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Vasco continue resurgence

Vasco captain Ricardo Ponte

Vasco da Gama continued their late-season surge after a first half filled with failed hopes, their determination to finish strong on exhibit as they dispatched of a rapidly fading Hamilton Parish outfit 3-2 at Wellington Oval yesterday.

Two quick goals in the first half, including a second-minute opener from the boot of Ryan Parris and another on the half-hour mark from Fabio Barbosa placed Parish on the back foot and they never fully recovered, with the final score flattering the home side.

A missed retaken penalty by captain Ricardo Ponte, after his initial attempt had left goalkeeper Reid Trott well beaten, prevented Parish from being completely blown away before half-time but such was a mere delay of the inevitable.

Jeremiah Steede took advantage of the penalty escape as well as a goalkeeping blunder by Raymond Sousa in the 39th minute, who advanced to a seemingly harmless loose ball but whiffed on his attempt to clear, allowing Steede to nip in and place into an empty net.

The match should have been levelled in the 44th minute when defender Carlos Correira was called for a foul on Chris Caisey in the area and referee Tracy Adams pointed to the spot. Caisey rose from a heap to take the kick, but Sousa did well diving to his right to push away the effort and avert danger prior to the break.

Parish returned with added zip to their game after the interval, yet found themselves further behind when caught lacking in defence on a quick counter move by Vasco. Barbosa again provided the telling ball from the left side, his cross finding a lurking Ryan Lopes at the rear post and his header thundered beyond the flailing parts of goalkeeper Trott.

Parish did manage a bit of late pressure resulting in them pulling back a late score through Pedro Madeiros.

“Parish came with much energy in the last 20 minutes of the game; they were not going to give it to us and we really had to fight for it defensively,” Brian Dickinson, the Vasco coach, said.

“I feel that the team that fought hardest and longest got the edge and fortunately that was us today.”

Vasco managed to hold onto tenth place ahead of Ireland Rangers.

“One thing about our team is that we never give up, we always believe in ourselves and belief we can do something great in football in Bermuda,” Ponte, the Vasco captain, said.

“We believe in what our coach has been telling us all season, that we have to believe, we have good players and we just need to put it all together and that’s what has happened in the last few games.”

Those last few matches have included victories over then unbeaten league leaders Southampton Rangers, Social Club and now Parish, with a minor blemish against Somerset Eagles sandwiched between. Vasco’s final affair will involve another trip to the East End to face St George’s with both teams playing for pride and position.