A defensive master-class led to the biggest upset in the history of the Guinness Greatest of the Streets Georgetown finale as North Ruimveldt downed a star studded Festival City Warriors 2-0 on Sunday at the National Park Tarmac.
The veteran duo of Gerald Gittens and Travis `Zorro’ Grant ensured North Ruimveldt sealed their inaugural title in front of the largest crowd to date, netting in the dying moments of the second period in the 37th and 39th minutes correspondingly to deny glory to the likes of Solomon Austin, Daniel Favourite, Eon Alleyne and Dwayne Lawrence.
With the win, North Ruimveldt walked away with the championship accolade and the $500,000 first prize while Festival City Warriors received the runners-up title and $300,000 for their efforts.
Setting up a defensive structure to frustrate the attacking nature of the Festival City unit, North Ruimveldt would begin the matchup the brighter of the two sides with Colin Daniels denied at point blank range on the left side of the field by the final defender in the 14th minute.
Rickford James would then see his effort crash into the right upright four minutes later from the right side of the park as North Ruimveldt and their loud following began to grow in confidence in the matchup.
Held at bay for most of the match, Festival City Warriors would register their first attempt on target in the 22nd minute of the second period but the left-footed Austin strike from the left side of the field was denied by the leg of the final defender.
North Ruimveldt would quickly respond in the 34th minute, drawing loud screams from the gathering as Gittens, upon twisting and turning his marker while bearing down on the goal in the centre of field, unleashed a thunderous effort that cannoned off the right post, much to his disappointment.
Nonetheless, Gittens would not be denied, kick starting the wild celebrations on the playing area from the North Ruimveldt faithful three minutes onward as he powered his first time effort down the middle of the goal, after latching onto a Grant pass from a right side cornerkick outside the centre of the area.
The revelry would commence once more in the 39th minute as Grant hammered home the proverbial nail in the coffin, twisting and faking the final defender outside the area before placing it through his legs down the middle of the goal, sending the crowd into pandemonium on the playing area and sealing the title in the process.
In the third place playoff, former winners Leopold Street squeaked past Sparta Boss by a 2-1 score line. Omallo Williams fired the eventual winners into the early lead in the third minute, rifling a flat left footed effort into the lower left corner from the middle of the field.
The East La Penitence outfit would answer back to level proceedings in the 12th minute as Sheldon Shepherd scored with a first time placed effort into the net, following a three pass combination involving Devon Millington and Cleon Forrester.
Leopold Street, however, would grab the go-ahead winner in the 31st minute of extra time through Claudio Rajkumar, who placed his effort into the lower left hand corner, following a two-on-one situation with the final defender.
Due to the win, Leopold Street collected $200,000 and the third place trophy while Sparta Boss walked away with $100,000 and the respective accolade. Awarded the most discipline team accolade was Cross Street.
By virtue of qualifying for the semi-final stage, all four teams have automatically qualified for the national tourney to be held in 2015.