Historic Highgate! - St Mary team qualifies for first premiership
SECOND-HALF goals from Anthowe Dawkins and Severo Murphy carried Highgate (or '45', as they are popularly called) to a 2-0 victory over Cavalier FC at Gray's Inn, thus securing the St Mary side a historic qualification to the Digicel Premier League (DPL) yesterday.
Dawkins opened the scoring for the hosts 61 minutes into the contest from a free-kick, and Murphy sealed the win with a second goal a minute from time.
And not even the continuous rainfall could dampen the mood of the home supporters who braved the inclement weather to cheer their team to victory.
Victorious coach Calvin Lewis was full of praise for club president Von Bish, whom he said gave him the support and backed the team financially to help them attain success.
"Today we knew we had to come out and get a positive result and we played as if we wanted to go to the Premier League... I must say thanks to the players," said Lewis.
He said they will enjoy this achievement before starting to make preparation for life in the Premier League.
"For right now, we're going to enjoy the moment, but next when the board meets we are going to discuss the future of the team going into the Premier League... but for now it's just the celebration," he emphasised.
The home team were the better team in the first half and looked the more likely to score. However, after the break, Cavalier took the initiative and nearly took the lead, but goalkeeper Leighton Murray swatted away Donovan Alvaranga's close-range header for a corner.
However, Roen Nelson came close to putting the hosts ahead minutes later, but he could not connect with the ball at the back post.
Highgate eventually got the important go-ahead goal just after the hour mark when Dawkins' curling free-kick deflected off a defender and into the goal, despite a touch from goalkeeper Everdean Scarlett.
Nelson, Carlos Barrett, Dennis Neish, Carlington Graham all squandered good chances to add to the score thereafter as the home team grew more dominant after their early forays.
Alvaranga came close to an equaliser for Cavalier three minutes from time, but he looped his header over the bar from seven yards.
Then Nicholas Forbes had a rasping effort palmed away for a corner by Murray.
However, with qualification to the elite premiership virtually assured and beckoning, Murphy added an insurance goal for the Eastern Confederation champions when Carlos Barrett delivered a cross on a second attempt, finding Murphy who volleyed past Scarlett at the back post.
For KSAFA outfit Cavalier, it was the second consecutive season that they were falling at this stage, but assistant coach Garfield Robinson insists they can bounce back despite
"Having won our league on two occasions and then coming here again and not getting to the Premier League, which is our goal, is quite disappointing. But we are not devastated; we'll come again." he said.