It proved a day of red and gold as Cornwall AIA and Athletes in Action (AIA) both enjoyed success in the Sandals Resorts International/St. James FA Under-15 and 17 competitions won the respective title following Sunday’s finals at Wespow Park in Tucker.
Cornwall AIA bagged the first title of the day, easing by Green Pond High 3-0 in the Under-15 battle, while AIA, recovered from a sluggish start to upstage fancied favourites Irwin Academy 4-2 on penalties after playing out a 2-2 full-time draw.
In the Under-15 showdown, Kavontea Gooden’s exquisite double and one from Carlando Morris, which Gooden set up, steered Cornwall AIA to the comfortable and easy win.
Gooden, with a hand in all three goals, scored his double after Morris’ opener, which came 7 minutes into the contest as he slammed in a strike that went in off the post following sublime work down the flank by Gooden, which saw him leaving two defenders grounded, one on their knees in the build-up.
Gooden then scored from 12 yards out, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way before a well-taken strike midway through the second half, which went across the goalkeeper and into the side of the net from just inside the 18-yard area.
Meanwhile, AIA needed the dreaded penalties to complete the sweep in sensational fashion overhauling a 2-0 deficit to see off Irwin Academy 4-2 on penalties to hoist the Under-17 title.
AIA was perfect from the spot, with captain Raheem Lee, Dante Escoffery, Romaro Collins, and Raphael Palmer all finding the back of the net, while Irwin converted just two of their kicks thanks to Mark Buddle and Jaquon Beckford.
Nicardo Tomlinson, who sent his shot wide, and Nicholas, who had his shot brilliantly saved, were the ones who missed for Irwin Academy.
Irwin proved dominant at the start of the contest and dictated the early happenings, racing into a comfortable 2-0 cushion inside the opening 21 minutes on the back of goals from Jaleel Drummond 11 minutes in and Kevin Wright.
However, AIA on the back of two fantastic strikes from captain fantastic Raheem Lee, struck back late in the second half to salvage their season and force the shoot-out.
With AIA in the ascendancy and asking questions of their opponent’s defense, the speedy Lee turned on the pace and added precision as he fired home a low grounder on the run across the 18 and into the net to cut the deficit in the 42nd minute.
Seconds after he (Lee) and Collins had chances to level the score, Lee forced the game into penalty kicks when his free kick from near the corner flag slipped through the hands of the Irwin Academy goalkeeper and into the back of the net, two minutes into time added on (80+2).
It was the second time in the competition; the AIA team had rallied to see off the challenge of their opponents and remained undefeated against them.