The Men’s Borderland Soccer Association has crowned a new champion for the second-straight year.
Gillons’ Insurance, considered the underdog heading into Sunday’s final at the St. Francis pitch, netted a pair of first-half goals en route to a 3-0 win over Tagg’s to capture the title.
Gillons’, sporting three of the league’s top-five goal scorers during the regular season, grabbed an early lead when Chuck Arpin Jr.’s shot beat Greg Wiedenhoeft around the 15-minute mark.
Steve Keesic, who finished second to teammate Stopa Bosko in league scoring with 10 goals, then made it 2-0 with about 10 minutes left before halftime.
Jason Kabel made it 3-0 in the second half when a Tagg’s defender inadvertently scored on his own net.
Gillons’ then relied on defence the rest of the way, content on protecting their three-goal margin against the pressure of the Tagg’s forwards.
Sunday’s loss seemed like deja vu for Tagg’s (formerly known as Witherspoon’s), who were upset 2-0 by Nova in last year’s final. This year’s setback also was considered a surprise because Tagg’s had finished the regular season in first place (11-1-4) while Gillons’ was a distant third (6-6-4).
But while Tagg’s had their share of chances to score, they couldn’t beat Gillons’ keeper Bill Daley, who was flawless--particularly early in the second half--in earning the shutout.
"They [Tagg’s] were easily the favourites but we just played sound defensively," said Daley, adding Gillons’ (formerly known as MacDonald Motors) hasn’t won the local soccer crown since their back-to-back championships in 1991-92.
"Our goal was to play for the tie and then score a goal off a break," he noted.
"If you know the history of Gillons’, you know we always stress defence," echoed veteran co-captain Paul Redford.
"We knew going in we were playing against a very good team but you have to remember their two losses in the last two years were against us," he added.
Still, it was a frustrating loss for Tagg’s.
"I don’t know what happened, nothing went right for us," said Tagg’s forward Paul Danku. "Once they got up on us, they sat back. We had quite a few chances but we couldn’t score.
"Their second goal [late in the half] was huge," he added.
Tagg’s had reached the final with a 4-0 victory over Nova last Wednesday night, earning a bye into the final.
Gillons’ had to beat ITS 1-0 last Wednesday, then knock off Nova 6-4 on penalty kicks the following night, to earn a berth against Tagg’s in the final.