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Paget First Division champions as Wolves miss out on promotion

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Paget Lions pick up the First Division Trophy (Photograph by Ras Mykkal)
Antwan Russell rounds Wolves goalkeeper (Photograph by Ras Mykkal)

Wolves 1 Paget 2

A sea of black, gold and green engulfed Wellington Oval yesterday after Paget Lions held off a fightback by ten-men Wolves to clinch the First Division title on the final day of the season as their opponents missed out on promotion.

First half strikes from Aquino Grant and player-coach Antwan Russell earned the visitors a 2-0 cushion at half time. Troy Tucker pulled one back for Wolves near the hour mark to make things interesting but their task became harder when midfielder Keemo Smith was sent off in the 70th minute after picking up a second yellow card.

Despite being at a numerical disadvantage, Wolves created chances to level but Paget held on to clinch the the coveted league and Shield double.

“It’s surreal at the moment. We set out to be promoted and winning the league was just a bonus,” an elated Paget player-coach Russell said. “Obviously this is my first year coaching, so to win two trophies my first time, you couldn’t ask for anything more.

“It was a collective effort and credit to the guys for sticking it out all season.”

Rakeem DeShields, the Paget captain, attributed the team’s success to a commitment and determination to persevere through adversity.

“It feels amazing to come back from not having a team two years ago, to having trouble fielding a team last year to coming and winning two trophies the following year,” he said.

Paget Lions pose with their trophy

“It shows a lot of determination by everybody involved, from the players to the community, and feels good to put some joy back into the neighbourhood with everything that the community has been going through.”

Paget went close on three occasions before midfielder Grant made the breakthrough in the 24th minute. Striker Russell intercepted a poor backpass and squared the ball to Grant, who beat Wolves goalkeeper Reid Trott at the near post.

Russell then went from provider to scorer nine minutes later when he ran on to midfielder Dion Stovell’s defence-splitting pass and slotted into the far bottom corner from an angle.

Stovell went close to scoring when his shot from inside the area struck the near post before Paget’s momentum was interrupted when defender Koshun Durrant took a blow to the head and was replaced two minutes before the interval.

Paget started the second period on the front foot but were made to rue squandered opportunities when midfielder Tucker nodded in striker Sergio Richardson’s cross from the right side in the 52nd minute.

With their tails now up, Wolves pressed on in search of more goals with Paget goalkeeper Chiquon Smith being called into action to gather Richardson’s dangerous free-kick in heavy traffic before rushing off his line to beat substitute Antinori Butterfield to a through pass in the area.

Wolves’ spirited rally suffered a massive setback when Smith received his marching orders after picking up a second booking for unsportsmanlike conduct and Paget nearly capitalised on their numerical advantage when defender Shakir Smith dragged wide and then had another effort brilliantly saved by Trott before the final whistle blew to spark the away side’s wild celebrations around the ground.

“The plan today was to simply use Wolves’s energy against them,” Russell explained. “We knew how they were going to come out and have a neighbourhood behind them just as we do, so today was just about being aggressive but in control at all moments of the game.”

DeShields was delighted to see he and his team-mates execute their game plan.

“We came with a game plan and we executed it against the conditions and an opposition who was up for the game as well,” he said.

“We were able to settle and do what we needed to do and not get frustrated. Games go back and forth, so for a period we had to dig deep and see it out, and we managed to do that. I think a lot the experience that we have also showed today.”

The defeat meant Wolves were pipped by Young Men’s Social Club for the remaining promotion spot.

“I think we started off a little slow but as the game progressed we picked it up,” Wolves’ assistant coach Marcelos Thomas said. “We made a couple of mistakes but it happens, that’s football.

“We tried to fight for it but it was unfortunate some of the calls by the officials. I thought that it was a harsh sending off, but we held it together and tried to get something out of the game.”


Wolves: T Tucker, 52

Paget Lions: A Grant, 24; A Russell 33


Wolves (3-5-2): R Trott 7 – L Paynter 6, A Brangman 6, A Samuels 6- O Smith 6, J Davis 6 (sub: A Butterfield, 61min 6), T Tucker 7 (sub: S Wild, 90) M Ming 6, K Smith 6- K Brangman 6 (sub: A Evans, 86), S Richardson 6 (sub: T Robinson, 90). Booked: K Smith. Sent off: K Smith. Substitutes not used: K Smith, Q Simmons.

Paget Lions (4-5-1): C Smith 7 – S Smith 7, J Carpenter 7, R Richardson 7, K Durrant 7 (sub: K Simons, 43 7)- P Castle 7, R DeShields 7, M Burch 7, A Grant 7 (sub: K Hypolite, 67 7), D Stovell 7 – A Russell 7 (sub: O Tucker, 89). Booked: S Smith. Substitutes not used: Z Weller, M Wade, W Sinclair, D Zuill Jr

Referee: J Evens (Bahamas).

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Published March 27, 2023 at 7:00 am (Updated March 27, 2023 at 8:04 am)

Paget First Division champions as Wolves miss out on promotion

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