As a spectacle it promised so much but sadly the FA Cup final between George Town and Cayman Athletic was totally anti-climatic because the reigning champions scored twice early on and hit three more before the break.
Justin Pierre paved the way for George Town at the TE McField Annex on Sunday with a brilliant strike in the third minute. David ‘Starky’ Harding found space and struck an equally impressive shot from the edge of the box soon after and GT knew they were not in danger of relinquishing their hold on it.
Before the break Fabian ‘Dadda’ Malcolm, Leon Whittaker and Garth Anderson all scored superb individual efforts and the match was over in the competitive sense. The trophy in sight, George Town gave their subs a run out in the second half and it stayed 5-0.
First division side Athletic under coach Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour had beaten three Premier League teams to reach the final – Future, Roma United and Tigers – but GT, under coach Lee Ramoon, were in no mood to be another victim for the giant killers. GT have the magic formula to win cup ties – they are also Digicel Cup holders this season and last.
Athletic were reduced to 10 men in the dying seconds when Matthew Forrest was red carded by Nolan Foster for a foul. Athletic, admittedly, were under strength, after a revolt by four senior players after their entertaining 5-3 extra time win over Tigers in the semis which led to four missing for this game. Gillie’s son Antwan ‘
Chico’ Seymour, Andre McFarlane, Statan Clarke and Lorenzo Brown boycotted the big game.
But George Town were the far more seasoned side anyway, packed with national players and some of the best in the league and led by midfield maestro Ian Lindo who is club and national team captain. Fittingly, Lindo received the Most Valuable Player award.
He said: “We knew that if we played our own game, the goals would come. Our only disappointment is that we felt we could have done better in the league this season. We had a slow start but we still won second place and defended our two cups which is very positive. Our challenge next season is to retain the cups and win the league.
“We think it’s possible because we have to get over our slow start, so hopefully we’ll have a bright start and take it from there.”
Their league form was patchy before Christmas, as opposed to Elite’s who went out of the cup competitions early but were undefeated in the Prem until March by which time they were so far ahead that only a major calamity could have denied them.
As for coach Gillie, despite losing key players, can build on the excellent nucleus he has headed by Gary ‘The Wizard’ Whittaker, Raheem Robinson, Dave McLaughlin and Kemar ‘Ashley Cole’ Scott. He also has a raft of youngsters who are maturing in every game, the best being Matthew Suberan and Santangelo Bush.
“I told my team before this match that they were already winners by reaching here because we’re a first division team and we defeated three Premier League sides,” Gillie said. “That’s success in itself. We felt we could have got a better result today but these things happen sometimes.
“I warned them about ball watching and today we really went to sleep for too long and we paid the price for it. We had a better second half. It was 0-0 which just goes to show that we allowed too much easy scoring in the first half. George Town are not five goals better than us.
“I will rebuild for next season because I’ve got some brilliant youngsters coming through. I just need some good, experienced players alongside them, no problem.”