West Front Road were crowned the Mackeson ‘Keep Your Five Alive’ champions, defeating title holders Sparta Boss 3-2 on penalty kicks following a nil-all score after normal and extra time in the grand finale on Saturday.
Played at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall outdoor tarmac on Homestretch Avenue, Randolph Wagner would fashion the first chance of the fixture in the 12th minute following a cagey opening period but his right footed effort was denied by the leg of the final defender Jerome Richardson.
The East La Penitence unit almost broke the deadlock in the 18th minute through a powerful Devon Millington effort from the centre of the field which was scrambled to safety by the West Front Road defender as extra time loomed.
Richardson would deny Wagner once again in the 24th minute, racing off the his goalline to deny the advancing West Front Road attacker at point blank range after he had skilfully turned his marker in the centre of the field after collecting a pass.
With a winner unable to be found in the allotted time intervals, penalty kicks was then necessary to crown the winner. Tasked with taking the first spot-kick, Sparta Boss’s Sheldon Shepherd would make no mistake as he calmly slotted home his right footed effort.
Hubert Pedro would then level the scores as he netted West Front Road’s first attempt from the mark. It would then become 2-2 as both unit’s netted their second attempts from the distance respectively.
However, the pressure would eventually take its toll on the East La Penitence unit as veteran playmaker Devon Millington missed their third attempt. A constant thorn in the side of his adversaries, Wagner would seal the hard-fought win as he clinically converted his side’s final attempt to spark wild celebrations on the playing area.
With the win, West Front Road walked away with the championship trophy and the $300,000 first prize. They would also be awarded football shoes, socks and a ball for their displays.
Sparta Boss for their efforts walked away with the second place title and $200,000. They also were awarded soccer shoes, socks and a ball. In the earlier semi-final round, West Front Road edged Alexander Village 3-2 on sudden death kicks after normal and extra failed to find a winner.
Jamal Pedro almost opened the scoring for the winners in the seventh minute with a left footed strike from the centre of the field, which flew just wide of sneaking into the left hand corner of the net.
Wagner would then see his right footed attempt from the centre of the park, denied by the outstretched leg of the final defender in the ninth minute as West Front Road began push forward in search of the opener.
Daren Benjamin almost broke the stalemate as his left footed drive from the left of the tarmac sailed inches from sneaking into the left corner in the 15th minute.
Unable to settle the outcome in the normal and extra time intervals, a penalty shoot-out was required to find the victor. Asked to take the opening kick, West Front’s Road would begin in the worst possible manner as H. Pedro missed from the mark.
Alexander Village would quickly capitalise, taking a 1-0 lead through an Eon Singh conversion. The score would then read 2-1 as both sides netted from the distance. Needing a conversion to claim the win, Alexander Village’s Delon Williams would succumb to the pressure as he missed his shot.
West Front Road would then force the match into the sudden death arena as Wagner calmly converted his side’s final attempt. The pressure would once again get the better of the Alexander Village unit as Leon Yaw missed his penalty attempt.
West Front Road would exploit their opponent’s recent failures, clinching the victory as Benjamin easily converted his left footed attempt. The second semi-final matchup witnessed Sparta Boss disposing of heavyweights Tiger Bay by a 2-0 score line.
Eusi Phillips opened the scoring for the winners in the 19th minute with a first time right footed effort into the back of the net, after collecting a Shepherd pass from the right side, following a one-touch passing combination also involving Millington.
They would seal the win one minute later through a Shepherd solo run and finish. Flicking the ball through the legs of his marker on the right side of the field, Shepherd would dribble the final defender before finishing his first time left footed effort down the middle of the goal.
In the exhibition matchups, the Media team defeated Qualfon by a 1-0 margin while Future and North East La Penitence played to a nil-all draw.