Bodden Town are the new elite

FA Cup final

Elite 1

Bodden Town 3

The great beauty about sport is that no matter how big a favourite a team or individual is to win a title, the underdogs are always in with a chance and it generates more excitement when it happens.

Hernandez

Hernandez, 16, showed maturity.
Photo: Ron Shillingford

That was the case at the renamed Annex on Sunday, now officially called the TE McField Stadium.

It was the final opening of a football stadium by the PPM after recent completions of East End, North Side and Bodden Town and this was the most significant.

Three matches were staged throughout the day; the women’s FA Cup final, a master’s game and then the big one.

Children danced with flags and Sports Minister Alden McLaughlin gave an interesting speech about the history of the Annex and Timonthy Emmanuel McField’s input into developing football here.

Then the battle began. Elite, Premiership champs and Digicel Cup winners, were the overwhelming favourites. Even without key players Calvin Jefford (suspended) and Donovan Godet (vacation) they were confident of securing the treble. Technical director Greg Ebanks was fully confident that his maturing team would have too much for their challengers.

Bodden Town’s youngsters, average age 19, had different ideas. They were runaway First Division champs and their technical director, Elbert McLean had insisted all week that they were used to being in this situation and would not be intimidated by Elite’s sensational season. Coach Al Frederick endorsed McLean’s optimism too.

Significantly, Elite lost in the league a couple of times recently and maybe fatigue and complacency had sneaked in.

Well the game started according to script. Bodden Town launched a spirited attacking style and Theron Wood could have scored twice early on, but it was Elite who had first success.

Against the run of play, in the 25th minute, an Arden Rivers cross from the left was headed downwards by Derrin Ebanks. It bounced and shot into the top corner beyond the stretching arm of Ramon Sealy.

The equaliser came seven minutes later when Cezray Marvin Twyne cleverly fired a free kick under the jumping Elite wall, similar to the way Ronaldinho scored one last year.

Rene Carter’s 30-yard shot brought a good save out of Sealy before Bodden Town went ahead two minutes before half-time. From a Bodden Town free kick, Elite captain Abijah Rivers could only head goalwards. Kareem James pounced on the loose ball two yards out to make it 2-1.

After the break, Carter’s free-kick was just over.

Then Bodden Town sealed it. A great run on the left by Arvid Harris ended with Twyne, a 23-year-old Jamaican, blasting home to make it 3-1.

Elite made a succession of raids on the BT goal from there but they stood firm.

In fact, the youngsters almost got a fourth when James almost beat Elite keeper James Josephs in the 79th minute. It didn’t matter because Bodden Town had done enough for a famous victory. Twyne was voted man of the match.

Bodden Town captain Luigi Hernandez is a 16-year-old schoolboy, but he gave a mature performance to subdue the Elite attack, spearheaded by Arden Rivers who is twice his age.

The match officials of Owen Swanson, Francisco Coelho, Kenville Holder (ref) and Dwayne Ebanks did a marvellous job.

It was a fitting match for the new stadium and Bodden Town fully deserved their accolades.

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