A determined Lilliput Rovers defied the underdog tag to punch their ticket to next year’s Western CONFED, with a tantalizing and absorbing 1-0 win over fancied Cambridge, in Saturday’s (May 26) finale at Jarrett Park to claim the St. James FA Sandals Resorts International Major League title.
A goal of nothing and totally against the run of play on a defensive mix-up between the Cambridge goalkeeper and their central defender gifted Rovers the decisive victory as they earned bragging rights and also walked away with the cash prize of $200,000, medals and the winners’ trophy.
The all-important goal from Terrick Dixon proved the difference between the sides in the Cambridge-dominated match.
Cambridge, disappointed again in a major match, pocketed $140,000 for their efforts as well as medals, while third and fourth place teams Heights and Violet Kickers, secured 90 and 60,000 dollars respectively.
Marlon Brown of the champions Rovers also walked away with the top award, being named the Most Valuable Player.
Obrian Bent who ended as the League’s leading scorer with 11 goals to his name, was guilty of missing at least three clear-cut chances as Cambridge sank to the stinging defeat.
Dent’s first bite at scoring came midway the opening half, but he slipped at the crucial point after getting away from his defensive opponents with a darting run into the area.
His clearest chance came just after the hour mark, but he stunningly missed from inside the six-yard box when his toe poke was charged down by a diving defender at the near post after Dent had powered into the box from inside his half to the opponent’s goal.
He later rocketed a ferocious shot against the underside of the crossbar from some 18 yards out, again after racing past a couple of desperately lunging defenders who failed to keep control of his speed throughout.
The killer goal was to come later late in the half and from a lightning attack down the left by the Rovers team who, through Dixon, seized the clear-cut chance, lobbing the ball into the back of the net, past an advancing Cambridge goalkeeper caught in an if-and-go play at the back with his central defender.