Boulevard edge BAA to seal promotion in tense contest
BAA 2 Boulevard 3
Tears were flowing last night in the Boulevard camp as the Blazers came from a goal down at half-time to defeat BAA at Goose Gosling Field in an emotionally-charged match to claim the second promotion spot.
Tre Burgess’s 35-minute goal separated the teams in the first half as BAA went into the break well in control with only a draw required to seal promotion and join Hamilton Parish in the top flight next season.
However, things would change in the second half when Boulevard got themselves back in contention seven minutes after the restart when Taiquan Davis scored past Dashun Cooper with a near post header from a Zico Stovell corner on the left.
Boulevard’s confidence was boosted even further midway through the second half when substitute Sergio Woolridge converted a cross into the box following a corner from the right side, to put Boulevard in front for the first time. Woolridge had come on in the 24th minute for the injured Takeyhi Walker Samuels.
Cooper made an important block with his legs to a shot from Ian Coke as Boulevard kept on the pressure.
Boulevard had an injury scare when Coke, took a blow to the back but their captain was able to continue after treatment.
Two goals in the last two minutes set up a dramatic finish, with Boulevard extending their lead to 3-1 in the 88th minute when defender Anthony Williams-Smith jumped above the BAA defence to head home from a corner on the right.
However, Patrick Quinn of BAA gave themselves a flicker of hope with a goal in the 90th minute when he steered the ball past the Boulevard goalkeeper Azir Harvey with his thigh after a long ball into the box.
That would be BAA’s last opportunity in the game as their chance for promotion expired with a reversal of the first match between the sides, which also finished 3-2 with BAA winning that one in November.
Six players were booked on the night, all in the second half, as emotions ran high.
Ian Coke and Nico Smith of Boulevard and BAA’s Calum Maule and Matthew Lampit were all booked by referee Tashun Simons in the 90th minute during a tense finish.
Boulevard coach Malcolm Hewey was obviously thrilled with the outcome.
“It has definitely been a long season, faced with all the things that have been happening in the community,” said Hewey.
“It is definitely a blessing to be finally promoted, other people before me have tried and tried. I must admit it has been hard, I wanted to quit in the middle but I stuck it out and the boys have done well. I can’t be more proud of them.
“They stayed true to the principles that I asked, even though it was a fight. I told them if they keep fighting the rewards are there for them.”
Hewey added: “We always knew we could beat this team. Even when we played them the first time they caught us on the night of the home-going service for Jahtino Richardson-Martin, a very good friend of theirs, and then they came to play football and it was a total mess.”
The Dandy Town player died in a road accident on November 3.
Boulevard still have something else to play for with a Shield semi-final against Young Men’s Social Club coming up on Thursday. The other semi-final between Wolves and Parish will be played on Wednesday.
“Our ultimate goal was promotion and that was what we were looking for this season,” Hewey said. “We take on Social Club at Devonshire Rec on Thursday so definitely we have something else to play for.”
∎ Ireland Rangers were awarded the points from their match with Vasco scheduled for Saturday at Somerset after Vasco failed to field a team and forfeited the match.
BAA: T Burgess 35, P Quinn 90
Boulevard: T Davis 52, S Woolridge 66, A Williams-Smith 88