IT’S Vieux Fort South again as the curtains came down on the 16th edition of the Blackheart Production Knockout Football finals sanctioned by the Saint Lucia Football Association. With a crowd close to 7000 spectators, VFS created history by becoming the first team ever to win the tournament for three consecutive years, as much as Laborie were eyeing the championship and the $30,000 at stake for the first time.
The finals started with a tribute to a woman who contributed so much to the sport of football, JeffaBelase, who by all reports was an integral part in the success of VFS for over 10 years. Belase also served on the national scene with the SLFA, managing the national youth female teams; she also managed VFS senior men’s team to two Blackheart back to back titles 2016-2017.
On the square, from the very first whistle from Referee Andrew Phiilip, both teams came out firing at each other as they made their intention clear with some accurate passes and defensive play as well.
VFS was forced to make at least three tactical changes one being captain Jamil Joseph in defense. Joseph coming back from an injury he sustained against Central Castries in the semifinal; the Laborie right attacking players made life somewhat difficult for him as the surface appeared to be a lot faster this time around.
VFS had their chances as they created numerous scoring opportunities but it must be noted that goal keeper VenceAgdomar of Laborie saved the day for his team in the first 20 minutes of play; but on the counter Laborie went through Vieux Fort South’s defense to put one at the back of the net only to find the assistant referee flag up, off side being the call.
Twelve minutes later the Laborie fans had something to cheer about as Darrel Francis opened the scoring in the 32nd minute of play to put them ahead 1-0 and to enjoy the halftime advantage as no further goal was scored.
On the resumption, it was all to play for, as some hefty bets were being made by supporters from both teams as to who will win.
Second half started slightly different for both teams Laborie; coach Daniel Cassius, still pretty young in the business, decided to change their tactic around and went into a more defensive play with four players getting to the ball at all times, shutting out VFS in all facets on the square.
VFS too made a few tactical changes for the second time in the encounter; Jamil Joseph taken from right back to centre forward. Laborie’s key player Dornan Edward had to be substituted in the 37th minute of play due an injury caused by SarnSavery, replacing him was No. 19 Jovon Steven.
It was all downhill for Laborie in the 60th minute, when VFS was awarded a corner which captain Jamil Joseph’s made no mistake leveling the scoreline 1-1, certainly a sigh of relief for the VFS supporters.
VFS took the lead in the 69th minute of play with an own goal by VenceAgdomar (custodian) after a poor clearance by Joven Stephen. Agdomar made the first save but dropped the ball in his own goal. With time against them and one goal down the Laborie team at that point had no choice but to press for the equalizer.
There was more celebration to come for the VFS team and their supporters as Barnard Edward playing in the centre back position scored from over 45 yards out with a long range kick that eluded the Laborie goalkeeper over his head in the 80th minute to make it 3-1.
VFS was not done with their scoring spree as Antonius Meyers made it 4-1 to seal the deal in the 90+2 minute added and win the championship for the third consecutive time.
In the third place silverware, Central Castries defeated Dennery 1-0 goal scored by Jason Similien in the 117th minute of play. The scores were nil all after regulation time.