A jubilant Empire celebrate their victory and capture of the Division One title last night.
It was final day drama in the Division One League last night across the island with two teams battling for the title, three teams battling for two playoff spots and two teams playing each other to avoid the relegation zone.
When the dust cleared at Passage Road Empire’s Xavier Duncan chose the right night to have the game of his life as he bagged four goals in their 7-0 hammering of Sunrise FC for them to be crowned champions.
Porey Spring and Empire went into the final round of games level on points at the top but Porey Spring held the lead with a superior goal difference of one more. Empire needed to win by a two-goal margin greater than Porey Spring.
It was never going to be easy for Porey Spring as they came up against a fit BDF team who were in with a mathematical chance of qualifying for the playoffs against the relegated Premier League teams.
Porey Spring struck first to lead the Soldiers in the first half. As the news got to Passage Road where Empire was playing, the nerves were far from settled as they were finding it difficult to score against a stubborn 9-man Sunrise team.
|Xavier Duncan handed Empire the Division One title by scoring four goals.
Midfield Xavier Duncan was the man of the night however netting two before half time to send the Bank Hall “Blues” level on points and goal difference at the break. Coach Fitzgerald Carter’s half time talk seemingly did the trick because as early as three minutes into the second half Empire were up 3-0 compliments of Duncan again. Meanwhile at the Astroturf the BDF had equalized against Porey Spring. This put Empire in pole position for the title.
The pressure was proving to be too much for Porey Spring and the BDF snatched the lead from the St. Thomas lads. Empire on the other hand had turned on the after burners on Sunrise and quickly racked up a 7-0 lead with Duncan scoring another two in the second half.
Empire could celebrate as Porey Spring were held to a 2-2 draw after pulling back a goal before the final whistle. Empire are the Division One champions and will be joined by Porey Spring in the Premier League next year.
Silver Sands defeated Youth Milan 1-0 at Checker Hall and held on to their spot in the play-offs for a chance in the Premier League in 2018. Had they lost, a BDF win could have knocked them out of contention. They settled for third place with Youth Milan in fourth. Both will play the two relegated Premier League teams for a berth in the Premier League next year.
Pinelands despite picking up three points from Road View ended up in the relegation zone in eleventh place along with Parish Land in twelfth position. Parish Land lost to Pride of Gall Hill 4-1. In the cellar position is Road View. These three teams still stand a chance to remain in Division One if they could defeat the second placed teams from the three Division two zones.
With the new 2018 format the Premier League will be expanded to 12 teams in two zones. The first and second placed teams in the Division One are automatically promoted while the third and fourth placed teams will play the two demoted Premier League teams to determine the next two teams in Premier League.
Similarly the Division One will be expanded to 14 teams in two zones. The three teams which came first from each zone are promoted. The three second placed teams will play-off against the three demoted teams from Division One for the final three places in Division One.
See the final standings here