.
Parham put the Grenades team away quite early with goals from Denny Henry in minute 38 and Trevaughn Harriette in minute 40.
Henry netted when he pounced onto a loose ball to slot home from deep inside the area before Harriette headed home from just outside the six yards box two minutes later.
Head coach Rowan Isaac said the victory signals his team’s intent heading into the competition’s climax.
“I wasn’t feeling any pressure. It was just a situation where we just hit a bad patch and the guys rallied around each other and bounced back. We had a game-plan and I must congratulate the guys because they stuck to the game-plan and we were able to be successful by doing so,” the coach said.
Grenades, who had coach and former national striker Derrick Edward driven off the bench in the first half, is relegated to the number four position in the standings with 26 points following their third loss of the competition.
Meanwhile, in Sunday’s opening contest, Five Islands also remained in the hunt as they added to the woes of Empire FC, beating the former champions 3-1.
Following a scoreless first half, Five Islands went ahead in minute 74 through a Cervantes Sander strike but Empire’s Eugene
Kirwan brought the struggling Grays Farm team back on levelled terms on minute 81.
Five Islands had their final two strikes in the dying stages of the contest, with Jomo Andrew netting in minute 89 and Yoandir Puga putting the icing on the cake in added time.
Five Islands move to 28 points and into the number two slot in the standings, while Empire remain rooted at the bottom of the table with just eight points.

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