Scholars blank Elite to win Charity Shield

CIFA President Lee Ramoon presents Scholars captain Jermaine Brown with the Charity Shield plaque.

Reigning Premier League champions Scholars International picked up where they left off last season, winning the 2016 CIFA Men’s Charity Shield with a 2-0 win against Elite SC at the Ed Bush Sports Complex Sunday night.

Both teams opened the game tentatively, appearing to feel each other out in the early going in front of a crowd of about 300 spectators.

Elite forward Dwayne Wright had the first decent scoring chance of the game but tamely put the left-footed shot wide of the goal in the 6th minute. He squandered another opportunity two minutes later when he struck a free kick wide.

Rodrick Pearson failed to capitalise for Scholars in the 22nd, when he was presented with a one-on-one opportunity in front the Elite goal. James Ebanks also had a chance five minutes later but missed the mark.

Axel Dominguez had a diving header that would have broken the deadlock in the 32nd but it sailed over the crossbar. With three minutes to go before the half, Pearson collect the ball deep in his own half, slicing his way forward before finding Ebanks in the box but his shot was deflected by Danner Taylor in the Elite goal.

Howelle (7) opened the scoring for Scholars.

Howell (7) opened the scoring for Scholars.

The first half ended scoreless but that would change two minutes into the second frame, as Scholars came out on the attack. Central midfielder Damalay Howell drove a penalty kick low and to the right of Taylor to register the game’s first goal. A few minutes later, sloppy backfield passing by Elite presented a golden opportunity to Keigel Atkinson, who found the back of the net to put Scholars ahead 2-0.

Scholars keeper Jermaine Brown brought the crowd to life when he denied Wright from the spot and also kick-saved a rebound effort by Elite.

In a match marked by physical play by both sides, five yellow cards were issued by referee Emmanuel Brown. Two of those were given to Elite’s Christopher Reeves in the 58th and 68th, the second resulting in his sending off and putting his team one man down.

A few opportunities by both sides failed to make an impact on the score sheet.

rtm_4476The game had special meaning for Atkinson, who is entering his second season with the West Bay based club after transferring from Roma United. “Coming here and winning the league championship and now the [charity] shield, I’m feeling great,” he told reporters after the game.

The entire squad has the lofty goal of winning all the hardware this season and Howell said it’s a great start as they chase history. “We would like to win everything for the first time in history in Cayman. So, it’ a good beginning for us,” he said.

Scholars coach Collin Rowe described the win as a big step going into the season. However, he sees much room for improvement, particularly where it comes to fitness as a few of his players were cramping up.

“Preseason training wasn’t as good as previous seasons,” Rowe admitted. “They are not 100 percent fit as yet.” With big squad, he expects that not to be a major factor as they will rotate players into different positions.

The Cayman Islands Football Association said a portion of the proceeds from admission to the game will be donated to Meals on Wheels.



vs-43Scholars International: Keigel Atkinson, Jermaine Brown (capt/GK), Michael Brown, Jamar Dickens, Gabre Dickens, James Ebanks, Jorge Alexander, Jermaine Haughton, Damalay Howell, Rodrick Pearson, Mavnor Rodriguez Zuniga.

Elite SC Charity Shield

Elite SC: Benjamin Cupid, Axel Dominguez, Jed Ebanks, Christopher Reeves, Abijah Rivers, Wesley Robinson (capt), Raul Rodriguez, Danner Taylor (GK), Jameal Welcome, Jermaine Wilson, Dwayne Wright.

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