GREMIO beat their noisy neighbours Boys Town 3-2, on Saturday, to win their first ever Caribbean Welders Fishing Pond Football League final at the Fishing Pond Recreation Ground.
Gremio, who hail from Coalmine, have faltered twice at the last hurdle before, losing the 2014 and 2015 finals. But they were ready this time around with $15,000 up for grabs and the bragging rights for a year against a team who have now lost three straight Fishing Pond finals. Boys Town were left disappointed with the result and themselves after starting the game a goal down as a penalty for reaching late for kickoff. In their defence, Boys Town manager Darryl Miranda said there was some confusion about the scheduled kickoff time. He said he was of the belief the match was supposed to start 3.30pm.
Gremio, with the early upper hand, never relinquished it and piled on the pressure on a Boys Town team chasing the game from the off.
Boys Town started aggressively in search of the equaliser, and Nicholas Nickel pounced on a poor clearance but dragged his right footer wide.
Gremio, against the run of play, extended their lead through their MVP and star defender Rickel Dixon. From a free kick in the middle of the park, the ball was floated into the box where Dixon ghosted in between the onrushing goalie and last defender to head the ball into the vacant net.
The goal stirred Boys Town into life and the 2013 winners responded within a minute with a goal courtesy Nickel. The attacking midfielder was again at the right place and time to smash the ball into the net from close range after an error by Gremio goalie Steffon Alvarez.
With the half ending, Boys Town were back where the game started, trailing by one goal and with a lot of work to do.
Their odds would get worse, however, as just after the break Gremio made it 3-1 from another setplay. Gremio forward JC Lewis won a free kick on the right flank and a low delivery was attacked at the near post by Dixon to direct it into the net past the stagnant Boys Town defenders. As he wheeled away to celebrate, Gremio and their supporters knew they had one hand on the trophy.
Second-half substitute Marcus Chandoo and Simeone Augustus tried their best to ignite a Boys Town fightback, whipping in several dangerous crosses from the right but Gremio’s defence held firm. Boys Town were handed a lifeline when Lewis was issued a straight red for abusive language to leave Gremio a man down but two goals up with about 20 minutes to play. Boys Town took advantage of the extra man and flooded the box with attackers. One right- sided cross fell to second half sub Brent Jackson who showed great determination to find a bit of space on his left foot and rifle a shot past Alvarez into the net.
With time running out, Jackson again attacked a loose ball in the area but the defence was alert to the danger and cleared the ball just in time as the final whistle sounded.
Speaking with Newsday after the victory, Gremio manager Ashky Charles was delighted to break the finals drought and edge their neighbours to the title.
“It was an excellent performance. We know Boys Town thought they had the edge on us, but we had a plan up our sleeve. The red card made it a little more difficult but it’s nice to hold this trophy and beat this team Boys Town. It’s a close rivalry, we call it the local El Clasico up by us, but we came out victorious. Thanks to the guys, the supporters and Mr Prak for keeping this ongoing every year,” he said.