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Social Club and X-Roads promoted

Young Men's Social Club and X-Roads have clinched the two First Division promotion spots with three games to spare after 1-0 victories yesterday.

Social Club saw off a stubborn challenge from Wolves to win on Saki Tuzo's 72nd minute goal at Devonshire Rec while X-Roads beat fourth-placed St David's by the same scoreline at Garrison Field, where captain Jamin Furbert netted in the 75th minute.

Wolves had an equal share of the first-half possession and came close to taking the lead late in the first half when striker Marcus Ming put a free header over the bar from a good position inside the Social Club box after the ball had been flighted into the area from a free kick.

The match looked headed to a tense finish when a long ball forward saw Tuzo sprint away from the last Wolves defender before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Aaron Edness for the winner. Tuzo had another chance in extra time when Clay Darrell's through ball put him through on the right side. He cut in and drove a low shot that went inches wide of the far post.

Celebration greeted the final whistle moments later as Social Club ended 37 years outside the top division, following relegation back in 1980.

“I'd like to thank everybody, including my assistant coach Gary Augustus who has been sacrificing all week doing a coaching course,” said a relieved Quincy Paynter, the Social Club coach.

“The boys have sacrificed too, playing through injury and the loss of family members and friends and it has all come together nicely in the end for our collective sacrifices. I may be at the heart of the puzzle but everybody else around me helped make it complete. The puzzle has come together finally, with promotion.

“Over the summer we need to do a lot of work, especially with our transitions from defence to offence and we'll need to be quicker playing out of the back, something we'll need to do against the Premier Division teams.”

Added Paynter: “The spine of our team has been great, with Reid Trott in goal playing with a broken finger for two years, plus our two centre halls, Kelly [Francois] and Che [Woolridge] and Robert Richardson and Saki up front. Clay Darrell has also been great, playing in a variety of positions for us this season. Our captain Mike [Smith] also leads off the field and has a way of bringing the guys together.

“Our goal now is to win the league, we're still two points clear, and the other goal is to go undefeated. We want to carry that through to the last three games.”

X-Roads were scoring their winning goal around the same time in the match — after Jamin Furbert's 75th minute winner in a close 1-0 win at Garrison Field. The league's youngest club can now look forward to a season in the top flight next year.

“Absolutely, it's a big achievement for us, X-Roads have never played in the Premier Division,” said coach Farid El Karfa. “The team really showed a lot of character, a lot of discipline and a lot of fighting spirit and we deserve to have won and deserve to get promoted.

“I'm very happy with the team, it was a team effort. Our first objective was promotion, now we have to fight for the league title. It's still possible, we've been very steady and consistent with our performances and results and we deserve to compete for the title.”

St George's climbed back into third place on goal difference over St David's after a 12-1 thrashing of ten-men Southampton Rangers at Wellington Oval where Donavan Thompson scored five times to go with his four-goal return last weekend against Hamilton Parish.

Paget and BAA drew 1-1 while Hamilton Parish beat Ireland Rangers 4-2.

Getting his kicks: Social Club goalscorer Tuzo, left, beats Tory Davis, the Wolves player-coach, to the ball (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

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Published February 27, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 26, 2017 at 11:52 pm)

Social Club and X-Roads promoted

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