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As the Men’s National League got underway on Saturday 15th October at East End / Long Look, One Love Utd laid down an early marker, beating Old Madrid FC 7-1, with Collin Lavia bagging a hat trick.

Deon Thompson netted the first goal of the new season, in just the 10th minute, but Kenmore Peters soon brought Old Madrid level hitting the back of the net in the 34th minute.

One Love were ahead again just before half time when Zeron Samuel made it 2-1 and the second half was one way traffic as One Love showed their intent to win the league again this season. Julian Davidson made it 3-1 in the 48th minute, Lavia netted his hat trick in the 49th, 56th and 67th minutes before Corie Chin made it 7-1 in the 89th minute.

“We were a bit rusty” noted Manager Marc Savage “before the game we spoke about letting the ball do the work as we were not as fit as we like to be but tried to force the pace in the first half. We settled down in the second half and dominated the game. Once we get our fitness levels back and work as a team then we will see how best we can go forward and maybe become Champions again. Overall, we played well, and teamwork makes the dream work”

On Sunday, over on the Virgin Gorda Recreation Ground, VG Utd and Rebels FC played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with all the goals coming in the first half.

Jamal Prentice scored in the 5th and 19th minutes to put Rebels into the ascendancy, but Sheldon Harry in the 31st and Jaden Abrams, direct from a free kick in the 41st put VG back on parity.

“It’s always a good game playing against a team that’s youthful like us” noted Rebels Manager, Audain Lenon “playing our first game of the season, sometimes we get nervous because we want to make sure that we do our best. We went up two goals to nil, but after our centre back went down to injury our opponents took advantage of the opportunity and equalized, but it is the first game and a lot of football to be played.”

Meanwhile, Coach Jermain Abrams of VG Utd was more philosophical and bemoaned the lack of clinical finishing from his team “we could have scored five” he said “having gone two goals down due to our own errors, we stayed composed and pulled back level before taking charge of the game in the second half. However, we just couldn’t capitalise on the opportunities we created and that’s something we will work on at training, and be ready for next week’s game against Old Madrid”

Back on Tortola and the FA’s soon to be National Stadium venue at East End / Long Look witnessed the Sugar Boys FC continuing where they left off last season with a hard-fought late show to run out 2-0 winners against Islanders FC. Derrol Redhead on hand in the 88th and 92nd minutes to secure all three points

“It’s always a tight game when we play Islanders” commented Redhead “it wasn’t the most exciting of games and we have room for improvements. Both teams had chances to score, but we eventually took ours and it’s good to come away with a win”

To round out the weekend, Panthers FC, missing last seasons Golden Boot winner, Wayne Phillips with a long-term Achilles tendon problem, still had enough to overcome One Caribbean FC, 2-1, with Horace Cole netting the winner in the 88th minute after Prevell Asson had cancelled out Martino Roiser’s 36th minute opener for One Caribbean.

“I could be out for the season” confirmed Phillips “but I’m still assisting and helping the team. We started a little slow but stuck to it and scored in the last few minutes. It’s good to start with a win and we will be getting our overseas based players back soon, so will be stronger as the season wears on”

The first week of action concludes on Wednesday 19th October, when Wolues FC face Lion Heart FC at the East End venue with a 7.30pm kick off