2019 Sapholda Hockey League: Exchequers maintain grip at top spot

Author: George Ernest Asare
Ernest Opoku of Royal Men (left) controls the ball as his marker surges forward to tackle

Exchequers maintained their perfect ran in the Sapholda Hockey League as they fought off a strong challenge from Reformers Men to win 4-2 at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra on Saturday June 8

It was a top fixture which attracted a sizeable crowd to the stadium, and the fans were given their money’s worth as Reformers took the game to the league leaders but twice had to fight back to cancel the lead by Exchequers but could not match up with the quality by the defending men’s champions who ran away winners.

The Bank of Ghana side opened the scoring in the third minute of the first  quarter through forward Jonny Botsio but Reformers responded quickly and came close to scoring on two occasions. In the eighth minute of the first quarter, Reformers cancelled the lead through a goal by Gabriel Tettey who outwitted his markers to score.

The two sides played an attacking game and three minutes into the second quarter, goal poacher Elikem Akaba added his name to the score sheet to restore the lead for Exchequers.

Reformers fought back again in the 26th minute of the second quarter as Leslie Barnor scored to make it 2-2 and set the tone for a fierce challenge in the third and fourth quarters.

Determined to maintain their unbeaten record in the league, Exchequers started the third quarter attacking from all angles, and forcing Reformers to chase their shadows .

In the 10th minute of the third quarter, Maxwell Osei re-established the lead for Exchequers who went up 3-2 before Samuel Afari scored in the 11th minute of the fourth quarter to give his side a healthy 4-2 lead to put the tie beyond recovery for Reformers.

The encounter between Police Men and Royal Men of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) also lived up to its bill, as both sides fought as if their survival in the league solely depended on that match but in the end they shared the points with a 1-1 draw.

Police Men stunned their opponents in the 10th minute of the last quarter when Alfred Ntiamoah sneaked through the defenders of Royal Men and opened the scoring but the lead lasted just eight minutes as Royal Men restored parity through Nick Hanson.

In the female division, Royal Ladies of GRA showed class  with a 3-1 victory against Extinguishers through a brace by Mavis Berko in the fourth and ninth minutes of the first quarter to give her side a 2-0 lead.

In the seventh minute of the second quarter, Emelia Aggrey scored to reduce the tally for Extinguishers Ladies and give them a chance of recovery, but their hopes were dashed in the fourth minute of the fourth quarter as Elisabeth Opoku scored Royal Ladies’ third goal to put the game beyond recovery and maintain the unbeaten record of the defending champions.

In the other ladies division matches, Nafisatu Umaru returned from her short stint in Italy to inspire Police Ladies to a 3-0 win against Reformers Ladies of the Prisons Service.

Serwaa Boakye started the goal haul in the 11th minutes before Nafisatu increased the tally two minutes into the second quarter. Jennifer Konadu completed the rout for Police Ladies in the ninth minutes of the third quarter.

In the Masters game, Sapholda defeated Multistix 2-1 with goals from Emmanuel Oblitey and James Mason, while Joseph Blankson scored for Multistix.

Golden Sticks and Citizens settled for a 1-1 draw, with Kingsley Mensah breaking the deadlock for Golden Sticks early in the game but Ebo Arthur ensured that Citizens earned a point from the game with the equalising goal six minutes to the end.

The Youth division saw Kasoa Heroes beating Accra Academy 2-1, Ark Boys losing 1-3 to Real Ambassadors, and Tema Manhean humbling Young Financiers 2-0 victory