Ballers Eyeing Title
Female Blackbirds threaten NSC's reign 
After a fairly modest start to the 2014 Women’s League, UWI Women’s FC are beginning to impose themselves as real title contenders and a genuine threat to National Sports Council’s monopoly of the women’s crown. With an impressive 13 points gained from a maximum of 15 from their last 5 games, UWI sit pretty at the more favorable end of the table and look well set to push the title race into the final round of games.

After their comprehensive victory over Eden Stars, UWI had to mentally prepare to do battle with the champions and 1st placed team, the National Sports Council the following week. What was billed as a potential title decider certainly lived up to its hype in terms of the heated and competitive nature of the game but sadly, the many fans who turned up at Friendship were left with unfulfilled appetite as both these juggernauts failed to register any goals. NSC showed their technical prowess with slick passing and organized set pieces but UWI were determined not to be overpowered and also carved out some openings but ultimately it was not to be and both teams had to settle for a point.

With confidence flowing through their veins, UWI Women had to wait a fortnight to get at their next opponents, Mavericks, at the Emmerton ground. On a day where a total of 18 goals were scored in the other 2 fixtures on the cards, UWI did their best to add to that impressive statistic and enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 victory with first half goals from the in-form Coleen Johnson and Renasha Jones and the consolidating goal in the 87th minute by Cadijah Moore.

UWI’s next two games and ultimately victories were both decided by a single goal as the female Blackbirds began to grind out valuable victories to maintain their hot pursuit of the championship. In game #8, an expert hat trick by Coleen Johnson in the first half within 22 minutes set the tone for UWI’s evening but with Gabby Lopez converting a penalty after 32 minutes the job looked like it could yet become more troublesome. UWI tried to steady the tide and when Lopez again popped up to dispatch her free kick to make the score 3-2 in the 82nd, it required nerves of steel to see it through and UWI did just that, eventually hanging on for the 3 points. The subsequent game week, the Blackbirds won in dramatic fashion with two late goals to clinch a 2-1 victory over Genesis with their opponents leading for much of the contest.

It took another late goal to decide their 10th game against Eden Stars at Emmerton. Playing on Independence Day, the UWI Women showed incredible pride and industry in a busy 4-3 with sharpshooter Coleen Johnson scoring two gems in the 13th and 43rd minutes and Renasha Jones adding her name to the score sheet on the hour mark. Eden Stars managed to match UWI up until the late stages, courtesy of goals in the 26th, 30th and 83rd setting up a tense final 7 minutes plus stoppage time. It was bedlam in the 3rd minute of stoppage time when, after some intricate play from Johnson, Shonna Evelyn popped up to give UWI the lead and a precious three points, taking their current unbeaten run to seven games.

UWIFC sit third in the table on 22 points from their 10 games thus far with NSC not too far away in 1st on 25 points. It remains an extremely competitive and open league and UWI will be banking on a victory in the reverse fixture against the leaders to put them definitely in the driver’s seat to win the championship – exemplifying the very fine margins as we approach the climax leaving no team the room for any debacles.

By: Nicholas Maitland