Tatum leads Athletic up the table

Stephen Tatum (file photo) scored both goals.

In a week when the sports pages have been dominated with the news Liverpool’s legendary captain Steven Gerrard has hung up his boots and retired from playing football, it was fitting that a captain who shares the same name should grab the headlines in the Cayman Premier League.

Two second half goals from Stephen Tatum secured the win for Cayman Athletic against a plucky Latinos eleven on Sunday (November 27).

Granted, George Town Annex is not quite Istanbul’s Ataturk Stadium nor the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, scenes of two of Gerrard’s more memorable displays, but the performance of Tatum would have certainly been given the nod of approval by the former England international.

And not just because of the goals scored, the first a well struck free kick from the edge of the box, and the second a coolly dispatched penalty with seven minutes to go.

A captain’s role in the team goes above and beyond scoring the vital goals to turn a game around. He should be a leader, an influence and, as was the case Sunday, a cool head.

With the scores one a piece, Athletic could, and probably should, have been reduced to 10 men, which would have clearly had a huge impact on the remainder of this fixture.

Midfielder Kyle Santamaria packs bundles of ability and was a constant threat as Athletic chased the game, after going one down on seven minutes when Brian Scott pounced on a loose Robert Levy clearance in Athletic’s net.

But despite his talent, Santamaria can let his emotions get the better of him as has been shown on a few occasions this season. Booked once for descent, he would have talked his way into a second yellow had it not been for Tatum telling his team mate in no uncertain terms that enough was enough.

Players may not agree with the officials’ decision, and referees do make mistakes, but whatever the man in the middle decides, it’s the players’ role to accept and move on, not to argue and curse as was the case Sunday.

But when Latinos Marvel Moore Hyde handled inside his own box on 83 minutes, there was little room for argument and the referee rightly pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Tatum. Many times for Liverpool, and latterly at LA Galaxy, Steven Gerrard has delivered from 12 yards with the pressure was on. So too did Athletics own Captain Fantastic Stephen Tatum.

After a disappointing start that saw five loses on the trot, that’s now two wins in back-to-back weeks for Athletic, who finally move off the bottom of the table and are now ahead of Roma United and Sunset.

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