Bodden Town outduels Latinos, final with Scholars awaits

Bodden Town FC advanced to the final of the 2016-17 CIFA Men’s President’s Cup after a gripping second leg of their semi-final against Latinos FC that came down to penalty kicks on Sunday, 19 February. Also moving on are Scholars International, who got by Cayman Athletic.

(See video of shootout below)

After a 1-1 draw with Latinos FC a week earlier, Bodden Town came into the second leg without first choice keeper Ramon Sealy, who was travelling with the national cricket team. In stepped Jamie Johnson in his place, and he’d be called upon to save the day, literally.

The first moment of drama came in the 19th minute when Bodden Town midfielder Theron Wood made a hard tackle on Brian Scott. A shoving match ensued with referee Swason Owen being forced to quell the melee. In the end, Scott and his teammate Darvin Dixon were shown yellow cards, as was Bodden Town’s Karl Solomon.

Referee Swason Owen keeps the order.

Although the possession was battled for in the midfield, Johnson and his counterpart, Dereck Rivers, were called upon to make a save or two to keep the game scoreless after 45 minutes.

As the game entered the second half, the intensity built. A goal for either side could be the decider. Late in the second, Kyle Leon found Ricoh Brown about five yards in front the Latinos goal but the shot was high, much to the chagrin of Coach Elbert McLean and the Bodden Town faithful.

Latinos, too, had their chances but even after three minutes of injury time added, there was no separating the two sides. Two 15-minute extra time periods beckoned to decide who would advance to play on Ash Wednesday.

After more than 105 minutes, there was nothing. Then with Solomon and Latinos’ Clarence Johnson already picking up cautions, got booked again and with tired legs, both teams were down to 10 players. The second extra time period ended with the game still scoreless.

Jamie Johnson stepped in admirably for Ramon Sealy.

It was on to penalty kicks. Charlo McLean, Theron Wood and Andra Allen scored the first three for Bodden Town, while Nahun Rodriguez and Brian Scott found the back of the net for Latinos. But their second kicker, Jarol Smith, was denied by Johnson to give the side from the historic capital the early advantage.

Ricoh Brown, possibly with much to prove after his earlier miss, drilled it to the right of Rivers, who made the save to keep Latinos in the contest. Leonon Martinez converted his kick for Latinos and Danu Smith scored a fourth for Bodden Town.

If there was any event that could bring on heart palpitations this was it. Cesar Dixon stepped up with the pressure of keeping Latinos alive. The magnitude of the moment appeared to get to him as his shot was well high, triggering celebrations from the boys in purple. caught up with Johnson afterward about being called upon for such a big game. “I’ve been the veteran on the team, so it’s expected for me to come in and step up,” he said.

“We trained very hard for this and although I don’t play all the time, it’s my responsibility and duty to come off the bench and step up.”

He was full of praise for his teammates, who he said showed great determination, effort and persistence. “We kept going wave after wave. We didn’t get the goal but we expected them to stick it out for the draw but I was ready for the penalty shootout,” Johnson said.

The prolonged game meant Scholars and Cayman Athletic had to wait nearly an hour after their scheduled start for their kickoff to happen.

Scholars came in with the upper hand, having won the first leg 3-2. Much like the two teams earlier in the evening, finding the back of the net was a chore.

The challenge got harder for the defending Cayman Premier League champs when Michael Brown was shown a red card with about 35 minutes left but the rescue came from the boot of Rolly Bodden, as he has done all season, beating the keeper when his team needed him the most. The 75th minute goal sealed a spot in the finals on 1 March for Scholars.

Head Coach Colin ‘Dougie’ Rowe said while Scholars has some work still to do, they did well against the youthful Athletic side. “The first game, we did a casual game. The second game, we kind of stepped up the pace in terms of trying to get it right in every department and we pretty much got the job done,” he told

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