Social Club rally in second half to stun promoted Boulevard and reach Shield final
Boulevard 1 YMSC 2
Young Men’s Social Club followed the example set by Wolves on Wednesday night when they upset the favourites, Boulevard, at Devonshire Rec last night to reach the Shield final on April 24.
Boulevard were expected to meet Hamilton Parish, the First Division champions, in the final but Wolves, then Social Club, had other ideas as they produced upsets in the semi-finals to deny the two promoted sides a spot in the title match.
Even after Boulevard took the lead two minutes into first-half stoppage time, Social Club never looked a beaten side, showing tremendous character to turn the match around in the second half with goals in the 50th and 71st minutes through David Jones and Jinairo Johnson.
“I don’t feel like tonight was an upset, we took our chances,” said Michael Smith, the Social Club coach.
“We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game, Boulevard are a very talented team and that’s why they got promoted. We just knew if we stuck to our game plan, worked hard and put away our chances we would be there in the end.
“They had three chances and we had six, so it came down to putting the ball in the net. We know they are very good in and around the box, so our goal was to not give them opportunities around the box. We did and we got punished.”
Boulevard looked to be on their way to the final when centre back Anthony Williams-Smith put them in front when he went forward for a free kick and met Taiquan Davis’s ball into the box from the left side and side-footed his shot in at the far post.
That was all that could separate the teams in the first half, but Social Club came out with plenty of fight from the restart and were rewarded with the equaliser in the first few minutes, when Jones scored from close range after the Boulevard goalkeeper Azir Harvey made a save but dropped the ball, providing an opportunity for the midfielder about six yards out.
Social Club scored the winner midway through the half when Johnson scored with a header from a corner, triggering a frantic response from Boulevard as they tried to pull the goal back.
However, Social Club managed to soak up the pressure and kept their nerve in the process as Boulevard had midfielder Davis sent off two minutes into stoppage time for kicking the Social Club goalkeeper, Koshun Simmons, as frustration set in. Davis had received a yellow card in the 75th minute for reckless play.
Four other players were booked by referee Stefan Maybury, with Callon Woolridge and Kelvon Butterfield for Social Club and Zico Stovell and Williams-Smith for Boulevard going into the official’s book.
“We know every time we play Boulevard it’s going to be a hard game, always decided by one goal,” Smith said. “They beat us 2-1 the last time we played.”
Social Club beat Boulevard 3-2 in the league on New Year’s Day before Boulevard won the return fixture 2-1 on March 6.
Boulevard: Williams-Smith 45+2
Social Club: Jones 50, Johnson 71
Boulevard (4-4-2): A Harvey 6 – A Famous 6, A Williams-Smith 7, J Bailey 6, D Hendrickson 6 (sub: T Taylor 68min 6) – Z Stovell 6 (sub: N Augustus 80), T Davis 6, N Smith 6, T Walker 6 (sub: K Easton 68 6) – I Coke 6, S Woolridge 6. Substitutes not used: T Robinson, T Stovell, T Jefferis, K McQueen. Booked: Stovell, Williams-Smith, Davis. Sent off: Davis.
YMSC (4-3-3): K Simmons 7 – T Butterfield 7, K Butterfield 7, C Woolridge 7, Z Hendrickson 7 – N Williams 7, R Parris 6 (sub: S Jennings 68, 6), D Jones 7 – J Mallory 6, A Johnston 6, J Johnson 7. Substitutes not used: G Butterfield, J Lewis-Trott, J Richardson, K Simmons, M Young. Booked: Woolridge, K Butterfield.
Referee: S Maybury.