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Islanders & Ballstars to clash in play off Final!

Ballstars Jamie Brown slid an inch-perfect free kick to Wakendale Laurent who curled his 20 yard effort past Sinclair and into the top right hand corner to make it 1-1. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
One Love's Richard Morgan flighted a great ball beyond the defenders and in front of 'keeper, Carlos Claxton. Timing his run to perfection, Sylvan Wynter got his foot to the ball just ahead of the diving Claxton to make it 3-2. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
One Love's Richard Morgan flighted a great ball beyond the defenders and in front of 'keeper, Carlos Claxton. Timing his run to perfection, Sylvan Wynter got his foot to the ball just ahead of the diving Claxton to make it 3-2. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
The icing on the Islanders cake arrived courtesy of a penalty kick calmly slotted home by Valdo Anderson, who had been on the receiving end of several crunching tackles all evening. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
The icing on the Islanders cake arrived courtesy of a penalty kick calmly slotted home by Valdo Anderson, who had been on the receiving end of several crunching tackles all evening. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The unbeaten Islanders will play Ballstars in the final of the BVIFA National League after winning their semi finals on Sunday March 3, 2013 against Rebels and One Love respectively.

The first game, which saw the Ballstars hold off a spirited One Love side 3-2, had all the thrills and spills expected of Cup action whilst the Islanders had a much easier time against the Rebels, cruising to a 3-0 victory.

One Love opened the scoring after enjoying the better possession inside 15 minutes against the Ballstars, through a brilliant Odaine Reid free kick from nearly 30 yards out which flew into the back of the net. However, the Ballstars had nearly scored at the other end two minutes earlier when a deflected clearance had Craig Sinclair scrambling back to push the ball onto the cross bar. It looked for all the world that Jahleel Warner would have an easy header to score, but Sinclair scrambled across his goal line and made a tremendous block.

The lead, though, would not last long as following a handball on the edge of his area by Frederick Salomon, Jamie Brown slid the free kick inch perfectly to Wakendale Laurent who curled his 20 yard effort past Sinclair and into the top right hand corner to make it 1-1.

Some fruity tackles and the odd bit of “afters” began to detract from the ebb and flow of the game as the half wore on, but at the break the score remained level with neither side able to create much more than half chances amidst a tense midfield battle.

That all changed in the 60th minute when Laurent scored his second goal of the game with a free header from 6 yards.

An innocuous looking long free kick was hit long into the One Love penalty area, Sinclair called to claim the ball, but was a long way from catching it, allowing Browne to reach it first and lob it back towards the empty net where Laurent was waiting and he made no mistake.

In the 75th minute the game seemed dead and buried as Alvin St Ville took a free kick just inside the One Love half. It sailed towards goal and Sinclair again came off his goal line to make the save. However, he misjudged the flight and was left flapping in the breeze as the ball nestled in the back of the net.

“I was very pleased, but didn’t really mean to score. I was looking just to float it towards the far post, but very happy to see it go in” commented St Ville.

There was still time for another twist and some anxious last moments as One Love struck back from a free kick following a Reuben Stoby foul on Richard Morgan.

Morgan himself took the kick and flighted a great ball beyond the defenders and in front of ‘keeper, Carlos Claxton. Timing his run to perfection, Sylvan Wynter got his foot to the ball just ahead of the diving Claxton to make it 3-2.

The Ballstars held on to their one goal advantage without too much concern and will now continue their miraculous end to the season with a game against the Islanders in the Final.

“I thought one of our late chances would go in” stated One Love Coach, Marc Savage.

“We made the game a bit more interesting than we would have liked,” commented Vincent Samuel. “We were in control of the game and dealt fairly well with their threats from downtown. We are happy to be in the finals and don’t mind who we play. Anything can happen now and I’m pretty confident we can go all the way.”

The first half of the second semi final was almost a typical Islanders performance although, if anything, they were as guilty of over simplification as the Rebels were of over complication.

The Islanders seemed to be rushing their final ball in search of the opener and their opponents wasting several good build ups with too many passes.

Mervyn Francis was the busier goalkeeper, but with Danny Joseph and the rest of the defense holding firm, the best chance fell to Rohan Lennon who should have at least found the target with a lobbed effort. Valdo Anderson was full of running for the Islanders with little success and Avondale Williams made several telling passes that all came to nothing.

At the other end, Joel Williams caused Monty Butler one or two heart pumping moments and Juanito Dias saw his header go wide after good work down the right from Michael Facey.

Carlos Septus, who had a quiet first half, took just 5 minutes into the second to open the scoring as he steered home a well worked corner routine. Dropping off his defender to make space Septus was in the perfect position to slot home first time from Williams’ low corner, giving Francis no chance inside his near post.

The second goal came 10 minutes later and from slightly longer distance, but in similar fashion, as Andy Davis met another low Williams’s corner first time again giving Francis no chance to make a save.

And the icing on the cake arrived courtesy of a penalty kick calmly slotted home by Valdo Anderson, who had been on the receiving end of several crunching tackles all evening.

Lennon appeared to be going nowhere inside the box, but a rash tackle from Bryan Smith left the Referee pointing to the spot, from which Anderson caught Francis flat footed with a well taken kick. Anderson took off on a celebration ending in front of the pro Rebel fans to signify his delight which, apart from a few howls of derision, also earned him a yellow card.

“The first half we should have scored at least five,” noted Coach Lefty “but I’m happy we ended up with the three at the end. We will be business as usual for the final, come up with a game plan and take it from there.”

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