The 2016 / 17 National League kicked off in fine style on Sunday 18th, September, in front of a large crowd and two exciting matches on the A.O. Shirley Ground.
The first game saw two teams, Panthers F.C and Sugar Boys F.C. still rusty from pre-season, but playing entertaining football, in an encounter that for all the world seemed to be heading for a 0-0 stalemate, despite plenty of goal mouth action at either end.
As it was the game was decided in the 84th minute when a neat interchange of passing in the midfield released Derrol Redhead out wide on the right. His cross then fell invitingly for Roger Roberts to steer home the only goal of the game and secure all three points for the Virgin Gorda based outfit.
The first half had been all about missed opportunity with Redhead going close a couple of times and bringing out some acrobatic saves from Edgbert Isaac. Terrence Nanton also had a first time volley dealt with spectacularly by the keeper.
At the other end, Omar Williams was millimeters away from getting his head on a cross from Shamoy Thompson, who himself had a shot blocked by Leslie Ambrose in the Sugar Boys goal.
The second game of the night saw an equally pulsating end to end game between the Islanders F.C. and One Love F.C. which was narrowly won, 2-1 by the defending champions, the Islanders.
The opening goal was a well-directed header by Islanders midfielder Julian Davidson, who rose high at the far post to nod home a Fitzroy Daley corner in the 29th minute, the lead though was short lived as in the 43rd minute Howard Hemmings took advantage of some hesitant Islanders defending to control a loose ball in the box and curl a delightful shot past the helpless Montgomery Butler.
The second half had a few clear cut chances apart from a one on one save from Butler as Carl Stewart burst through on goal, until McTair James calmly curled in from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 Islanders in the 78th minute.
Nest Saturday, 24th September, the Wolues F.C. will play Old Madrid at 5pm, whilst at 7pm the Rebels F.C take on Virgin Gorda United. On Sunday 25th September, the Panthers face One Love F.C. at 5pm and then at 7pm, the Islanders F.C come up against the Sugar Boys, with all matches slated for the A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground.
The BVIFA National League is supported by Stag Beer, distributed in the Virgin Islands by Caribbean Cellars and FLOW.