There was high drama to end the Sunday Football League season last weekend when the knockout cup competition final went to penalty kicks after a non-scoring draw between Maples Revolution and Boca Juniors at the Annex.
With no extra time in the competition, the tie moved straight to penalty kicks where Boca prevailed by converting all of their five spot kicks to win 5-3.
There’s not normally a shortage of goals when these two teams meet on league business, but on this occasion chances were at a premium as both defenses came out on top.
The clearer goal-scoring opportunities all arrived in the second half. First, Maples had a golden chance to break the deadlock when Ian Jamieson was left unmarked at the back post, but his shot was straight at Alexie Reve in the Boca goal.
Soon after, Maples went even closer by hitting the woodwork with the game’s best chance when Jack Leeland connected powerfully at the near post with an in-swinging corner – and he probably thought he had scored, but, despairingly for the reds, the ball smacked off the crossbar and away to safety.
At the other end, Boca had a header that glanced just wide of the far post and a strong penalty appeal turned down by the referee, who instead awarded a yellow card to the attacker for simulation.
As the game entered its final stages, the morning temperature continued to soar and with it both sides seemed content not to lose a late goal and became resigned to penalty kicks to separate them.
Boca struck first blood when Carlos Andrade stepped up to finish the first penalty, which set the tone for the rest of the spot kicks.
Maples’s reply was of equal quality from Colm Flanagan, to make it 1-1. It was then 2-1 to Boca when Brandon Ebanks found the back of the net prior to Maples’s James Plowright scoring to tie the teams once again.
Up next was Boca’s Greg Ebanks and he used all his experience to successfully convert from 12 yards.
Then came the turning point. Maples’s David Taylor could only watch as his well-struck kick was saved by Reve, who threw himself full length to his right to parry the shot. Boca then took full advantage by scoring through Arden Rivers to swing the tie in their favor.
Jack Leeland had to score to keep his side in the match and did just that to make it 4-3. This wrote the script for Boca’s Henry Mitchell to become his team’s hero and just like he did in his team’s semifinal which also went to penalties, Mitchell held his nerve to calmly slot home to win his side the cup 5-3.
Boca, who were runners-up in last year’s final, took it one step further this season, and by converting all of their five spot kicks deservedly picked up the trophy. However, it was rough justice on a Maples side who contributed much, only to come away empty-handed.