Celebrations muted as Village lift title
Devonshire Colts 0
North Village 0
North Village were ‘officially' crowned Premier Division champions amidst muted celebrations at Police Field yesterday.
A frustrating stalemate against basement dwellers Devonshire Colts was hardly the way Village would have wanted to win their first title since 2006.
But as coach Shaun Goater pointed out after the game, Village had earned the luxury of being able to play poorly and still finish top because of their consistent form throughout the season.
Although it was a far from vintage display from the new Premier Division champions, in truth the outcome of yesterday's league season finale mattered very little.
Village's astronomically superior goal difference had already ensured the title would be wending it way to Bernard Park at the final whistle, while Colts' First Division fate had been sealed long before their bellicose display.
For Goater it was his fourth piece of silverware since taking the reins at Village two-and-a half years ago. And with one game remaining this season (the Friendship final against Devonshire Cougars) he hopes Village will be able to “properly celebrate” their Premier Division title at the National Sports Centre next month.
“We wanted to entertain our fans but in the end we produced an ugly performance so we don't really feel like celebrating,” said Goater, whose team won the Dudley Eve trophy earlier this campaign.
“We needed a draw to finish with more points than any other team, so we've proven ourselves to be the best side in the division. We've got a bit of breathing space before the Friendship final and hopefully we will properly celebrate our title by winning the final.”
With the title already in the bag, Goater admitted it was difficult for his team to get motivated for yesterday's ‘dead rubber' knowing it was nigh on impossible for their nearest rival PHC to catch them.
“To be fair, the players have been superb this season,” he said, “their effort and dedication has been great.
“Sure, we would have liked to have ended the league season with a victory but the players put themselves into a situation where they could play poorly today and still win it.”
As a coach, Goater has already surpassed his achievements as a Village player where he failed to land the title during his two seasons with the club.
He said: “I'm pleased for myself because I want to do more as a coach than I did as a player.
“I never managed to win the Premier Division title during the two years I had at Village before I moved to the UK to play professionally, so this is a nice moment for me.”
Village made a sluggish start to yesterday's game and although they stepped things up a little in the second half they rarely threatened Colts keeper Greg Rose's goal.
In fact, it was the hosts who created the better scoring chances in the first period with Carlos Trott and Kyle Jones both forcing good saves from Village shot stopper Jason Williams.
Colts continued to cause Village's defence problems after the break with Bayon Robinson heading against the crossbar and Terry Foote having a long range shot cleared off the line by Shaun Fubler.
Running out of patience with his side's insipid showing, Goater threw on substitutes Tyrell Burgess, Jason Lee and Thomas Watson in an effort to inject some fizz into Village's flat performance.
It was Watson who recorded Village's first significant effort on goal with a thunderous volley for distance that was well saved by Rose midway through the second half. Burgess then tried his luck from long range with a strike that shaved the crossbar, while Lee had a chance for glory with a back post header from Ralph Bean's outswinging corner but failed to find the target.
In the end Village had to settle for a point safe in the knowledge that their endeavours earlier in the season had already ensured they would be toasting their title triumph last night regardless.
G Rose, C Durham, B Robinson, N Bascome, O Ray, T Foote, L Symonds, C Trott (C Miles, 82), Z Darrell (D Williams, 85), K Jones
Subs not used: I Khan
Yellow card: C Trott
North Village: J Williams, D Tankard, S Fubler, J Sousa, R Robinson (T Watson, 60, Kiawon Dill (T Burgess, 60), S DeGraff, K Arruda (J Lee, 70), T Manders, R Bean
Subs not used: A Lee, Kofi Dill, L Alexander, V Tankard
Referee: W Chapman
Man of the match: K Jones(Colts)