Sports

Sandals South Coast revel in Confed glory, target Premier League

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Sandals South Coast outscored a valiant Montego Bay Boys' Club team 4-3 at Jarrett Park on Sunday to crown themselves champions of the Jamaica Football Federation Western Confederation Charley's JB Rum Super League.Leonardo Rankine scored a first-half double, while Devin Campbell, who was named MVP of the final, scored a second-half brace to lead Sandals South Coast. Leroy Christie also scored twice to keep the St James team in the game as twice they trailed by two-goal margins.

Sandals South Coast, who were beaten on penalties in last year's final and also in extra time in the mid-season final this season, join South-Central Confederation champions Rivoli United in the Jamaica Football Federation Confederation play-offs for the two promotion spots in next year's Red Stripe Premier League.

Sandals South Coast picked up the championship trophy and first prize of $200,000, while Montego Bay Boys Club took home $120,000 for their runners-up spot. Wadadah FC were declared third and got $90,000, while Faulkland FC got $60,000 for fourth place.

Boys' Club played the final 20 minutes a man short after Michael Thompson was sent off after he was shown a second yellow card in the 70th minute just after his team had pulled to within a goal at 3-2.

Aaron Lawrence, the coach of the Sandals South Coast, was jubilant afterwards.

“We have been fighting for the past three years to get this championship and we have it now. We have to regroup as we made some mistakes (tonight) and gave up some soft goals and we just need to work on them.

“It was an excellent game tonight (as) Montego Bay Boys' Club came out and gave a good fight, but we were superior to them but all said and done, it was a good show.”

Having qualified for the JFF Confederation play-off, Lawrence said the next task was to get to the Premier League at their first try. “I think we have the team to go through that hurdle. We have good quality players who can go out there and do the job in the play-offs and we are looking forward to it. The Premier League is the target,” said Lawrence, a former Jamaica goalkeeper.

Rankine gave Sandals South Coast the lead as early as the sixth minute when he bravely divided low to head home a cross, beating goalkeeper Garnett Dennis at his left near post.

A mistake from Sandals South Coast goalkeeper Obrien Vennor 30 minutes later, dropping a high-cross from Javis Morrison, presented Christie with a sitter which he took with aplomb shooting into a wide open goal from point-blank range to tie up the scores.

That lasted all of two minutes as at the other end the Montego Bay Boys' Club defence left Dennis open and the goalkeeper's desperate rush off his line to cut the angle was in vain as Rankine, who had missed badly on two previous occasions, was on target this time.

Campbell took over from Rankine in the second half to give his team a 3-1 cushion, as he was perfectly placed to head home a cross from Rankine in the 56th minute, beating Dennis at his near right post after he had committed to going to his left.

Boys' Club clawed their way back into the game and pulled to within a goal in the 69th minute when Roshane Reid converted a penalty kick.

Campbell was in the right place again in the 75th minute when he turned just outside the six-yard area and fired home low just inside the left post as Sandals South Coast went two goals clear at 4-2.

He should have put the game further out of reach two minutes later when Sandals South Coast caught Montego Bay Boys' Club on the counter, but after a long run from the middle of his own half, Dennis was equal to the task and blocked the striker on the edge of the 18-yard box.

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