Adrian Frater, News Editor
Meadhaven's Dwayne Williams (right) gets by Wadadah's Omar Murray during yesterday's NPL elimination game at the UDC playing field in Montego Bay. Meadhaven won 4-1.
- photo by Adrian Frater
MEADHAVEN UNITED captured the first of the two qualifying places for the 2008-09 National Premier League (NPL) football com-petition yesterday when they clobbered out-of-contention Wadadah 4-1 at the UDC playing field in Montego Bay.
The Alrick Clarke-coached Meadhaven team, which got its goals through Leighton Neita (two), Keniel Hyde and Dwayne Williams, moved up to an unassailable 13 points in the four-team tournament played between the nation's four Jamaica Football Federation confederations.
"This is mission accomplished for us," said an elated Clarke. "We did not play as well as we could in the first half but once we got settled in the second half, we basically did what we had to do to ensure that our final game against York will be only to complete the fixture."
From the start, Meadhaven had things in their favour as Wadadah turned up for the game with only 10 players. However, despite dominating the action, the KSAFA outfit squandered numerous early chances and looked set to struggle on the rain-drenched surface.
However, with the momentum in their favour and Wadadah looking rather tame, Meadhaven took the lead in the 35th minute. Neita won possession in a goalmouth melee and, with Wadadah defence in disarray, fired in to make the score 1-0. With time running out in the half, Wadadah managed to draw level when Jeremy Bucknor broke free on the left flank and, with the goalkeeper advancing, looped the ball into the roof of the net, making the half-time score a surprising 1-1.
In the second half, Meadhaven continued to look the better team and their dominance was further rewarded in the 55th minute when Neita caught the defence napping with a neat dribble and calmly booted past the goalkeeper to make the score 2-1.
As Wadadah were looking like making a comeback, Meadhaven went further ahead in the 67th minute when the skilful Hyde waltzed his way through a number of hapless defenders and slotted the ball out of the reach of the goalkeeper, giving his team a comfortable 3-1 advantage.
Wadadah's woes deepened in the 70th minute when Ryan Botha was red-carded for a rash tackle on Norman Bailey, and they got worse 10 minutes later when they missed from the penalty spot through Bucknor.
Meadhaven put an end to Wadadah's misery in the 88th minute when Dwayne Williams found himself with an empty goal before him and fired in, making the final score 4-1.