ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda Football Association First Division champions Celtics FC celebrated promotion to the top level even though they were held to a goalless draw by Freemansville in their final match of the season.
Villa Lions and Ottos Rangers, on the other hand, had victories in their final matches over Bethesda and Lion Hill, respectively.
Playing at Antigua Recreation Grounds in a triple-header which should have brought the curtain down on the First Division competition, Villa Lions beat Bethesda, 2-1.
Shevon Phillip and Michael Roberts scored for Villa Lions in the 17th and 19th minutes, respectively, while Kerry Quinland scored for Bethesda from the penalty spot in the 55th minute.
In the second match of the day, Ottos Rangers had to come from behind to beat Lion Hill, 3-1. O’Neal Browne scored for Lion Hill in the 15th minute, but Rangers hit back with goals from Oslyn Benjamin in the 24th, Semo Livingstone in the 30th, and Zena Francis in the 55th minute to give them victory.
In the final match played, Celtics, although going into the match already declared as First Division champions, drew with Freemansville. It was a very important match for Freemansville who only needed a point to avoid the First and Second Division teams playoff.
As a result of Sunday’s matches, Villa Lions ended their First Division campaign on 39 points, while Ottos Rangers ended on 38 points.
Both teams will now go into a playoff with Bassa the eighth placed team in Premier Division to decide a third team demotion or promotion.
Freemansville avoided the playoff with the one point earned.
Bethesda, meanwhile, will have to go in the First and Second Division teams playoff with the 20th and 21st placed teams in Second Division which is still to be decided.
Freemansville ended their First Division campaign on 25 points, narrowly edging out Bethesda who ended on 24 points.
Last season’s teams promoted to First Division – Lion Hill who ended on 12 points and Guydadli Travelers on 16 points with a match to play – have been demoted to Second Division.
Celtics who ended on 45 points and Fort Road who ended on 42 points gained automatic promotion to Premier Division for emerging first and second, respectively.