Scholars dominate Cayman Athletic

Rodrick Pearson (15) scored for the 2nd straight week.

Defending Cayman Premier League champions, Scholars International, easily beat Cayman Athletic at Ed Bush Sports Complex Sunday evening.

Scholars dominated possession through the first 20 minutes without any major threats to goal by either side, although Cayman Athletic pressed for opportunities.

The first spot of bother came in the 24th minute when Athletic keeper Shakur Welcome failed to make a clean save and an attempted clearance by a defender nearly resulted in what would have been a tragic own-goal but the ball was eventually cleared off the line.

Scholars went ahead in the 37th when Rodrick Pearson got in behind the defense and slotted it home, scoring in back-to-back games for the champs.

Cesar Fajardo had a good chance to double the lead about two minutes later but his shot from about 35 yards out was a little high.

Dwight Dunk attacks the goal.

Dwight Dunk attacks the goal.

Dwight Dunk, who also scored last week, added the second for Scholars five minutes before the break when he collected the ball near mid-pitch, dribbled past defenders and curled his shot past Welcome. The goal sent the West Bay crowd into frenzy and Dunk capped it off with a celebration punctuated with somersaults.

James “Paddy” Ebanks added a third seconds before the whistle signaling the end of the first half.

Emerging from the changing room, Scholars resumed attacking the goal as they did during the latter stages of the first half.  Ebanks showed intent with another credible attempt after a pass from Terrence Thomas, who was having a good game in midfield.

Carson Fagan gave Scholars a 4-0 lead a few minutes after entering as a substitute. He got the ball on a breakaway, shot it from the top of the 18-yard box and instantly knew it was a goal the moment it left his boot and lobbed over Welcome’s outstretched arms (see video below).

Scholars continued the attempt to increase their goal difference, knowing that may help at the end of the season, but that was not to be.

“It was a challenging game but we stuck to a plan and did what we planned in training,” Ebanks said of the result.

Cayman Athletic Technical Director Ernie “Gillie” Seymour noted his side played well for the first 25 minutes before losing the plot, having started younger players like Daniel Manderson and Sullivan Zeleya – from the national under-17 squad – in favour of older players.

Matthew Subberan was asked to do too much for Cayman Athletic.

Matthew Subberan was asked to do too much for Cayman Athletic.

Scholars International won for a second straight week after losing to Roma United in the opening week, then drawing with Sunset. “Things start picking up now. Everybody is gaining confidence and believing in the coaches,” Ebanks told after the game.

Next up for the 2015-16 titlists is a West Bay derby against Elite SC next Sunday at 7:00 p.m. at Ed Bush Sports Complex. Meantime, Cayman Athletic play under the lights at the Annex on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff against Sunset FC. The new initiative by CIFA to occasionally have games under the lights on Fridays is part of efforts to attract more fans to come out.

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