Smith magic seals cup for Roma

Wayne ‘Bigga’ Smith is the toast of the Jamaican football community after hitting a marvelous goal to secure Roma the Digicel Cup for the first time in their history.

Smith, 21, works in construction and he set the foundation for this win just before half time for his fourth strike of the season and certainly most important. The match at the North Side Playing Field was well attended. Early comers enjoyed an entertaining Under-18 game between Elite and Bodden Town which ended in a 3-3 draw.

Roma celebrates

Roma celebrated to reggae. Photo: Ron Shillingford

‘What was going through my mind was that I had to get this one in the back of the net over George Town because I knew that I wouldn’t get many chances as they’re a good defensive team,’ Smith said. ‘Our tactics and all the hard training we did paid off. It was a sweet shot. I was holding up my head waiting to see if it would go into the far corner and I have to give all praises to the Father, God up above and thank you for the strength.’

Brilliant goal it was too. Smith collected on the left, cut inside two defenders and the shot flew into the top corner.

Roma were marginally the better side in the first half. Their passing and running off the ball was pretty but not that penetrative against a well drilled George Town side who came close twice, the first time when Justin Pierre burst through but shot wide and then from a Dennis Ebanks free kick, the ball wasn’t cleanly collected but nobody was close enough to take advantage of the loose ball. Predator Smith troubled George Town throughout.

George Town applied pressure at times after the break with Anthony Ramoon, Carson Fagan and Adrian Lewis all coming close. Lewis was bundled over near the end as he shot but no penalty was given.

Roma danced around the field with reggae music thumping from the stands, waving a Jamaican flag.

Smith, of course, got the man of the match award, presented by Digicel executive Casandra Harris. Minister of Sport Alden McLaughlin attended the game and helped with the prize giving. Also there were Joel Francis, assistant secretary in the Ministry of Sport and Jeffrey Webb, president of the Cayman Islands Football Association.

Roma coach Phillip Gayle was thrilled. ‘I’ve had sleepless nights dreaming about this cup final,’ he said. ‘First of all I want to thank God for his blessing on us and I want to thank all who supported us, managers and supporters. The guys worked hard. They really trained hard for the past two weeks and I want to congratulate them because they fully deserve it. I told the guys to play what they know; knock the ball around and let George Town come and chase them. They did exactly that and it worked. Bigga did his work and deserved man of the match also.’