A tight and contentious affair was blown open in the final minutes Sunday, when Sunset used a pair of late goals to take a 3-1 victory over Academy. Both teams appealed to the referees for justice in the second half, as a succession of hard tackles and chippy defence raised the stakes and the temperature.
Finally, the tension was released by Anthony Nelson, who buried a goal off a corner kick late in the second half to give Sunset a lead. Academy pressed forward in the final minutes and left their back line unprotected, and Thomas Chipcase scored on a counterattack in stoppage time to make it a 3-1 game.
“Academy is a good team. Young and energetic,” said Sunset coach Gareth Thacker. “They came back in at 1-1, and last year we probably would’ve accepted 1-1. But we had the energy to continue for those extra three or four minutes and we scored two goals. That’s a great victory for the lads.”
Sunset fell to a last-minute defeat to Roma in the opening week of the season, but it has responded with victories over Alliance and Academy. Sunset is now one of just four teams with at least two wins.
Nelson scored in the first half to give Sunset a 1-0 lead, and Academy struggled to find an equaliser. But then, midway through the second half, Asher Joel Francis scored off a set piece to tie the game. From there, the game intensified, as both teams fought hard to secure even a tiny advantage.
There were a few hard tackles and a few Sunset players who appealed to the referee about missed infractions, but Nelson stifled the controversy by volleying a bouncing corner into the net.
“You get a corner with a couple minutes to go and you want to get something from it,” said Thacker of the tense late-game situation and its resolution. “The ball bounces in the box and bang it’s in the back of the net. It’s 2-1, and it’s 3-1 a minute later. It was emotional, but it was a solid victory.”
The Premier League season will now pause for a few weeks in honour of Remembrance Day and international games held in Cayman over the next few weeks. Sunset finds itself with six points, looking up at just two teams – Scholars and Bodden Town – that have managed to win all three games.
“We’re still gelling as a group. We’re still getting to know each other,” said Thacker. “We can do a little bit of work over three weeks. Three weeks is a little bit long to have off, but I understand why. We’ll just get together on the training pitch and enjoy. You work all week and you want to enjoy your football. It’s as simple as that. Everybody plays with a smile on their face and they give 100% hopefully.”