There was something for everyone at Constantine Park in Macoya on Saturday when the 2017 Republic Bank National Youth League continued East Zone action in dusty, late dry season conditions.
The day’s menu included, as hors d’oeuvre, temperamental weather that changed as regularly as the substitutes who came onto the pitch throughout the day’s action—with the entrée being the heated Under-11 division, the side dish of a 4-0 rout in the U-15 section and, for dessert, a forfeited match.
In the early part of the day, there was also cloud cover for the most part while brief, intermittent drizzles helped to keep the conditions cooler than the previous week with the wind again blowing in from the East and making things more bearable for the spectators who would later prefer to take in the action from the shade.
“We getting everything today!” one parent quipped as smoke—presumably from a nearby bush fire—created a Sahara-like haze over the two pitches.
On the field of the play, however, the football flowed. In a match that didn’t look remotely as if it would produce a rout, the Police U-15 squad eventually showed that they meant business, putting four past their Defence Force counterparts. The game started with both teams on an equal footing and the ball being passed around in the middle of the park as if possession was more important than anything else.
It was 19 minutes before Shavurn Morris slotted the ball past Jason Farmer Jr in the SKHY goal to crack the door open for Police. Morris’ name would put his name on on the score sheet a second time, doubling the tally eight minutes later.
A minute later, Jaheem Williams lashed in the third, chesting down a pin-point cross just inside the left edge of the penalty area before side-footing his volley past the exposed Farmer Jr, who found himself badly out of position between the uprights.
Just before the interval, the police youths had a goal disallowed for a foul the official thought he saw but they weren’t finished just yet. They eventually increased their lead in the second half when Sadiki Solomon muscled his way through a disorganised defence before cracking home from close range. They then added the fifth goal in the 73rd minute.
SKHY, however, somehow contrived to keep their physically more imposing opponents at bay and the score at five despite the visible increase in the confidence of the young Police players.
Santa Rosa’s U-15s did not have to lift a finger–or a foot–to walk away with three points on the day; their opponents, Febeau, were reportedly unable to field a full team.
In the Under-11 division, SKHY found the going tough as well, playing to a goalless draw with Cunupia Extreme. The SKHY ball-playing midfield found it more than a bit challenging to break down the defence than was the case a week earlier against Malabar Young Stars.
Tau Lamsee, their two-goal hero in the win over Malabar, might have opened the scoring when he was put clean through on goal but a timely, crunching tackle stopped him in his tracks.
With space in the final third at a premium thanks to the close attention of the Cunupia defence, Lamsee would have a busy afternoon. He was not, however, short of support on or off the pitch.
“Now is the time to show your skill,” a vocal supporter shouted at him from the touchline. “Run off the ball and go into space!” Much easier said than done, Lamsee repeatedly discovered.
Solid at the back, Cunupia also countered with purpose. But in the end, the match essentially came down to a contest within a contest–Lamsee vs the Cunupia defence. There was one last crucial encounter in the dying minutes when the temporarily unmarked livewire forward collected a free kick in the area. Taking an extra touch, he fired off a shot that cannoned off the rump of a rapidly arriving Cunupia defender.
The scorers thus remained untroubled.
There was an individual battle of sorts in the Under-11 division as well. Given a very rough time by the Pinto opposition last week, Adrenaline FA’s Lu Ann Craig had something to prove when she stepped on the field against Febeau Government Primary School.
She produced a workmanlike, bruising performance of her own to notch an eighth-minute opener from close range. Kendall Castle then nodded past Stephon Langaigne in goal for Febeau before Michel Baptiste’s deflected volley put Febeau on the tins in the second half. Adrenaline, however, battled hard to hold on for their 2-1 win.
Earlier in the day, San Juan Jabloteh’s Under-11 squad also won 2-1 against an improved Malabar Young Stars team. With the score level at the half, Jabloteh were unrelenting in their search for the winner and got their reward when Lindell Sween scored from the spot after the referee punished Malabar for an infringement late in the match.
Police were not the only team dishing out footballing lessons, as the goals rained down in the other divisions as well. Malabar Young Stars cut loose in the Under-13 division to whip Adrenaline FA 7-0, thanks to a brace each from Syon Prospere and Joshua Ashing.
Jaydon Crichlow and Khaleem Prince also notched a brace apiece for Trincity Nationals, who also made a statement in the lively Under-11 division, beating Tunapuna Titans 5-0 in the opening match of the division.
2017 Republic Bank National Youth League scores
(Saturday 6 May)
East Zone at Constantine Park, Macoya
Tunapuna Titans 0, Trincity Nationals 5 (Jaydon Crichlow 2, Khaleem Prince 12, 30, Jeryl Hinkson 21, 38);
Malabar Young Stars 1 (Shakeem Jack 15), San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Raheem Mohan 39, Lindell Sween 45 pen);
Adrenaline FA 2 (Lu Ann Craig 8, Kendall Castle 18), Febeau Government Primary 1 (Michel Baptiste 46);
Cunupia Extreme 0, Defence Force 0.
Tunapuna Titans 3 (Adam Neptune 20, Kasiff Ravello 26, Moses Neptune 43), Maracas United 1 (Joshua Adams 46);
Santa Rosa 0, San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Lawrence Thomas 7);
Adrenaline FA 0, Malabar Young Stars 7 (Syon Prospere 14, 27, Joshua Ashing 22, 38, Isaiah Deeposingh 25, Shadrach Rambaransingh 35, Anthony Wells 48);
Trincity Nationals, Cunupia Extreme (To be rescheduled)
Cunupia Extreme 2 (Joshua Thompson 1, 38), Tunapuna Titans 2 (Kashiff Ravello 19, Kwame Logan 26);
Febeau Government 0, Santa Rosa FC 3 (Santa Rosa won by default as Febeau could not field a team)
Police FC 5 (Shavurn Morris 20, 28, Jaheim Williams 29, Sadiki Solomon 48, 73), Defence Force FC 0.