Elite Women 2
Scholars Women 0
The score line does not reflect the fact that Elite dominated this match and could have reached double figures if not for woeful finishing. They did everything right in the build up but wasted so many chances that it became a farce towards the end.
Scholars are a new, young side, created from breaking away from Elite. Many are inexperienced teenagers with only a handful of games in their whole lives. Yet they played with fortitude and resilience and even scored near the end but were denied a perfectly good goal by an incorrect offside decision.
Led by Cayman Islands international Telicia ‘TC’ Ebanks, Elite took control from the start at the East End Playing Fields on Sunday. TC’s crosses from the right caused all sorts of problems and Shanika Clarke was the first of many to squander.
TC out muscled a defender for a clear chance but she shot wide from the edge of the box. After good work on the left by Jessica E Ebanks, the ball fell to TC but her shot flew over. It was only a matter of time before Elite scored as Scholars defended determinedly. Keeper Maritza Miller-McLaughlin was the busiest player on the pitch.
Susan Eden was possibly Elite’s best dribbler and she caused panic frequently. In the 22nd minute a typical Eden run on the left ended with a stinging low shot that hit the post and bounced out and was kicked off for a corner.
Scholars needed to capitalize on their few chances and one fell to Marlena Smith who latched on to a through ball but her final touch let her down as Patrice Myles was able to gather easily.
Yessenia Prado had a good game for Scholars. She showed excellent control to beat two and fire from 25 yards but that too did not trouble Myles.
Elite’s influential Claudia Julisa limped off injured but they did not lose momentum, Eden’s first time volley which went just over, proved that.
Elite’s breakthrough finally came in the 35th minute. Jessica E Ebanks’ 30 yard volley sailed over Miller-McLaughlin. She had been causing Scholars all kinds of trouble.
Five minutes later Eden again danced down the Scholars right to square across the box for TC to tap in from close. Being 2-0 up was not an accurate reflection of the match as Elite should have had five or six by then. TC smacked in a similar goal seconds before the break but this time it was offside.
Scholars started the second half brightly with Prado shooting from distance.
Elite’s Courtisha Ebanks, another promising teenage international, was in fine form too. Some of her inter-play with TC and Jessica E Ebanks was entertaining but she too wasted chances. Jessica E set TC up again but her shot was blasted wide.
Courtisha beat two defenders on the left, cut inside and smashed the ball against the crossbar. That was the closest she got to scoring yet she could have had a hat-trick.
Tempers flared at times and when Maria Prado brought down Jessica Ebanks on the edge of the box, Elite must have expected another goal. When Courtisha’s free kick flew over a team-mate joked: ‘You’re not in the Super Bowl!’
From a TC free kick the ball fell for Catherine Murray whose curling volley hit the top of the bar. Scholars went through a phase of almost half the team getting injured which showed their commitment. They never shirked a tackle against a bigger and stronger side.
At one point Elite were queuing up to score. TC hit a tame shot from 15 yards when she should have done better and Murray’s low shot was tipped around the post.
With four minutes left, Arie Smith chased on to a misdirected header by an Elite defender to score but offside was given. It should have stood because the rules state that under those circumstances the goal is good.
Murray was booked for hand ball and Courtisha got a yellow for kicking the ball away.
Scholars finished with a flourish. Andriana Ebanks’ long range attempt was just wide.
The game ended how it began; Courtisha put TC through who just had the keeper to beat but again she hit it over.
Armando Ebanks, Scholars women’s coach, said: ‘Today was quite an interesting match for us. It was an old rivalry between Elite and Scholars, something that goes back a few years. Our girls played well. We have a very young team. For some of them this is the first time this season they’ve played and for others it’s their third or fourth match ever. We have a very young program. We had a 1-1 draw with Latinos and we narrowly lost 1-0 in our last game so this match was very good for us although we didn’t play as well as we can. We have two more encounters with Elite and I’m looking forward to them because I know good things will come.’
This was the first game in charge for Elite coach Brian Beckett. He said: ‘We were good but we could have done better. Our finishing was kind of weak but eventually we won by two goals. It was good for my first time. I think we’re third in the league behind Sunset and Women’s United. The good points about it were that my defenders stood their ground and our midfield held out and the forwards produced.’
ELITE: Patrice Myles; Sharon Collins; Susan Eden; Claudia Julisa; Telicia Ebanks; Cassandra Bodden; Courtisha Ebanks; Shanika Clarke; Jessica E Ebanks; Marissa McLaughlin; Jessica Ebanks Subs: Catherine Murray; Michelle McField, Yolanda Whittaker
SCHOLARS: Maritza Miller-McLaughlin; Zila Ramirez; Dinah Ebanks; Nicole Ebanks; Jetina Bodden; Marlena Smith; Yessenia Prado; Arie Smith; Maria Prado; Andriana Ebanks; Deifaree Francis Subs: Luana bodden; Glennis Smith