Molynes, Olympic turn tables to win Magnum JN KSAFA titles
Molynes United and Olympic Gardens won when it mattered most to secure the Magnum JN KSAFA Super and Major League titles, respectively, in Friday night’s finals at the Constant Spring complex.
In the first final, for KSAFA’s second-tier Major League championship title, Olympic Gardens scored with the last kick of the game to beat Seaview Gardens, which had beaten them twice during the preliminaries.
It was almost a similar scenario in the Super League championship game for Molynes United, which lost one game and drew the other in preliminary ties against Barbican, the 2018 winners which came into the final as the only unbeaten team in the league.
However, none of the teams could find a goal through regulation play and added time of 15 minutes per half, leading to the heart-stopping penalty shoot-out, in which Molynes United converted all four spot kicks to win 4-3.
Molynes keeper Leon Taylor was the hero as he saved one penalty, while Barbican’s regular scorer, Tajahe Dixon, put his kick over the bar.
By virtue of being crowned champions, Molynes United advanced to the JFF’s all-island Confederation four-team playoff for the Premier League.
As it relates to the Major League, both finalists earned a spot in next season’s Super League.
The large gathering, many of whom came out to witness the Major League final, got the opportunity to cheer for goals, beginning with Seaview Gardens, which took the lead at the 18th minute when talisman Zenard Street scored.
However, Seaview Gardens were caught napping on the occasions that are well known in football, at the end of a half. They initially lapsed in first-half injury-time and Olympic Gardens' Andre Brown made them pay, by netting the equaliser in minute 45+1, the dead stroke of half-time.
With second half to come, Seaview Gardens still had much life. They battled evenly to the fringe of extra-time, only for Olympic Gardens to earn a free kick that Stephan Maxwell rocketed the ball into the pigeon-hole from near 25 yards to send his team-mates and fans scampering wild in celebration.
“I had to do it ‘enuh’, because I’ve been doing it a long time,” said Maxwell. “So I stand up over it (ball) and said I have to score, a whole heap of people depending on me. From the game start my name was ringing, so I get my chance. I made use of it.”
His senior partner and former Reggae Boyz stalwart, Ian ‘Pepe’ Goodison, also expressed delight.
“This one is a special one. This one brings me back to Onandi Lowe and Andy Williams, ‘The Bomber’. ‘Nana’ Lowe have them free kick ‘ya’,” said Goodison, drawing a comparison to team-mates with power free kicks from the Jamaica team that made its historic qualification to the first FIFA World Cup Finals, in France 1998.
Continuing, Goodison said: “This young youth has a sweet piece of left foot, anytime I see him playing it just reminds me of ‘Nandi’ Lowe because he’s big and he’s strong, if he had ‘Nandi’ Lowe brain right now he’d be in the national team.”
Goodison, who pulled up with a hamstring injury in the first half and was forced into substitution, noted that he did some work with Maxwell.
“He’s a youth I believe in from a long time, so Wednesday evening I had him, doing some work with him one-on-one and I was saying ‘just relax and connect the ball on target, that’s all I want you to do for the whole match, if you don’t do nothing else, just make sure you get one on target’. And as soon as we got the free-kick, I called the captain and said ‘make sure Banner kick it, go for him and tell him say is his kick’,” noted Goodison. “It paid off and I’m happy for him. It’s a beautiful goal, beautiful goal, winning goal.”