By Jay Mwamba
NYAC 5, St. Barnabas 1
New York Athletic Club accomplished a unique double in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League last Sunday by clinching both First Division and reserve titles with two victories over St. Barnabas at Travers Island.
The NYAC senior side thrashed the undermanned Saints 5-1 to bag their fifth championship crown in six years, while their second team triumphed 6-2 to claim their first reserve title.
"This was our toughest campaign in years. Every game was a battle for us, so it means a lot for the club and the players, " said NYAC President Jimmy Wurster.
St. Barnabas’ Aidan Dennis was gracious in defeat, doffing his hat to their rivals, who won while coach Ronan Downs was vacationing in Europe.
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"They’re a good team and deserved it. We have nothing to complain about," Dennis conceded.
The Saints were handicapped from kickoff when they had two field four reserves from the side beaten 6-2 in the first match on a humid and sweltering day.
Still, they were competitive for most of the opening half even while slipping to a two-goal deficit on strikes by Khouri Mullins and Chris Mitchell.
"We had our chances and they had their chances," Dennis said.
NYAC continued to make the most of their opportunities after the interval, running out to a 3-0 lead on Billy Cronin’s effort, before Tommy Whitty pulled one back for St. Barnabas.
But further goals by Greg Smalling and Ken Duck killed off the Saints.
"I’m relieved. It’s been a long season for us and we had lots of injuries," Wurster said after NYAC ended the season with 37 points, one more than second-place New York Hungaria.
Fourth-placed St. Barnabas (9-7-1, 28) still have a chance to finish third in the 10-club First Division if they win their final game against Fairfield/Westchester United in West Beach, Connecticut, this Sunday.