Police United suffers first defeat. Who dunnit? – “FC Belize, Oh yes! Oh yes!!”
FC Belize 1:0 Police United at MCC
It was do-or-die for FC Belize, whose fading playoff hopes hinged on a victory yesterday against previously undefeated Police in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Belikin Cup Closing Season 2013-2014. League leading Police came into the MCC riding high with confidence, having drawn once and winning 5 of their 6 previous outings. But on this Sunday they would be without their regular sweeper, Kishane “Grill” Pech, who was suffering from a toe injury; and FC Belize were featuring their new young striker from Orange Walk, Michael Whittaker, on whom their hopes were raised for a turnaround in fortunes, as he would combine with league leading scorer Jarret Davis to make the FC Belize attack one of the most formidable in the Premier League.
Well, the hype was not all hot air, as the young man from the north delivered in impressive fashion to give FC Belize the goal they would defend all the way to gain a desperately needed 1-nil victory against Police United yesterday at the MCC.
It was an exciting an evenly matched contest all the way, with a number of close calls on both sides, with both goal posts shaking and goalkeepers diving, Elroy “Zabble” Rowley for FC Belize and Keith Allen for Police having to make some spectacular saves from rockets shot by Police and FC Belize strikers. But the one that would count happened from amidst a melee in front of Police’s goal following a high center from the left side, and the alert Whittaker pounced on the bouncing ball about 10 yards out and sent a low bullet just inside the left goalpost that gave Allen no chance; 1-nil, FC Belize, at the 37th minute of first half.
In gaining the much needed victory, however, FC Belize also had a major loss, as leading goal scorer and all around star, Jarret Davis, who dropped back to play midfield yesterday, was red-carded after receiving a second yellow card about 10 minutes before the end. Some players need to be pumped up for big games, and some need to be toned down. Jarret is one of the latter, and the danger looked imminent after he had been served his first yellow.
At the time of Jarret’s ejection, FC Belize had been enjoying a one man advantage, as Police right defender Glen “Tipu” Martinez had received an instant red card 22 minutes earlier from referee Ephraim Guy, following a dangerous pegs-up block of FC Belize’s Leon “Lem” Jones’ attempted shot.
The difference in the ball game was the perfect execution by striker Michael Whittaker, fulfilling all the previous hype from FC Belize inside sources. But, aside from Whittaker, our players of the game had to be FC Belize’s two flank defenders, Leon “Lem” Jones and Ryan Gill, who both played a whale of a game. Lem was most outstanding, as, a converted striker with power and speed, he has developed into a major force on defence; and Ryan, for all his flimsy looking torso, is like “sticking plaster” on much bigger and faster forwards, none of whom has been able to have their way around him.
The Belize City fans enjoyed a real treat yesterday, half-time show and all with Heights of Vibes in attendance, as it was the first home win this season for FC Belize, who now appear poised to make a serious run for the playoffs, and even the championship.
And Police? There is no cause for any heads to be bowed, as, even when a man down, the relentless Police United attack remained a serious threat to the FC Belize defence.
FC Belize – goalkeeper, #01 Elroy Rowley; #12 Leon Cadle; #2 Andrew Allen; #6 Ryan Gill; #15 Leon “Lem” Jones; #25 Steven Baizer; #8 Kristan Perez; #3 Ryan Simpson (#14 Jorge Aleman at 88’); #10 Jarret Davis (red card at 83’); #39 Devaun “Beckham” Zuniga (#17 Marlon Gutierrez at 68’); #24 Michael Whittaker (#27 Francisco Briceno at 56’).
Police United FC – goalkeeper, #00 Keith Allen; #21 Cristobal Gilharry; #22 Trevor “Burger” Lennan; #19 Byron “Barrow” Usher; #4 Glen “Tipu” Martinez (red card at 61’); #12 Devon Makin; #10 Harrison “Cafu” Roches (#9 Lennox “Criminal” Castillo at 73’); #13 Amin “Tacos” August, Jr. (#23 Jermaine Jones at 88’); #5 Andres Makin, Jr.; #14 Daniel “Danny” Jimenez (#11 Jeremy Bermudez at 64’); #16 Clifton West.
Referee was Ephrain Guy, and his assistants on the field were Daniel Uh and Ricardo Ake.
There will be no PLB Belikin Cup tournament break for the Easter. In fact, it gets rougher, with mid-week games scheduled for every Wednesday until the end of regular season.