‘Red hot’ Academy win three on the trot

Academy SC are 3-0 in their last three Cayman Premier League outings.

Academy SC extended their run as the hottest team in the Cayman Premier League with their third straight win to take them to within a point of the league leaders after a tough 3-1 win over Sunset FC on 27 November.

It’s been said that beginnings and endings are only as closely related as you want them to be. That proved to be the case for Academy’s youthful side, who suited up against a much more physically imposing Sunset squad.

It took Sunset only seven minutes to find the back of the net, causing some of the spectators to wonder if another upset was on the cards after last week’s 4-2 stunner against Elite. Daniel James Smith scored for the second time in as many weeks when he beat Miguel Pitta with a bicycle kick after a scramble in front the Academy net. (see video below)

A pair of yellow cards came out, one for either side due to the physical aggression on display with hard tackles.

After appearing lacklustre for much of the first half, a flash of energy in the 33rd minute rewarded Academy when Logan Seymour made a good run down the right and equalized with a brilliant finish past Lee Parry.

The teams went to the changing rooms with the scoresheet showing 1-1. Jonah Ebanks ensured that would change four minutes into the second half, as Academy took a 2-1 lead they would not surrender.

Academy’s halftime team talk did the trick as they emerged tactically improved for the last 45.

“We spoke about tactically, how we solved the problem of us playing two in the middle and them playing three. So, once we solved that issue, how we took it forward and make it an advantage for us rather than a disadvantage, we solved that. We also spoke about the style of play that Sunset were really going for. They wanted a lot of free kicks. They wanted to be direct and aerial because of the physical presence that they had over us,” Academy coach Jack Brazil explained.

Ebanks stretched the lead in the 87th minute with his league leading sixth goal, when he was set up by his brother, Trey, who entered as a second half substitute.

Ebanks scored twice in the 27 Nov win against Sunset.

Ebanks scored twice in the 27 Nov win against Sunset.

“It felt as though the changes that we made: maintaining the ball on the floor, keeping good possession of the ball and pulling their players out of possession instead of us being pulled out of possession worked very, very positively…and we got the result we deserved,” Brazil said.

It was surprising both teams ended with 11 men on the pitch. Errant tackles and abusive language (the latter mainly from Sunset) toward the referee, who struggled to keep the game in check, were as constant as the nighttime breeze that blew across the West Bay field.

It’s been nearly a calendar month since Academy last lost (1-0 to Bodden Town) on 30 October. With three consecutive wins, the youthful squad has 15 points after week eight, one behind Elite and Bodden Town at the top of the Cayman Premier League standings.

“We’re only going to get stronger as the season goes on,” said Brazil. “We’re very, very young. We start 16 year-old Kion Parchmont and then we bring on 16 year-old Trey Ebanks. On the bench, we have a 17 year-old goalkeeper. We have very young players. So, the beautiful thing about us is that we’re only going to improve. As this season goes on, three in a row is something that we should expect to happen.”

The young coach added: “As long as we concentrate on our performances and improving our performances, as we are, the results will inevitably come, as they are right now.”

How good is this young side? They’ll get a chance to show it when they face Elite, who they lost to 4-1 during the second week of the season.

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