After several opportunities went abegging and overtime seemed destined, Weymouth Wales’ captain Hadan Holligan scored the lone goal that led his team to a historic win over Crane and Equipment Ellerton in the inaugural Capelli Sport Super Cup Championship final on Sunday night.
Before one of the largest crowds ever at the Barbados Football Association’s AstroTurf in Wildey, Wales took home an early Christmas gift of a cheque worth $50, 000 and a trophy to their home base in Carrington Village compliments that strike by Holligan in the 89th minute.
Wales’ victorious coach Thomas Jordan said after being under pressure for most of the final he knew coming onto the end his team would score.
And that they did when a precise pass from attacking midfielder Romario Harewood inside the 18-yard box found Holligan, who showed excellent control and then fired the shot that hit the jackpot for his club.
What a year Holligan is having with the captain’s armband having just led Barbados Tridents to League B promotion in the CONCACAF Nations League last month.
“We scored at the right time because we were under pressure for most of the game. We had to change our game plan because of the tactics of the Ellerton squad. They are fit, they are young, they are fast so we had to be more conservative, but we know that in the end, we would prevail because they would lose sting at the death, “ Jordan said.
Despite suffering heartbreak, runners-up Ellerton pocketed $20, 000 for finishing second and Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme $10, 000 for third after their 2-1 victory yesterday against University of the West Indies Blackbirds.
Without a doubt, Ellerton’s young energetic side applied pressure and defended strongly against Wales, especially in the opening half when they had cause to hold their heads in disbelief after several chances were not converted.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY after the final, Ellerton’s coach Alvin ‘Gateman’ Holder said his team should have won the game because they played well.
“We played to the game plan, we kept the ball moving and played some good football, but we didn’t score our chances. In every final, there is a winner and a loser so we will move on from here,” Holder said.
Moments before halftime, Ellerton midfielder Shaquan Clarke missed a sitter that should have been buried past Wales’ custodian Omari Eastmond after his captain Belle did brilliantly to steal possession in the midfield, outpace the defence and provide a beautiful ball to Clarke.
Three minutes before regular time, Belle recognising time was against his team went for a shot that flew just wide of the target. It was so close that many thought the ball which kept low had actually scored.
Wales with an experienced line-up of present and former national players opted to play Holligan much deeper in the first half.
But besides Romario Harewood, there was really no one fast enough to carry the ball on the wings.
That all changed in the second half as Holligan returned to the position he’s most familiar with and that is when the momentum shifted as the earlier steam Ellerton had begun to simmer.
As both teams played tactically which had the crowd fully engaged, it came down to who wanted it more and as fate would have it, Wales were the ones that prevailed on the night.
Ellerton’s captain Shakille Belle who scored 10 goals, the most in the tournament, was named the Courts Ready Cash Most Valuable Player and won a brand-new Hyundai from Courtesy Garage.
The 23-year-old Belle told Barbados TODAY he was happy to capture MVP of the tournament.
“I feel good to know the hard work paid off even though we didn’t win the entire tournament, “ he said.
Belle was not the only one turning a Hyundai car key, but also Vidar White whose name was drawn by Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sport John King, as the lucky spectator to drive home a car.
Not only did Christmas came early for Belle and White but also for outstanding individual players and referees who each received $3, 000 cash for their performances.
The best goalkeeper award went to Jamar Brewster of Ellerton while teammate Shaquan Clarke who had three crucial misses during last night’s all-important fina was named Best Midfielder. Ramar Millar of Wales was adjudged Best Defender.
The Fair Play award went to Paradise Soccer Club while Kevon Clarke was named the most outstanding referee and Jeremy Taylor best assistant referee.