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Islanders beat One Love 3-2 in National League final

- Ballstars whip Rebels 4-nil in 3rd place game
Islanders completed an unbeaten league season with a 3-2 win over One Love in the play off final on Sunday March 17, 2013 at the A.O. Shirley ground. The only team to hold them to a draw in the league was Ballstars, who whipped Rebels 4-nil in the 3rd place game. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
Rohan "Chi Chi" Lenon reacted first to give Islanders a 2-1 lead after Richard Morgan had equalized for One Love. Lenon also scored the opening goal. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
Nigel Charlemagne scored the last goal of the game in the beleaguered Ballstars 4-0 romp over Rebels to claim 3rd place in the National League Play off. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
Nigel Charlemagne scored the last goal of the game in the beleaguered Ballstars 4-0 romp over Rebels to claim 3rd place in the National League Play off. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The Islanders duly completed an unbeaten league season with a 3-2 win over One Love and the beleaguered Ballstars claimed third spot with a 4-0 rout of the Rebels as the National League concluded on Sunday March 17, 2013.

Whenever the Islanders play the passion to see them either win or lose seems to permeate from the stands in equal measure, but at the end of the game the one thing spectators can be assured of is being witness to an exciting game.

As early as the first minute, Rohan “Chi Chi” Lenon bought the crowd to its feet with a first time effort from 20 odd yards out following a headed clearance from goal keeper, Graig Sinclair. Such was the panic in the One Love defense that three defenders converged on the ball as it arrowed toward the near post and their relief as it veered narrowly wide was met with howls of laughter from the main stand.

Just three minutes later any amusement in the One Love camp was removed though as a superbly orchestrated “dummy” from Venton James allowed Carlos Septus to dodge his marker and send a cross into the penalty box and into the path of Lenon. Christopher Riley did his best to get a tackle in, but the outstretched boot of “Chi Chi” got the important touch and left Sinclair with no chance.

One Love don’t give up as easy under new Coach Marc Savage as they used too and although Savage himself missed the game due to an emergency back in Jamaica, the reliable boot of Richard Morgan leveled the game just two minutes later.

Monty Butler may not be as sprightly as he once was between the sticks, but even in his hay day he would have struggled to deal with a thunderous curling drive from Morgan from well outside the box that flew into the top left corner.

Stunned by the audacity of an opposition not rolling over in front of the Islanders machine and embarrassed to be on the receiving end of the crowds merriment, the boys in Red took just 3 minutes to go back in front when Lenon again reacted quickest to slide home his second from James’ corner. David Hall had conceded the corner despite Sinclair calling for the ball after Lenon had made a run down the left wing, but missed hit his cross.

Some flying tackles and a little bit of “afters” briefly threatened the flow of the game, but the Islanders virtually assured themselves an unbeaten league campaign when Valdo Andersen beat the off side trap, rounded the keeper and made it 3-1 in the 33rd minute.

The second half started with the Islanders showcasing their passing ability and opening up the One Love defense at will. Andersen missed with a curling effort from 18 yards and Septus was narrowly wide with an effort at the far post following a cross from Noel Isaac. A dangerous looking free kick from Lenon was deflected out for a corner, which in turn caused some panic defensively before the ball was scrambled clear.

And then just when it looked like there would be no way back into the game for One Love, David Grant made it 3-2 when he fired home a free kick from 25 yards out that left Butler scratching his head in puzzlement. “The wall parted in front of me,” he lamented after the game.

Butler seemed completely deceived and could do no more than watch as the ball curled inside his right hand post.

Butler did redeem himself when with just a few minutes remaining and One Love pushing hard for an equalizer, he made a point blank save when it seemed a goal was certain and then produced another save under pressure from Chavaughn Williams to secure the victory.

Coach Lenroy Henry felt it was a comfortable victory “we kept our cool, did what we had to do, passed the ball around well, created chances and that was one of our better performances this season.”

According to most pundits, “Football is a funny old game” and so it was proved during the play off for 3rd and 4th place between the Rebels and Ballstars.

The distractions surrounding the game have been well documented and it was ironic that the youngsters left on the roster completely controlled the game even with captain Troy Cesar surprisingly put in goal in what seemed a defensive minded move. However, as it turned out the Ballstars were able to adapt slightly better to the slippery surface and scored the opening goal in the 23rd minute from the boot of Trevor Ellis.

Ellis robbed Damian Watson on the edge of the Rebels area, slipped past another tackle and miss hit his shot across the keeper, who struggled on the wet surface and was left scrambling across the goal line as the ball nestled in the net for the only goal of the first period.

The Rebels nearly fashioned an equalizer early in the 2nd half when Howard Hemmings got in behind Alvin St Ville, but his lobbed shot sailed not only over the keeper, but over the bar too.

It also proved pretty much the last spark of life that the Rebels had in the game as the Ballstars doubled their lead in the 63rd minute when Trevor Mongra fired home from close range after great work down the left wing by Shamoy Thompson. Having cut back inside Thompson let fly with a perfect looking goal bound curling shot that brought out the finest save of the game from Junior Walker, but the unfortunate keeper could only watch as his flying finger tip save fell straight into the path of Mongra.

Mongra pounced on a defensive error to make it 3-0 eight minutes later and then the hard working Nigel Charlemagne got a reward for his tireless play during the game with a superb lob to make it 4-0 along with a yellow card for a shirt over his head celebration.

The result just goes to show you that it’s not all about bringing players in to try and get results or win trophies, but about creating a team that is willing to work for each other and produce results whatever the odds.

The games, which featured the “foreign” players, were fun to watch and brought a new level of play to the Ballstars game. It now seems that the remaining players have learnt some lessons and are keen to show their Coach that there is no longer a need for “imports”.

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