By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Following two finals berths resulting in losses, Tortola’s Combine Starts finally won the Old Madrid Masters Football Tournament after beating Antigua’s F.O.V Masters, 5-2 on Sunday at the Greenland Recreation Grounds.
Captain Danny Joseph, Rohan Lennon and Noel Issac gave the Combine Stars a 3-0 half-time lead that proved to be too much for the F.O.V Masters to overcome in the second half, en route to the victory. Issac and Lennon connected in the second half to seal the win. The F.O.V. Masters got their second half goals from Colin Edwards and Stenroy Challenger.
The Combine Stars began their trek to the final by suffering an opening loss to St. Maarten Veterans, 3-1, with goals coming from Andrew Denis, Raymond Leir and Gumbo Pierre. Lennon scored Combine Stars’ lone goal.
Combine Stars came back from that loss to St. Maarten and defeated Virgin Gorda 3-1 to give them hope for a semi finals spot. Anthony Bramble opened the scoring with a well placed header. Lennon scored yet again and David Hilton punched two through the nets. Fredrick Mars scored the lone goal for Virgin Gorda
Then In the first semi final tournament hosts Old Madrid held the Combine Stars to a 0-0 draw at the end of regulation setting up a penalty shootout to see who would advance. Old Madrid squandered an early penalty when Kenmore Peters saw his shot striking the upright of the goal. Combine Stars was forced to play with 10 men after goal keeper Monty Butler was ejected from the match for a professional foul as they held on to take the match into a penalty shootout, where they got past Old Madrid 5-4 and their third trip to the finals in four years.
Antigua’s F.O.V Masters began play with a hard fought 3-2 victory over St. Croix’s Retroactive. Colin Edwards scored two goals and Challenger once. Keith Cornelius scored both goals for Retroactive.
In their next encounter, F.O.V Masters came back to settle for a 1-1 draw with Old Madrid, who had taken an early lead when Sheldon Harry scrambled in a loose ball for a 1-0 advantage. F.O.V Masters capitalized on a lapse in concentration by Hanif James in Old Madrid goal and scored from a free kick to tie the game.
F.O.V Masters in their semifinal with the St. Maarten Veterans, were held to a 0-0 draw, sending the match to a penalty shootout. F.O.V masters defeated the tournament favorites and defending champions 4-3, to advance to the final.
St. Maarten Veterans used three goals from Andrew Dennis and one each from Gumbo Pierre and Brad Lake in a 5-0 rout of Virgin Gorda.
Old Madrid defeated Retroactive 5-0 with 2 goals each from Dion Ragga Clarke and Kenmore Simmons Peters and one goal from Gregory Grant.
St. Maarten Veterans defeated Old Madrid 2-1, to finish third in the four year old tournament. Raymond Leir and Fabrice Baly scored two first half goals for the St. Maarten Veterans. Humphry Leue’s thunderous shot from the half line beat goal keeper Luc Marconnet, for Old Madrid’s lone score. Tournament Awards:
Champions – Tortola’s Combine Stars
2nd Place – Antigua’s F.O.V Masters
3rd Place – St. Maarten Veterans
Best Goal Keeper – Luc Marconnet, St. Maarten
Golden Boot – Andrew Denis (4 goals ) St. Maartan
Tournament MVP – Rohan ‘Chi Chi’ Lennon, Combine Stars