Upstarts Cambridge reach Sandals Major League final

Monday, May 20, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Cambridge United qualified for the final of the St James Football Association/Sandals Resorts International Major League in their first season in the competition, after beating former champions Violet Kickers 2-1 in their second-leg semi-final at the UDC Field on Wednesday. The win handed them a 3-2 advantage on aggregate.

Cambridge lost in the semi-finals of the Division One last year, but were one of three teams promoted, along with Division One champions Bogue FC and Violet Kickers. They made full use of the opportunity, coming from a goal down on Wednesday to win 2-1 after the first game a week earlier ended 1-1.

Cambridge are to meet Lilliput Rovers in the final set for May 25 at Jarrett Park.

Wednesday's game surpassed expectations in most areas with two teams matching tactics and wits, and fans were rewarded with three well-taken goals.

Dominic Brissett, who had scored the equaliser in the first game, gave Violet Kickers the lead in the 32nd minute when he was well placed to capitalise on a defensive error, turning in a cross from the right wing past two defenders and goalkeeper Chad Trough.

Shaquelle West had a golden opportunity to put Cambridge United level in the 38th minute but his header from six yards hit the ground and flew over the cross bar with the goal gaping.

He made amends early in the second half when he caught the Violet Kickers team napping, raced past several players and beat the advancing goalkeeper Shemar Thelwell in the 48th minute.

The goal seemed to breath life into the Cambridge United team and they lifted their game several levels, but Thelwell, who also plays for Irwin High in the ISSA daCosta Cup schoolboys competition, pulled off a series of saves to keep the scores level.

He and the Violet Kickers defence had little answer in the 75th minute when Obrien Bent turned sweetly on the edge of the area and fired a low hard right footer past the goalkeeper inches from the left post.

Violet Kickers stormed back and should have drawn level late in the game, but Cambridge United's goalkeeper Trough brilliantly saved a free kick heading for the top left corner of the goal for a corner.

—Paul Reid

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