North Zone Intercol winners St Anthony’s College completely dominated Tobago Zone champions Speyside High in a 4-0 thrashing in the Coca Cola Intercol quarter-final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Tuesday.
The scoreline, bad as it was, flattered the Tobago outfit. St Anthony’s semi-final opponent, Presentation College (San Fernando), who finally overcame arch-rivals Naparima College in the South Zone final, may well need to be on their A-game to thwart the charge of the ‘Westmoorings Tigers’.
The two will face each other on Friday from 5pm in the second of the two semi-final matches at the Ato Boldon Stadium. In the first, East Zone winners San Juan North Secondary will come up against the victors of the Central Zone, Carapichaima East Secondary, from 3pm.
Back in September, the Tigers tore Speyside apart in a 7-1 mauling at their den in Westmoorings. In that game, Kaihim Thomas proved to have the biggest appetite for goals in the blistering 36-degree heat.
Today, in a gloomy, overcast Port of Spain, Thomas showed he was a man on a mission yet again. To say that he and St Anthony’s sent Speyside packing back to Tobago might be a harsh, but accurate, assessment of the Tigers’ dominance.
With two minutes on the clock, Thomas weaved his way to the byline and passed to Kiron Manswell, who nonchalantly flicked the ball into the net to open the scoring.
The next 25 minutes went: St Anthony’s attacker down a wing, cuts back to a teammate, chance put wide, repeat. By the half-hour mark, the Tigers should have been well out of sight and on their way to matching the seven goals from earlier in the season, but the ball refused to go in for the usually potent front three.[sports-match template=”logos” match=”58076″]
Zion Williams and Manswell seemed to be playing hot potato on the wet surface, with each creating carbon copy chances for each other, only for the other to put the shot wide.
Thomas then put his unmarked header from point-blank range agonisingly wide before Williams raced beyond the defence, for what seemed like the 100th time, only to throw his hands up into the air in disappointment as his shot thumped off the post.
Midfielder Jean-Heim McFee, clearly disgruntled with the litany of wasted chances, decided to take matters into his own hands and slammed a shot that skidded off the slick surface and into the bottom corner.
Three minutes later, Thomas once again reminded everyone of his prowess over a dead ball. In September’s 7-1 dismantling, his first goal was a 30-yard free kick, and he repeated the trick in front of the sprinkling of supporters who braved the weather.
The ball arched and then dipped in below the crossbar in what is now a trademark shot for the young attacker.
Speyside coach Kerd McKenzie bemoaned his team’s decision-making that made their own trouble.
“In the free kick, they know that the number seven [Thomas] can kick the football, and they still give it up,” said Mc Kenzie. “We had a poor start to the game.”
“We didn’t come out and try to match St Anthony’s foot-to-foot. It didn’t work out as it is. We came out second half, started well, but we end up back in the same position that we were in in the first half.”
After the interval, the ‘Country Boys’ did increase their intensity, but even in two-on-one situations, Anthony’s got the better of them time and time again.
Twice in quick succession, Speyside goalkeeper Kehdary Daniel had to produce smart saves to his left to preserve the scoreline.
In the latter attempt, Thomas once again whipped in an inviting cross that the towering McFee charged at. He hit his header into the ground, but before it could nestle into the corner, Daniel’s left hand denied him a second goal.
St Anthony’s played with their food a bit as the game sauntered to a close. Their foot off the pedal allowed Speyside’s Adriel George a rare chance at goal. Breaking free on the right, he hit a drive that tested the hands of keeper Josiah Perez’s palms for the first time in the game.
It proved to be the wake-up call that the Tigers needed. In the next attack, substitute Kai Phillip drove a feed from Thomas into the roof of the net to round off the comprehensive victory with a fourth goal.
“I came in as the coach for the last six games, so I wasn’t there when [Speyside] played St Anthony’s [in the regular season]. So I don’t know if that caused a basic error in mentality in the game,” McKenzie told Wired868 after the game.
He added: “But as I said, we in the Premiership for next season so I have to work on these areas fast. Time has come to an end in the Big 5 Intercol, so I hope next year we can come out and do better.”
On the other end, St Anthony’s coach Roland Daniel was focused and said while his team is looking forward to the next game, they were on a mission to qualify for the National Intercol Finals.
Up next, we see who the king of the jungle in the semis will be: the Westmoorings Tigers or the Pres Lions.
St Anthony’s College (4-3-3): 1.Josiah Perez (GK); 14.Randy Antoine, 16.Jordan Barclay (C), 4.Ian Cowie, 3.Malachai Daniel;13.Quinn Frederick, 12.Sowande Prieto, 8.Jean-Heim McFee (21.Kaiell George); 9.Zion Williams, 11.Kiron Manswell (19.Kai Phillip), 7.Kaihim Thomas.
Unused Substitutes: 5.Trent Weekes, 6.Shurland Augustine, 17.Omari Wiltshire, 20.Real Gill, 28. Darius Douglas.
Head Coach: Roland Daniel
Speyside High School (4-2-3-1): 22.Kehdary Daniel (GK); 18.Kiyel Dalrymple (3.Ronaldo Alleyne), 8.Jonathan Thomas (C), 12.Dionys Carrington, 5.Jeheili Frank; 17.Kern McDonald, 6.Deleon Beckles; 14.Roberto Johnson (13.Moses Bernard), 10.Adriel George, 11.C’el Toppin (20.Kael Moore); 7.Nicholas Sanchez.
Unused Substitutes: 1.Kehdany Alleyne (GK), 21.Tyshawn Gray.
Head Coach: Kerd Mc Kenzie
Man of the Match: Kaihim Thomas (St Anthony’s College)
National Intercol Quarterfinal result
(Tuesday 26 November)
St Anthony’s College 4 (Kiron Manswell 2, Jean-Heim McFee 29, Kaihim Thomas 32, Kai Phillip 81) Speyside High 0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium