An unbeaten run, sweet revenge, total dominance – SHL round two begins
The Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium came back to life after weeks of dormancy as round two of the Sapholda Hockey League commenced.
GRA men fought hard to earn a point in their game against Exchequers. The match was keenly contested with both teams eager to earn a spot to represent Ghana in Africa later this year.
Exchequers with their usual swift-switching play gave the defence of GRA sort of problems in the opening minutes but goalkeeper Acheampong Eugene stood tall to make two timely saves within a space of two minutes.
The pressure from the ferocious Exchequers attack made Acheampong adopt delay tactics in order to calm tension for his side. However, this did not stop the bankers from taking the lead. A swift restart from the back found Nyarko Nicholas inside the area of GRA. The lanky midfielder unselfishly laid a pass into the path of Elikem Akaba who managed to beat three defenders who had confronted him. With his stick aimed in an angle for a tomahawk which was undoubtedly heading straight into the goal post, the sensible Akaba was impeded and the umpire pointed to the spot for a penalty stroke. The GRA players barely protested and Akaba stepped up to slot the ball home for the opener.
Thirty-four minutes and Exchequers were in-front. GRA aware of the outcome of this scoreline on the league log and their quest to defend the trophy and make a second successive appearance in Africa, regrouped and turned the tables.
Six penalty corners were won and unusual of them, GRA failed to convert any with the closest hitting the goalpost after eluding everyone. The equalizer finally came and it was Aikins Anthony who deflected a slap hit from Damalie Luke. Exchequers protested but the goal stood and the scoreline changed; Exchequers 1-1 GRA.
The final whistle went and both teams earned a point.
God made a way as Godsway Addae inspired Ark Men to hand Legon Knights their fourth defeat of the season. The knights who were enjoying a two-game unbeaten run headed into the game to do the double over their opponents after beating them 2-0 in the first round.
Alex Tuffour’s absence in defence turned out to be a stint of relief for Ark Men who controlled the game right from the start. A goalless first 45 minutes ensured the game had to be decided in the final quarter. Godsway Addae opened his goalscoring account with a well-converted penalty corner. Ark Men got the lead they wanted and had their revenge mission on course.
Running substitutions- not working, tactics- not well understood, team spirit- very down and the Knights were headed for a battle loss. Godsway almost got his second from another penalty corner but his effort was saved by goalkeeper Joseph Yeboah who unfortunately parried the ball into the path of Michael Nelson, who made no mistake getting the second goal. The game ended and Ark Men won 2-0.
In the ladies category, GRA ladies strengthened their lead at the top with 6 points clear Police ladies and another firm grip on the trophy.
Goalkeeper Abigail Boye in post for Police ladies had to move off the pitch after she injured her knee trying to save a Vivian Narkuoh reverse strike. The case was worsened when Mavis Berko grabbed the opener for GRA from a penalty corner. Police ladies who have been so dependent on penalty corners and the prowess of Nafisatu Umaru all season failed to make any of the penalty corners awarded to them count.
Ernestina Coffie had the best chance of the game after Evelyn Fiador gifted her an opportunity from her misplaced pass. Police’s pacy defender, Acquah Juwaila managed to track Coffie but failed to win the tackle and rather committing a foul resulting in a penalty stroke.
Elizabeth Opoku scored with ease to give GRA a 2-0 lead heading into the break.
The league leaders were 3 goals up moments into the second half courtesy Vivian Narkuoh whose deflection gulled goalkeeper Kandoh Linda, allowing the ball roll into her goal post without making any effort.
Sarfoa Martha pulled one back for Police in the 42nd minute but that was inadequate as GRA won 3-1.
Barbara Brown got the only goal of the game as Real Ambassadors emerged victorious in their game against Ark Ladies. Real Ambassadors were awarded a penalty corner in the 34th minute and Brown converted to get the opener and only goal of the game.
In the youth category, Real Ambassadors stretched their lead at the top with a 4-0 win over Young Financiers. Annan Emmanuel and Ayivor Emmanuel scored two goals each to give Ambassadors their 5th win of the season.
Kasoa Heroes and Tema Manhean played a 1-1 drawn game.
Sapholda came from a goal down to beat Multistix 4-1 in the master’s category.
Tetteh Ishmael scored four goals as Golden Sticks beat NDK Financiers 5-1.
Saturday 21st July, 2018.
- Ark Men 2-0 Legon Knights
- Sapholda 4-1 Multistix
- NDK Financiers 1-5 Golden Sticks
- Ark Ladies 0-1 Real Ambassadors ladies
- Tema Manhean 1-1 Kasoa Heroes
- Real Amb. Boys 4-0 Young Financiers
- Police ladies 1-3 GRA ladies
- Exchequers 1-1 GRA Men