On a night marred by dubious officiating, patrons on Saturday night, witnessed a Warren Gilkes master class as Plaisance became the inaugural Guinness Greatest of the Streets, East Coast champions when they defeated Church Yard United by two goals to one in a thrilling finale.
Played at the Haslington Market Square and witnessed by the largest and boisterous multitude to date, the grand finale began with Plaisance off to the races as they controlled the early possession through their lateral passing scope.
A brilliantly worked move from Gilkes playing a more central role, almost broke the early deadlock but the resulting buildup went narrowly wide, sending a collective sigh amongst the Church Yard faithful. Tentativeness and fatigue from their respective semifinal excursions began to take a toll on the players as the tempo of the slowed with both teams trying to solidify their relevant backlines.
Opportunities became a rare commodity as the game became a scrappy and disjointed affair.
Passing and mistimed runs seemed to be the result of tired legs as both camps struggled to fashion clear cut opportunities. Church Yard, compliments of great orchestration from their engine room, almost broke the gridlock on the stroke of halftime only to be found wanting in execution of the finish.
The second period began as the first with Plaisance pressing forward trying to impose their supremacy and Church Yard countering capably. Running on pride and simply adrenaline, the dead heat was finally broken by none other than Gilkes in the 17th minute, sending the loud Plaisance fandom into frenzied merriment.
The resulting goal would kick start a back and forth slugfest as lung busting runs became prevalent into opposing territory driving the large mass into a harmonious synchronism. Set up nicely for the remaining minutes, the Church Yard boys began to throw bodies forward looking to restore equivalence to the proceedings.
Riding their new found momentum through continued possession and finding space in the wider areas, parity was magnificently restored as a brilliantly worked counter attack was superbly finished off by Kearon Sionmon in the 22nd minute, sending their huge following into pure bliss.
Sensing the momentum shift and putting their capable antagonists under the pump, the Church Yard faithful were silenced as a cracking strike by Plaisance marksman Gilkes in the 26th minute effectively put the game to bed and crowned the Plaisance outfit, the Guinness Greatest of the Streets Inaugural East Coast Champions.
Results of the scheduled matches: Semifinal 1- Plaisance 2 V/s BV-A 1- Plaisance- Kester Green- ninth minute and Warren Gilkes- 11th minute- BV-A- Delroy Dean- sixth minute.
Semifinal 2- Church Yard United 1 V/s Melanie A 0- Church Yard United -Horace Graham- 31st minute.
Third Place Playoff- BV-A 1 V/s Melanie A 0- BV-A- Reon Hopkinson- ninth minute