Bodden Town pulled off an emotional FA Cup final victory to tie in with their Premier League triumph and fully honoured the memory of fallen hero Gerome “Bird” Graham.
They beat Roma United, 3-2, in an entertaining match at the TE McField Annex on Sunday. Although the celebrations were singed with sadness because of the loss of Graham, 20, who died at football training a year ago from an undetected enlarged heart, at least his brother, Kareem James, 22, was in the side.
Bodden Town struck first through Theron Wood, whose goal-bound shot was redirected by a Roma defender. Expectations were that First Division Roma would crumble against the younger, fitter side. But the mostly Jamaican nationals showed their fighting spirit and strung some flowing moves together themselves.
That was rewarded with a Gavin Reynolds equaliser, followed by captain Amar Mundle tucking away a penalty.
With the game nearing the end, the BT double looked uncertain until Woody struck again, this time with a looping free-kick that sailed high into the net. It was meant as a cross, but, nevertheless, they all count.
Fullback Wesley Robinson snatched the winner, finishing off a typical rapid move by BT near the end. Robinson was top scorer for the reserves, but this was his most vital goal of the campaign.
Coach Elbert McLean toiled long and hard since Bird’s death to ensure success this season and all his endeavours along with his backup staff’s contribution paid off. McLean and striker son Charlo, were particularly close to Bird.
“It really means a lot to me,” McLean said. “My team really worked hard for all this. There were always numbers in training.
“I warned them about being too relaxed against Roma and we approached this game the same way with all matches with two good weeks of preparation.
“Words cannot really express my feelings. I’ve been working day and night to win the league and winning the FA Cup is a bonus.
“We’re top dogs now. We’ve worked hard to get here and have to work harder still to stay top. At least this season we’ve had good depth in the squad.”
Roma got ragged toward the end as they tired, but they were never overwhelmed. Roma just missed out on promotion, losing 3-2 to North Side in the playoff for a Premier League place the previous week.
Coach McLean was impressed with Roma’s resilience and tenacity. He said: “Roma gave us a good final. They came out and put up a good fight. If they play in the First Division like that next season they should win it.”
Bodden Town managed the cup victory despite having three key players out. Yefrey Calderon was off island and captain Jamaal Clarke and Alex Belcher were suspended.
In the earlier matches at the T.E. Annex, Future beat Cayman Athletic, 3-0, in the boys Under-15 FA Cup final and in the girls version Elite Sports Club also won 3-0 thanks to a hat trick by Chelsea Green.