Sandals/ATL Senior League
Somerton Football Club are still celebrating their stunning hold on the St. James Football Association Senior League title.
The flamboyant side hoisted the title and sealed participation to the Western CONFED Super League next season, with a thrilling 5-4 extra time win over stuttering Melbourne in the championship game played at Jarrett Park last Saturday (April 28).`
Substitute Clive Grizzle found the back of the net twice for the ‘country team’, with Marvin Ellis finding the killer in the second stanza of extra time, the 104th minute.
The teams were forced into extra time after battling to a pulsating 3-3 draw in regulation time.
Dwayne Anderson and Sean Matherson in the 14th and 17th minutes, were the other scorers for the exciting Somerton team.
da’Costa Cup winner, Dwayne Harding, with a double on 9 and 57 minutes, veteran Norman Foster from the penalty spot in the 70th and another longtime player, captain Davion Brown, were those who hit the back of the net for the 7-times finalists Melbourne.
The fleet-footed Marvin Ellis was named the League’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) as the Somerton team also walked away $150,000.
Making yet another appearance in the final, knowing they were yet to claim a solitary title, Melbourne, the longest-serving team in the Senior League, was swift out of the blocks and cantered into the ascendancy when Harding pounced to send them ahead after just nine minutes into the contest.
Somerton, by then, had settled and quickly found the equalizing goal when Anderson struck.
Melbourne had the chance to again get ahead but Rayon Cameron missed from 12 yards out after Leighton Spence of Somerton had handled the ball inside the penalty area.
From the resulting kick, Cameron sent his shot sailing over the bar to the shock of his teammates.
Somerton afterwards took charge of the match-up and missed several chances including one from about three yards out, almost on the goal line.
Substitute and two-times National League winner Foster, a player coach for Melbourne, then nudged Melbourne ahead in the 70th minute when he slammed home from the penalty spot, despite the keeper getting a firm hand to the ball after a Melbourne player was hacked down in the area by Derrick Allen.
However, just when it seemed they would hold on to claim their first-ever senior title, Kaywana Harvey produced a classic header to level the scores at 3-3 to send the game into extra time.
Somerton struck twice during the extra time period to clinch the title with Grizzle striking in the 90+9 minutes of extra time when he stabbed a deep cross, following a fumble by the Melbourne custodian who should have collected the ball inside the 18-yard box.
The talented Ellis, who had the beating of every defender sent against him down the flank, made it 5-4 90+14 minutes when he fired in a shot on the run from about 22 yards out to seal the title.
Trying to lead from the front, but with defeat looming, Captain Brown popped up, three minutes later (90+17 minutes) to cut the deficit to one when he unleashed a cracker from outside the 18.
But that would be all they get as time ran out.