Sport

Real Mona end 12-year drought after blanking Cavalier in Under-17 final

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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Real Mona FC ended a 12-year trophy drought when they blanked Cavalier FC 2-0 in the final of the KSAFA/Alliance MoneyGram Under-17 football final at Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the UWI, Mona on Saturday.

Goals in either half from Alex Spencer and Raphael Maxwell helped Real Mona pull off the win on the synthetic turf, where the final was being staged for the first time.

Cavalier looked the most likely team from the opening whistle, but were guilty of spurning quite a few chances and paid the price when Spencer scored in the 36th minute to give his team a 1-0 half-time lead.

It was more of the same at the start of the second half by the team clad in pink, and they were caught with a sucker punch in the 55th minute when Maxwell scored.

Despite playing with an under-strength team, as a number of their key players are away in Europe playing in the Gothia Cup, Cavalier grabbed the initiative early on. They experienced great joy down the left flank through enterprising play from Jean-Marc Gayle, who gave right back Maxwell a hard time.

However, for all their early dominance Cavalier were unable to breach a determined Real Mona defence.

The Alfred Nelson-coached team slowly clawed their way into the game and thought they had taken the lead when their captain Duncan McKenzie controlled nicely on his chest and stroked the ball home past Ricardo Watson in the Cavalier goal. Their joy was short-lived, however, as the goal was ruled out for offside.

Moments later, Spencer made no mistake as he fired home to give the team in red the one-goal half-time advantage.

Ten minutes into the second half, Maxwell, who is the grandson of former Reggae Boyz Coach Geoffery Maxwell, headed home from a corner kick to double his team's advantage and take the sting out of his opponents.

Cavalier continued to create chances, with Gayle being the main point of attack, but strong rear guard action by Mona ensured they kept a clean sheet on their way to the win.

Nelson, who has been at the helm of the youth programme at the club for quite a while, said the win was good reward for their persistence over the years.

“We are very proud, we have been working hard. We have quite a few Under-15 [players] in the programme so it was good [to win], we have been working. For years we have been using the same group to play Under-17, so the reward is good,” he said.

Nelson revealed that he had asked his boys to play on the counter in the second half and try to pick off their opponents, which they virtually did.

“We asked them to play stout, stand up, and let them come to us and then we see what we can intercept. Cavalier is a quality team so we expected [them to create chances],” he ended.


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