Although there is still over a month of football left in the season, the Islanders went a long way to sealing the Premiership title with an emphatic 4-1 victory over the Sugar Boyz on Wednesday night on the A.O. Shirley Ground.
The win, which knocked the Sugar Boyz out of the Championship contention, means that whatever the result in the Islanders game on Sunday June 15th against the Wolues, a win against One Love next Wednesday, June 18th, will secure the first ever Premiership Trophy.
A win for One Love in that crunch game would then mean that they could pip the Islanders if they secure victories in their remaining fixtures.
The outcome of the match against the Sugar Boyz was effectively determined inside a crazy first five minutes for the Boyz defense when Valdo Andersen latched onto a long ball from Francis Primo ahead of the advancing Leslie Ambrose to slot home the opener and then Rohan Lenon doubled the score with the keeper nowhere in sight and only Pipe to beat from close range.
Pipe in fact blocked his first attempt, but had no chance with the second shot, when the ball bounced kindly at the feet of Lenon, who made no mistake when presented with a second opportunity.
Following a disallowed goal for off side, much to the dismay of Fitzroy Daley, Derol Redhead should have at least hit the target, if not pulled a goal back for the Boyz at the 15 minute mark, but his shot from 15 yards out went high over the Islanders bar.
Another warning for the Boyz came after 10 minutes of almost forgettable football from both sides when McGraw Baptiste made a despairing effort to cut out a pass from Andersen which was destined for the unmarked Daley on the edge of the box, but it at least stung them into some more positive attacking play which produced a fortuitous goal.
Michael Castillo’s speculative shot from outside the Islanders box, in the 26th minute, had plenty of spin and swerve on it, but Monty Butler, the Veterano Goliano for the Islanders, seemed to have it covered, if not somewhat casually. The ball, however had different ideas and deflected off Butlers arm and chest before nestling, almost apologetically, into the back of his goal.
Before the half time break though, Daley, having moments earlier been denied an appeal for a penalty, when Baptiste seemed to catch his trailing foot to send him tumbling in the Boyz box, restored the two goal advantage with a coolly placed shot past Ambrose.
Early in the second half Castillo should have done better from a free kick just outside the Islanders penalty area, but his tamely struck effort was too easy for Butler. The same player then almost latched onto a flicked header from Derol Redhead and then Butler atoned for his earlier mistake by pulling off a diving save from Nicola Luso’s header, who rose highest to meet a Terry Nanton free kick.
It proved to be the last chance for the Boyz as in the 69th minute Devon Leteen made it 4-1, curling home after a well placed cross Kevon Smith, who was in acres of space down the right following a cross field pass from Andersen.
Division One action returns to the A.O. Shirley Ground on Saturday, June 14th, when at 5pm the Panthers take on Old Madrid knowing a win is all they must strive for.
Old Madrid are top of the table and if they secure all 3 points, or even a draw, then they will be crowned Champions and gain promotion to the Premiership at the expense of the already demoted Rebels.
A win for Panthers and it will be down to goal difference to spilt the two teams, who have been the front runners from virtually day one of the season.
Monty Butler, also made an error or two during the game, but like Ambrose made up for them with a couple of fine saves and blocks to deny the Sugar Boyz"
"Leslie Ambrose had a strange start to the game, caught out twice in the first five minutes, before making some crucial saves later in the game"
"Nicolas Luso climbs high to bring out a fine save from Monty Butler with a powerful header"
- Published in Sports