By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Two second half goals propelled the Virgin Gorda Sugar Boys from a 53 minute 0-0 stalemate with Tortola’s Lion Heart, to a 2-0 victory on Sunday, and a sweep of the BVI Football Association’s Super 6 best of three for the title.
Hosts Sugar Boys had taken a 1-0 lead in their first encounter on Virgin Gorda on June 27, after beating Lion Heart, 5-4 on penalty kicks, before the territory was shut down a week later and put under a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, because of the largest Covid spread since the pandemic began.
After missing several chances, including some from point blank range, the nerves were settled by a McGraw Baptiste penalty in the 53rd minute, to give the Sugar Boys a 1-0 lead. However, Lion Heart hit back strongly and were guilty of missing some guilt edged chances to equalise the defensive match.
Later in the match, a switch of tactics which saw Terry Nanton move out wide, opened up play and gave the Sugar Boys some relief as well as the cushion of a second goal in the 87th minute, when German Gonzalez latched onto a Nanton cross to put the result beyond doubt with the 2-0 victory
Sugar Boys’ Baptiste was named as finals MVP. The Sugar Boys also took home the winners cheque of $7,000, while Lion Hart pocketed $4,000.
“Tonight’s win is very, very important for us coming off a long break with the Covid and we didn’t get much time to practice,” Sugar Boys’ player coach and tournament MVP Derol Redhead told Island Sun Sports. “Coming out here, I think all the players gave their best and what we expected from them.”
With sports being given the clearance to resume since their last game in early July before the Covid outbreak across the territory, Redhead said the game started off good but about five to 10 minutes into the second half, most of his players started developing little injuries.
“Practice wise, you couldn’t get enough chances to practice as a team because of the protocols, curfew and everything else,” he noted. “I think this victory boosts a lot of our players’ confidence because we didn’t have a lot of chances to prepare for this game. I think this victory is positive and will help us push forward for the upcoming national league.”
Lion Heart Coach Winston Brown thanked God for his young team being able to reach the second of the league championships.
“We had the game in hand but eventually, we gave it to Sugar Boys,” he said. “Congratulations to them and we’ll get them next time.”
Brown wasn’t happy about the penalty shot that Baptiste was able to score on and didn’t see it as a play warranting a penalty. “But the referee’s decision is final, so we can’t do anything about it.”
Like everyone else, Brown said the break affected his team as they were unable to get any kind of training done.
“They notified us late and by the time we were to get practice, we didn’t get any time to train,” he noted.