The team from West Basseterre became the first to book a spot in the finals of the 2017/2018 National Bank Premier League season. Rams Village Superstars clinched the spot after defeating SOL IAS Conaree F.C. 3-0 on Wednesday night at the Warner Park in final four playoff action. S.L. Horsfords St. Pauls, meanwhile is in pole position to make the finals, after edging back to back defending champions Flow 4G Cayon Rockets 1-0.
Conaree started with swift attacking football, putting Village to the sword, as they have done all season long, Village absorbed the pressure and against the run of play earned a 1-0 lead at halftime courtesy of an Ordell Flemming header. That goal was scored in the 24th minute. Despite close calls from Conaree, they failed to find the back of the net. In the second half Conaree came out again with aggressive attacking play and spurned good chances to equalize, but again Village against the run of play took the lead from a Jazzil Francis own goal in the 76th minute. Kimaree Rogers rounded out the demolition with a sublime goal in the 85TH minute.
Coach Jeffrey Hazel was obviously pleased with earning a finals spot once again for Village after being out of the finals for several years. “We have been telling our guys we need it more. It’s been a while since we have been in the finals. That’s the emphasis really. Our (fan) shirts say “See Us Rise” and we want to rise this year and we went out and they played their hearts out for the club and we are happy we are in the finals,” Coach Hazel said. He noted regardless of the fact they are in the finals, they are not taking their foot off the gas. “We can’t let up now although we booked a place (in the finals). We have to be emphasizing a lot more on what we want to do in the finals,” Hazel added.
For Conaree player Kareem Mitcham, the defeat was hard to swallow considering their creditable performance. “It’s just the lack of focus. We didn’t really concentrate much on the ball field and that is what cost us,” he said. “We head didn’t drop after they got the first goal. As you can see, the halftime goal is 1-0 to Village Superstars so we know we had our chances to put away and get back in the game. But unfortunately they got the second goal, which is an own goal from us and that kind of killed our momentum going forward. Down 2-0 you have to gamble and get at least one and get back into the game and we did gamble and it cost us. They got the third goal,” Mitcham explained.
Prior to Village’s big win Wednesday night, S.L. Horsfords St. Pauls edged defending champions Flow 4G Cayon Rockets 1-0 courtesy of a 12th minute strike from Kendale Liburd. Coach Austin Dico Huggins of St. Pauls spoke to why his team were able to win despite the injuries and other challenges they faced. “It’s just a little more communication and a little awareness in terms of positioning,” Coach Huggins said.
With that win St. Pauls are second behind Village for a spot for the finals. They play Conaree on Sunday. Should St. Pauls win that match, they will qualify for the finals. That would eliminate Conaree. The result of that match would determine whether Cayon will have a chance to progress in the second of Sunday’s double header when they face Village.