Blazers relegated, Rangers stay up
Southampton Rangers 0 Boulevard Blazers 0
Boulevard have been relegated to the First Division after failing to beat Southampton Rangers in a do-or-die match for both teams at Southampton Oval.
Rangers began yesterday level on points with Blazers but above them in the table courtesy of their superior goal difference, and required only point to preserve their top-flight status.
However, Blazers hopes of pulling off a Great Escape had been boosted following their recent wins against Robin Hood and St Davids, and they came agonisingly close to fulfilling their mission.
In the final few seconds substitute striker Temeiko Wilson struck a powerful header but watched in despair as a Rangers defender flung his body across the goal-line to deny Blazers what would have surely been the match winner.
Mel Gibbons, the Blazers midfielder, set the tone for the frantic affair, drawing first blood with a venomous strike from distance that cannoned off the Rangers crossbar before bouncing to safety.
Rangers were also showing plenty of attacking intent and went close to scoring the games opener when Adrian Burrows flashed a header wide from a dangerous Michael Williams cross.
Moments before the interval Rangers threatened again when veteran midfielder Travis Wilkinson was afforded too much time and space at the backpost, glancing his header inches wide.
After the break the end-to-end exchanges continued with Broadbelt saving from Rangers skipper Vernon Perinchief, and Wilkinson forcing a flying stop from Broadbelt who tipped the ball around the post.
Both sides then struck the woodwork in quick succession first Perinchief rattled the crossbar with a powerful effort from the edge of the area, and then Blazers striker Sergio Robinson struck the upright with a shot from an acute angle.
Blazers had further chances to find the winner with Robinson volleying straight at Rangers keeper Jason Smith, and Gibbons missing the target with a close range header.
Rangers caretaker coach Kwame Tucker admitted his heart was in his mouth during the tense finale which saw Wilsons goal-bound header cleared off the line in injury time.
Tucker only took hold of the coaching reins two weeks ago after his predecessor, Keith Jennings, received a ban from the Bermuda Football Association for threatening behaviour towards an official.
Im very relieved as it was a crucial game for us, and Im very proud of the players, he said. My heart was in my mouth a few times because Boulevard really came at us and we had to ease the pressure at times.
But hats off to the players because they gave a real team effort.
Tucker, a former national team cricketer, threw his hat into the ring for the vacant role after admitting he would be very interested in the Rangers job.
Its up to the club, they brought me in for the last few games. However, I would be very interested in the job for next season.
Southampton Rangers: J Smith, M Williams, K Simmons, M Burch, S Perinchief, T Wilkinson, V Perinchief, Y Bean, K Jones (C Castle, 76), A Burrows, R Lowe
Substitutes not used: K Astwood, C Castle, J Caisey, K Symonds, A Russell
Yellow card: S Perinchief
Boulevard: R Broadbelt, J Crockwell, R Wilson, A Foggo, A Gibbons, N Smith, R Burgess (S Furbert, 60), A Smith (C Trott, 67), M Gibbons, S Outerbridge, (T Wilson, 78) S Robinson
Substitutes not used: D Taylor, T Lowe
Referee: A Francis
Man of the match: M Gibbons (Blazers)
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