Cavalier 3 - 0 Priory SA

A brace by Swayne Thomas has placed former Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) outfit Cavalier SC in pole position in the race for promotion to the nation's top-flight competition following a 3-0 beating of Priory SA in the JFF Magnum/Charley's JB Overproof Rum Premier League play-offs.

Thomas opened and closed the scoring in the 13th and 84th minutes, with substitute Ryan Miller (81st) getting the other in front of a moderate crowd at the Stadium East field yesterday.

The win placed the Corporate Area champions on four points, like Western Confederation champions Sandals South Coast, but with a slightly better goal difference.

Sandals South Coast got by South Central winners Rivoli United 2-1, courtesy of goals from Ron Daley (11th) and Junior Neil (58th), while Codean Smikle (20th) was the scorer for the losing team in the other encounter at Cros Lawn in Westmoreland.

Both Cavalier and Sandals South Coast are now set to square off in a top-of-the-table clash in Sunday's third set of games, while Rivoli United and Eastern Confederation champions Priory Soccer Academy from St Ann will meet in the other contest.

Unlike what they did on Sunday, Cavalier SC were slow out the blocks, as Priory SA looked very purposeful in the early exchanges and briefly worried their opponents' backline, but failed in their bid to break the deadlock.

The hosts gradually increased the tempo shortly after and grabbed the ascendancy when Thomas picked up a pass from Nicholas Hamilton and slotted past custodian Donovan Hinds in goal for Priory SA.

The score would remain unchanged at the break, as Cavalier failed to capitalise on their dominance in the attacking third, while at the other end, Prior SA relied on speculative efforts.

However, the St Ann-based team, formerly Volvo United, came alive on the resumption and applied consistent pressure, which saw them breaching Cavalier's defence on a number of occasions, but were denied by faulty shooting.

On the hour mark, Cavalier gradually broke free, but they too lacked composure in the final third.

It was not until the latter stages of the contest with the introduction of National Under-17 representative Kaheem Paris, as well as Ryan Miller, that they finally extended their lead with the Priory team seemingly running on fumes.

Miller was on hand to head home from close range, after goalkeeper Hinds failed to cleanly handle a cross from former St George's College stalwart Alex Marshall.

Priory responded with a last-ditch effort a minute later, but custodian Jeadine White, who was also a part of the National Under-17 set-up, threw himself to the left to parry a right-footed effort from substitute Romain Walsh.

Thomas returned to put the icing on the cake when he picked up a pass from Paris, before dismissing the hapless Hinds and rifling his shot into the top of the net.

Though pleased with the three points, Cavalier's Head Coach Rudolph Speid expressed disappointment with the overall display and demeanour of the team.

Well, first of all, we are pleased for the victory because the three points are what matters most, but I wasn't satisfied with the game. We were selfish in front of goal; we tried to score when we could have passed the ball and of course in a tight game it could be the only chance, so I'm not pleased about that, he told journalists in a post-game interview.

His counterpart Courtney Dodd felt his team failed to show when it really mattered most.

We played poorly today (yesterday); we didn't mark well and we didn't play well on a whole. We lacked concentration and fight was missing today. So we just have to rebound and come back for maximum points in the next game,” he lamented.
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