Olympic Gardens edge Waterhouse on penalties to lift KO crown


Olympic Gardens edge Waterhouse on penalties to lift KO crown

Observer writer

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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OLYMPIC Gardens Football Club dethroned Waterhouse Football Club 4-3 on penalties to lift the 2019-2020 Jamaica Football Federation (JFF)/Lascelles Employees and Partners Co-operative Credit Union Women's knockout title at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence, on Saturday.

The teams had played to a 2-2 result at full time and 20 minutes of extra time, before a penalty shoot-out was ordered to determine the winners at 4-3.

Adrian Kitson, coach of Olympic Gardens, was a pleased man at game's end, having led the club to it's first-ever title in women's football competition after 15 years of trying.

“This is a historic moment for the club, players, and myself to be a part of this glorious triumph. The players felt very proud as there was a lot of celebrations after the match, with some even shedding tears,” Kitson said.

The teams drew 1-1 in their first match of the season, with Olympic Gardens winning the return game 6-2 in the preliminary rounds of the league. They both met in the two-way semi-finals during which Waterhouse won 4-0 and 2-1 to qualify for the final, where they beat Cavalier 5-1.

“It was no fluke as we have beaten Waterhouse 6-2 with their strong line-up, including their captain [Tarania Clarke] who died the following day, as we wanted it more and the players played hard for victory, despite losing a player in the 32nd minute of the first half,” Kitson added.

Meanwhile, Michael Lowe, one of the managers for Waterhouse, spoke on behalf of Head Coach Xavier Gilbert, who was unavoidably absent due to another engagement, and said the team missed too many easy chances.

“They should have easily had a clear lead inside the first half, but they continued to waste scoring opportunities as Waterhouse were dominating and controlling the game.”

He informed that Waterhouse arrived at the venue with only 11 players and they did not start with their full-strength team, as majority of the players are from Excelsior High School and were engaged in another exercise at the school during which they were being assessed by Alicia Wilson, coach of Navarro College in Texas, USA.

“Though Waterhouse wanted to win the knockout final, I think the chances of players getting opportunities of going overseas was very important,” Lowe said.

He congratulated Olympic Gardens for coming out victorious.

The early exchanges of the first half were intense with Waterhouse having more possession and dominance of play, but they wasted their chances. Olympic Gardens also had their chances to open the scoring but were likewise wasteful.

From one of several attacks by Waterhouse they were awarded a penalty, and Davia Richards made no mistake by placing the ball into the far corner past goalkeeper Tashell Welcome to give her team a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.

Waterhouse produced many more scoring opportunities but failed to convert them into goals, while Olympic Gardens, even with less chances, could not find the equaliser.

The hard-working forward Kevena Reid found the equaliser with a powerful right-footed free kick from 25 yards which cannoned past goalkeeper Tiana Schroeter's reach and into the far corner in the 78th minute.

Reid scored her second goal to give Olympic Gardens a 2-1 lead in the 81st minute, after cutting inside the penalty box before blasting the ball past Schroeter.

Waterhouse found the equaliser through Tiny Seaton three minutes from full time, in the 87th minute, for a 2-2 result.

Extra time (10 minutes each half) failed to split the deadlock and necessitated penalties.

Scoring for Olympic Gardens were Reid, Roxine Salmon, Ashley Sawyers, and Stephanie Morgan; while Shantel Bailey, Chevin Blair, and Jessica Johnson were on target for the losers, as Latoya Duhaney and Captain Tasheika Small missed the first and fourth penalties, respectively.

During the match, Renee Scott from Olympic Gardens and Laceyann Murray from Waterhouse were ejected.

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