St Augustine Secondary continued their brilliant run of form in the 2015 SSFL season as the Michael Grayson-led team beat Five Rivers Secondary 2-0 at the Larry Gomes Stadium yesterday to lift the East Zone Intercol title.
The “Green Machine” have not tasted defeat since going under to two-time Premier Division champions Naparima College on October 10th and the St Augustine schoolboys have since racked up 25 goals in the process.
So much for inspiration.
“After losing to Naparima we won all the games and there has been a huge improvement,” Grayson told Wired868. “The Naparima game showed us that we could really play here, even though we lost 3-1.”
There is definitely no shame in losing to a champion team and the Five Rivers Secondary players must now dust themselves off after suffering such a fate. After all, the Championship Division team had conquered Brent Sam and his San Juan North teammates in order to dance with the Green Machine in the East Intercol final.
“Five Rivers defeated San Juan so that means they have something about them,” said Grayson. “And they didn’t do a bad game at all.”
The Five Rivers players—particularly Dominic Douglas—looked up for the contest as they kept St Augustine at arms-length for much of the encounter. Green Machine skipper Joshua Marshall was in a no-nonsense mood at the back though, so things were never going to be easy for Douglas and company in the final third.
“The captain (Marshall) played a big part (in St Augustine’s revival) too because he is a real driving force,” said the St Augustine coach. “He hasn’t missed a session at all since pre-season.”
Douglas and fellow attackers Brandon La Croix and Ronaldo Boyce were probably wishing that Marshall was less dedicated, as the burly centre-half combined with defensive partner Zion Holder to snuff out most of the threats that Five Rivers created.
The Green Machine shaded the opening stages of the game and took the lead through winger Kenton James in the 24th minute, after he swept home a precise, right side cross by forward Isaiah Lee.
Playmakers Tyriq Alexander and Jesse Joseph faced good opposition in the middle of the park as Five Rivers midfielders Ronaldo Castillo and Allando Samuel proved to be full of running.
Lee spurned a chance to put St Augustine two-nil up in first half stoppage time, as he delayed his shot just long enough for defender Tafari Clement to make a last-ditch tackle.
It was more of the same for Lee early in the second half as he had two close range shots charged down inside the area in the 55th minute.
The Five Rivers cheerleaders sensed that their schoolmates were beginning to wilt on the field and they raised the decibels of their chant. They seemed to inspire Douglas, who dropped deeper and deeper to try and spread his influence on the game.
Five Rivers were finally getting a semblance of momentum when they had their progress abruptly impeded once more by the combination of Lee and James. The tricky James broke free on a counter attack and wriggled away from several Five Rivers defenders in the final third before finding Lee, who was brought down by Clement just inside the box in the 76th minute.
The dead ball specialist, Joseph ,then sweetly dispatched the penalty past Fivers Rivers captain Watson and into the roof of the net.
Douglas was determined to get his team back in the game though and he danced past three St Augustine players near half line only to be stopped by an excellent sliding tackle.
Five Rivers were guilty of not committing too many bodies forward though and most of their shooting opportunities came from long range. Castillo brought the best out of Green Machine custodian Yannic Gamaldo with a thumping 36-yard hit in the 89th minute while La Croix shot over from just outside the area deep into second half stoppage time.
Lee had another opportunity to get his name on the score sheet in stoppage time as well but his ferocious volley cannoned off the crossbar before being cleared away from danger.
The final blow of referee Keon Yorke’s whistle signalled some tears from Douglas and some teammates while Marshall and his Green Machine marched on to receive their prized Coca Cola East Zone Intercol trophy.
St Augustine (4-2-3-1): 1.Yannic Gamaldo (GK); 27.Rayhan Phillip, 3.Zion Holder, 5.Joshua Marshall (captain), 11.Kendell Borneo; 4.Ainsworth Grant, 8.Jesse Joseph; 19.Kenton James, 14.Tyriq Alexander (Dike Wilson 85), 9.Anthony Samuel (10.Moses Jaikeran 88); 7.Isaiah Lee.
Unused Substitutes: 13.Darrian Parks, 21.Akeem Hosten, 23.Kendell Hitlal, 25.Allan Hogan, 28.Jhavon Peters.
Coach: Michael Grayson
Five Rivers (4-2-1-3): 1.Javaughn Watson (GK) (captain); 2.Elijah Barbour (19.Darius Baptiste 48), 3.Myokoba James, 11.Tafari Clement, 5.Elair Brewster; 8.Allando Samuel, 6.Ronaldo Castillo (21.Kerlon St Bernard 90+1); Cordell Alfred; 10.Dominic Douglas, 15.Kobe Smith (9.Ronaldo Boyce 43), 12.Brandon La Croix.
Unused Substitutes: 4.David Pascall, 7.Zidane Liverpool.
Coach: Anthony Castillo
Referee: Keon Yorke
Man of the Match: Joshua Marshall (St Augustine Secondary)
East Zone Intercol Final
(Wednesday 18th November)
St Augustine 2 (Kenton James 24, Jesse Joseph 76), Five Rivers Secondary 0, Larry Gomes Stadium;
North Zone Intercol Final
(Thursday 19th November)
St Mary’s College v St Anthony’s College, Hasely Crawford Stadium.