Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Green’s double powers Hillstars to Manchester Major League title

Published:Tuesday | April 7, 2015 | 12:00 AMRichard Bryan

Hillstars FC from the Cobbla region of North East Manchester won the 2015 Manchester Major League, following a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Downs at Kirkvine Sports Club on Easter Sunday.

The Major League win earned them in excess of $200,000 courtesy of joint sponsors Captain's Bakery & Grill and Charley's JB Overproof Rum, and a spanking newly designed trophy. They also became the first team to qualify for the regional play-offs in the South Central Confederation, which has provided them with a strategic view on the other three.

The South Central Confederation representatives from St Elizabeth and St Catherine will be known this coming weekend, when the Major League finals are played in those parishes. It will be another three weeks before the qualifier from Clarendon is known, as that parish began its competition late.

attractive midfield play

In the Manchester final, Hillstars found the going rough early when Downs sported more attractive midfield play and ran circles around them to duly open the scoring in the 22nd minute courtesy of their top player, Gary 'Gong' McDonald.

His celebration, in the form of taking off his jersey, got him into trouble, as he was shown what would later prove a costly yellow card by referee Keron Beezer.

Hillstars clawed their way back into the contest towards the end of the half, as Downs got tired and their free-flowing attacking game broke down. Delroy Johnson was sent through on goal via a beautiful through pass deep into the 18-yard area, and his pace made Downs pay as he earned the equaliser with a perfect finish in the 44th minute.

pivotal moment

The most pivotal moment in the game came seconds after the Hillstars equaliser, when McDonald, starved of the ball, came back to help his team in defence and committed to a sliding tackle, which gave him a deserving caution. A second yellow meant his automatic dismissal and, as he trudged off, so appeared his team's chances of winning the title.

Hillstars exploited the one-man advantage, and Jermaine Green scored the first of his two second-half strikes in the 53rd minute to make it 2-1.

Downs competed well, but were held at bay by a disciplined Hillstars team, marshalled by their captain and goalkeeper, Simon Lawrence.

Green's second goal, to send Hillstars up 3-1 three minutes from time, effectively killed Down's spirit and resistance.