A sterling display by 2014 Coca Cola National Intercol winner Kathon St Hillaire ensured that Nigel Grosvenor’s “Westmoorings Tigers” roared past St Mary’s College to lift the North Zone Intercol trophy at the Hasely Crawford Stadium yesterday.
St Hillaire—who lifted the National Intercol title with Mucurapo East Secondary last year—continued his love affair with the prestigious school knockout competition as he tormented CIC left-back Joshua Joseph all game en route to helping his team to a 3-1 win.
“Kathon is a super player,” St Mary’s coach Ryan Shim told Wired868. “I saw him for Mucurapo last year in the National Intercol final and he was super then and he has come on leaps and bounds since.”
The speedy winger left his mark on the game in the second half as he created the Tigers second goal in the 58th minute before clinically clinching the win in the penultimate minute of regular time.
“When (St Hillaire) has the ball at his feet he is in control, so it’s difficult to keep a player like that down for 90 minutes,” said Shim.
The knockout final was a stark contrast to the Premier Division meeting between the “Saints” when the Tigers were thoroughly humbled by a vicious, counter-attacking CIC team.
“You could see that St Anthony’s shifted their team around a bit early in the season and I think we caught them in a situation where they had a few key players missing through injury as well,” Shim said.
St Mary’s could not repeat the Premier Division script yesterday though as they wasted some good chances and the Tigers were not in a lenient mood.
St Hillaire and fellow attacker Shakeem Patrick looked menacing in the early stages and CIC midfielders Bryant Van Low and Samuel Affonso seemed powerless when confronted by the duo’s dangerous deep runs.
The first real clear-cut chance fell to the boys from Frederick Street in the 15th minute though, as midfielder Aaron Skeene found himself with goalkeeper Jabari Brice and the goal at his mercy, after an inopportune slip by Tigers skipper Simon Joseph just outside the penalty area.
However, Skeene fluffed his lines, as he dragged his right-footed shot well wide.
Skeene gave Brice some more palpitations, mere seconds later, as the giant St Anthony’s custodian fumbled the midfielder’s left-sided free kick.
The first half was nothing short of electric and there were numerous openings for both teams, as St Hillaire and Patrick sliced through the CIC defence while opposing playmaker Ethan Shim tried to exploit the Tigers high back line with deep lofted passes from midfield.
Skeene was the beneficiary of another glorious opportunity in the 26th minute but, this time, his goal bound effort was spectacularly cleared off the line by St Anthony’s left-back Jediael Harewood.
CIC custodian Khristopher Donaldson was finally called into action three minutes before half time, as he spectacularly stopped a curling free kick by Joseph.
But, soon after the resumption, Donaldson was made to pick the ball out of his net as St Anthony’s defender Brent Joel bundled in a Jodel Brown free kick from close range.
The diminutive Brown then worked a clever one-two with St Hillaire in the 58th minute before the ex-Mucurapo schoolboy blew by Joseph (J)—not for the first time—and delivered a dangerous, low cross which CIC right-back Nathan Harte turned into his own goal.
“I think we were hanging on a bit in the first ten to fifteen minutes as we tried to get a foothold back in the game,” said Shim. “And eventually the pressure got to us a bit.”
St Anthony’s seemed to be sauntering away with the trophy thereafter but a determined Shim (E) provided a nervy end for the Tigers. The CIC attacker, who wore the number 19 jersey this season to commemorate the passing of his grandmother on November 19 last year, put his team on the board in the 83rd minute as he chased a seemingly lost cause before pouncing on another fumble by Brice.
St Mary’s were within one goal with just seven minutes of regular time left.
But Emilio Saunders did not help his teammates though, when he was ejected for his second bookable offence just two minutes after the Shim item.
Substitutes Tyrese Spicer and Daniel Conocchiari nearly combined to give St Mary’s an equaliser but the latter agonisingly failed to make connection at the far post.
And the relentless St Hillaire put St Mary’s and their rowdy rhythm section out of their misery in the 89th minute, as he took a clever Patrick through ball in stride before slamming a right-footed shot past Donaldson and into the far corner.
The Tigers, who stuttered out of the blocks at the start of the SSFL season, are North Zone Intercol champs once again.
“I am really elated because this is our first trophy in a long, long while,” St Anthony’s coach Nigel Grosvenor told Wired868.
“We started off slowly but we built as the season went along. It was all about getting the right players on the field and getting the boys to gel, and now we are playing some good football.”
Grosvenor and his Tigers will now await the Central Intercol winners before they go on the prowl in the 2015 Coca Cola National Intercol semi-finals.
St Mary’s College (4-2-3-1): 1.Khristopher Donaldson (GK); 21.Nathan Harte, 4.Jerome Dempster-Babb (captain), 3.Emilio Saunders, 18.Joshua Joseph; 11.Bryant Van Low (36.Tyrese Spicer 72), 6.Samuel Affonso; 10.Aaron Skeene (8.Daniel Conocchiari 55), 7.Matthaeus Granger, 19.Ethan Shim; 9.Chinua Bernard.
Unused Substitutes: 25.Nicholas Ramdin (GK), 12.Siddiq Manzano, 13.Nicholas Emmanuel.
Coach: Ryan Shim
St Anthony’s College (4-1-2-3): 1.Jabari Brice(GK); 20.Brent Joel, 18.Simon Joseph (captain), 15.Nicholas Moyou, 12.Jediael Harewood; 14.Nicaya Mahon; 19.Andrew Rullow, 5.Jodel Brown (8.Jules Lee 63); 7.Kathon St Hillaire (13.Shem Clauzel 90+2), 9.Shakeem Patrick, 2.Tyrese Bailey (4.Haile Beckles 72).
Unused Substitutes: 22.Elijah Shade (GK), 11.Adriel Kerr, 21.Nkosi Salandy, 16.Gyasi Moore.
Coach: Nigel Grosvenor
Man of the Match: Kathon St Hillaire (St Anthony’s College)
North Zone Intercol final
(Thursday 19th November)
St Mary’s College 1 (Ethan Shim 83), St Anthony’s College 3 (Brent Joel 50, Nathan Harte 58 own goal, Kathon St Hillaire 89), Hasely Crawford;
South Zone Intercol final
(Friday 20th November)
Naparima College v Presentation College (San F’do), Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, 3:30 pm