All-Stars fightback falls short
Premier Division All-Star Select 1 Oakville Blue Devils 2
The Oakville Blue Devils finished their two-match trip of the island on a winning note after beating Premier Division All-Star Select in the Bermuda Triangle Cup at Goose Gosling Field yesterday.
Filipe Vilela put the Ontario league champions ahead from the penalty spot after team-mate Anthony Novak was bundled over.
Braden Culver then chipped in his own rebound to double their advantage.
Bermuda pulled one back through Antwan Russell’s brilliantly taken header from a set piece.
Both teams had a player sent off during late on with Blue Devils goalscorer Vilela and Bermuda’s Jalun Hassell receiving straight red cards within two minutes of each other.
“Obviously I’m going to say we shouldn’t have had our guy sent off,” Duncan Wilde, the Blue Devils head coach, said. “I thought he had been taking some punishment and he reacted and you can’t do that. Then your boy gets sent off near the end the game.
“It’s an exhibition game so I would have kept 11 people on the field myself, but it is what it is. It’s football and you have to deal with it, so not a problem for me.
“When you put a trophy on the line that tends to happen. You get an exciting game; a penalty shot, two red cards, couple of excellent goals, a really fast game and both teams really wanting to win it at the end.
“I think we saw at the end how respectful it was between both teams. It’s a game and once the whistle goes you get on with it.”
Scott Morton, the All-Star Select coach, thought his players produced an encouraging showing against their well-organised opponents.
“I thought the guys did themselves proud with the adjustments they had to make within the game,” Morton said.
As for Hassell’s sending off, Morton said: “It was either way but I don’t concern myself with the referee’s calls.
“I just focus on my team because when have you seen a team protest and the referee changes their mind? You just get on with it.”
The Blue Devils, who lost 3-1 against a Bermuda National Select in their opening match at the National Stadium on Friday, showed their intentions from the outset with goalkeeper Shaquille Trott forced to make two early saves before Vilela made the breakthrough.
The referee pointed to the spot after striker Novak was fouled by Kadeem Abraham and Vilela did the rest.
By now the Blue Devils were running rampant and pulled away through Culver’s strike just before the half.
Marco Gennaccaro’s long diagonal ball caught left back Shakir Smith out of position and Culver took advantage after Trott saved his initial shot.
Taylor McNamara then blew a glorious opportunity for the visiting side when he scooped Brandon Duarte’s cross over the bar.
The home side eventually settled down after making tactical changes and hauled themselves back in the match through Russell’s neat finish.
The experienced striker used his physical strength to hold off his marker and nod in Damon Ming’s cross. The home side pressed for an equaliser but were fortunate not to concede at the other end as Duarte and Vilela both rattled Trott’s crossbar and Eusebio Blankendal cleared Vilela’s shot off the line.
The Blue Devils’s momentum was disrupted when Vilela was sent off for a harsh tackle on Damian Simmons.
But the home side’s numerical advantage was short-lived as Hassell was also sent immediately packing for denying Duarte an scoring opportunity.
There was enough time left for the Blue Devils to create another opportunity but Kwonde Lathan timed his tackle on Novak.
“Everyone here in Bermuda has been fantastic the way they have looked after us these few days,” Wilde added.
“It’s been a credit to everybody involved and to finish up with a competitive game like that is just the way it should be.”
Premier Division All-Star Select
Oakville Blue Devils
Vilela 23 (pen)
Premier Division All-Star Select (4-5-1): S Trott - S Smith, M Waldron, I Simmons, K Abraham - I Sharieff, J Iris, D Ming, K Bean, A Simmons - A Russell. Substitutes: C Caisey, D Daniels, J Carpenter, D Simmons, K Lathan, E Blankendal, J Hassell, Y Williams. Sent off: Hassell.
Oakville Blue Devils (4-5-1): K Saini - H Joshi, K McNamara, S Lovell, V Gallo - M Gennaccaro, T McNamara, B Culver, A Doran, F Vilela - A Novak. Substitutes: M George, B Duarte, C Younge, S Hirano, L Poderbarec. Booked: Hirano. Sent off: Vilela.
Referee: A Francis
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