The romance of the FA Cup is that weaker teams have a chance to enjoy some unexpected glory – Roma have done that locally to emulate Wigan, who are in the English FA Cup final against Manchester City.
This time last year, Roma were in disarray after relegation from the Premier League. They regrouped, changed personnel and coaches and had a successful season in the First Division, finishing second to Sunset.
On Sunday, Roma’s renewed collective spirit overcame George Town, 2-1, in the first FA Cup semifinal of the evening at the TE McField Annex.
Roma beat Tigers, another Premier League side, in the quarterfinals, so proved this was no fluke.
It was a fabulous all-round effort by the team of mostly Jamaicans who can thank veteran striker David “Starky” Harding for his brace, in the 8th and 29th minutes.
Cup specialists George Town pressed in the second half and made the breakthrough in the 75th minute through a marvellous Tex Whitelocke header, but despite constant pressure could not find the equaliser.
The final is on 19 May and Roma hope to have a double celebration by then by beating North Side in the playoffs to return to the top tier.
The other semifinal was always going to be a tight affair between Premier League champions-elect Bodden Town and Elite Sports Club.
Sure enough, it went down to a penalty shoot-out after a tense 0-0 draw in regulation and extra time.
Dwayne “Gaza” Wright is the in-form striker for BT. He had a relatively quiet game and missed a sitter with his miscued lob when he should have done better late in the game, but made amends as he calmly struck home the fifth penalty to seal the win. Elite only missed one of their five, but that is the cruelty of this decider.
Overall, Bodden Town deserved victory, but Elite made a terrific contribution, too, with superb performances from Ebanks brothers Jason and Jedd, Jairo Sanchez and Alejandro Ruiz.
Mark Ebanks and Marvin Boothe threatened for Elite but just couldn’t get that vital touch to seal it.
The final promises to be a spectacle because Roma are never in a dull game and always attract plenty of voluble supporters. Bodden Town too have a big following and certainly won’t be short of support.