Hard Knocks FC needed a second half double from Donavon Derrick to secure a hard-fought 2-0 victory over a spirited Barb Wire United in their Lendore Village Football League contest at the Chrissie Terrace Recreation Ground in Enterprise on Saturday.
After posting 3-1 and 13-0 wins in their first two fixtures against Jordan Trace and Young Money, respectively, Hard Knocks was probably expecting another facile triumph but instead, were made to work hard for it.
Having seen two early chances gone a-begging, United’s Michael Edward came close to opening the scoring with a fierce drive from long range in the 32nd minute that seemed to have goal written all over. He was, however, denied by the crossbar with goalkeeper Andre Marchan beaten.
United continued to dominate play and possession as Hard Knocks, missing the presence of Hector Sam and Stern John, and with prolific striker Kerron Smith visible showing the effects of a stiff challenge, lacked penetration in front of goal.
But Derrick would break the deadlock in the 42nd minute when his shot on goal evaded the attention of goalkeeper Jymaul Mitchell to nestle at the back of the net.
Eight minutes later (50th), Derrick notched a brace by beating Mitchell with a clinical right-footed finish from close range.
Marchan would then be called into action on several occasions to preserve Hard Knocks’ lead.
In the 60th minute he pulled off a brilliant one-handed save when he flung himself full stretch to his left and just managed to get his fingertips to a Neon O’Garro’s shot, deflecting it over the crossbar.
In the 76th, he turned another attempt on goal behind for a corner, this time from Dario Brown and two minutes later, he denied O’Garro for a second time by plucking his goal-bound effort out of the air.
Bhagaloo Strikers did not have as tough a time as Hard Knocks in securing a 3-1 victory over Edinburgh 500.
They took the lead when Shaton Oliver curled a 23rd minute free-kick around the defensive wall and beyond the despairing dive of custodian Brent Alexander.
Keion Benito doubled the advantage in the 36th minute with a powerful shot from 20 metres out that beat Alexander to his right before Oliver wrapped up the scoring with a well-taken item four minutes later.
He collected a pass from midfield in front of goal and sent his marker the wrong way by dropping his shoulders and switching the ball to his right foot. Having the space he needed, he quickly switched back to his left foot to hit a rasping shot deep into the left corner of the goal, giving Alexander no chance whatsoever.
Amalias James got a consolation item for Edinburgh in the 54th minute with a curling effort from 25 metres out that beat Jesse James to his right.
Cool It FC 3 (M Rivers – 6th, J Hoyte – 11th, B Figuera – 47th) vs Innocent Fun 1 (N Daniel – 44th); Bhagaloo Strikers 3 (S Oliver – 23rd & 40th, K Benito – 36th) vs Edinbrugh 500 1 (A James – 54th); Bard Wire City 2 (M Wright – 63rd & 65th) vs JOGA Boyz 1 (T Alverez – 72nd); Hard Knocks FC 2 (D Derrick – 42nd & 50th) vs Barb Wire United 0.