Bishop Anstey High School (Port of Spain) booked their maiden appearance in a Coca Cola Girls National Intercol final this afternoon, as they edged namesake Bishop Anstey High School East 1-0 in a bruising affair at the St Augustine Secondary school ground.
Forward Kiana Alexander got the decisive goal for the Port-on-Spain outfit in the 67th minute, as she squeezed a shot past East goalkeeper Malaika Dedier from close range before being promptly flattened for her troubles.
Alexander had to be helped to the sidelines by the team medic and never made it back on to the field. Arguably, it summed up the semi-final contest that might have been the fiercest battle between siblings since Cain and Abel.
“The two teams put out a good fight,” Bishop East coach Dwayne Davis told Wired868. “I guess the team that wanted it a little more came out victorious in the end.”
Bishop Port-of-Spain will now meet Pleasantville Secondary in the National Intercol final from 3.30pm on Monday at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Pleasantville head coach Joel Maloney and assistant coach Brian London were both in the stands at St Augustine this afternoon. And although Bishop Port-of-Spain do not possess an offensive weapon of the calibre of Carapichaima East Secondary attacker Afiyah Cornwall—who gave “P-ville” a fright before eventually being subdued in Wednesday’s semi-final contest—the North Zone champions have their own strengths.
Between the uprights, lanky Bishop Port-of-Spain custodian K’lil Keshwar looked virtually flawless, ably supported as she was by her central defensive pairing of Brittney Williams and Tracey Pollard and the hard-working midfield duo of Ranae Ward and Selene Smart.
Bishop East flanker Tyanna Williams can attest to the rugged nature of the opposing back four, as she huffed and puffed without ever getting a clear sight of goal, before a strong challenge from opposing midfielder Arissa Romany ended her on-the-field afternoon.
On the sidelines, the tears flowed freely down Tyanna’s face as she suffered the double whammy of the agony of defeat and the foot.
“The girls really came out strong for this game,” said Bishop Port-of-Spain head coach Brian Smith. “We called this game ‘BOB’—which was best of Bishops—and for us, it was really a fight. This is the first time we are getting the opportunity to play in a National Intercol final after we got to the semi-final last year; so it is a progression for us.”
Whereas Wednesday’s semi-final contest was illuminated by the individual ability of the Pleasantville pairing of Jasandra “Mama” Joseph and Aaliyah Pascall and the Carapichaima duo of Cornwall and Kya Edwards, today’s affair was more notable for solid organisation and stubborn defending.
Tyanna threatened down both flanks while Christi-Ann Wood and Jalene Sobers showed their quality in central midfield for the East Zone outfit. But, with striker Lillian Selvon missing through injury, Bishop East just could not engineer a way past the stubborn Pollard or the perceptive Williams.
At the other end, Ward looked a bright prospect in central midfield for Bishop Port-of-Spain while forward Chantal Murrell buzzed cleverly between the lines. But the East back four, protected by the deep-lying Wood, was not easily breached either.
Eventually a brief period of sustained pressure and a rare defensive lapse made the difference.
In the 66th minute, Dedier showed sharp reflexes, producing a double save to thwart Ward from close quarters. The subsequent corner was partially cleared too. But just seconds later, Jovannah Williams—converted from central defender owing to another East injury—failed to cut out a right-side cross from Leah Dos Santos and Alexander pounced, controlling the ball quickly before poking it beyond the opposing goalkeeper.
Dedier’s momentum took her into Alexander, though, and as the Bishop Port-of-Spain players pranced in celebration, the goal-scorer remained on the ground, hurt.
On the day, Alexander could not continue. But her school will progress in the National Intercol competition.
At the final whistle, Bishop Port-of-Spain players sang in unison:
“B-I-S-H-O-P-S… Bishops, Bishops, we’re the best!
“Call the linesman, call the ref; tell them that we come to sweat!”
As the Pleasantville coaches and a few of their players headed for the exit, a Bishop East player hobbled over to have a word with one of the southern visitors.
“I hope allyuh beat them,” she said, in a hushed, clipped tone.
There might be a need for additional medical staff for the next Best of Bishops derby.
Bishop Anstey High School (POS) (4-4-2): 1.K’lil Keshwar (GK); 2.Anna Blake, 18.Brittney Williams, 6.Tracey Pollard, 11.Maia Salandy; 7.Leah Dos Santos (captain), 10.Ranae Ward, 17.Selene Smart, 8.Arissa Romany; 14.Chantal Murrell, 9.Kiana Alexander (16.Joanna Kennedy 70).
Unused substitutes: 22.Kesi Bennett (GK), 21.Brianna Panteau, 19.Nia Thomas Brown, 4.Tianna Aming, 15.Raesa Ali, 12.Anais Ferguson.
Coach: Brian Smith
Bishop Anstey High School East (4-2-3-1): 1.Malaika Dedier (GK); 18.Shaian Balliram, 9.Jovanah Williams, 12.Glennel Hyacenth, 4.Alexandria Douglas; 14.Christi-Anne Wood, 19.Jalene Sobers; 11.Victoria Williams, 16.Sarah Guyadeen, 10.Tyanna Williams (3.Joleen Noreiga 75); 21.Sheridan Pollonais (8.Akia Morris 66).
Unused substitutes: 2.Latoya Paul, 13.Dalia Wilson, 17.Asianya Bruce, 20.Tinille Matthews, 23.Khaleeqa Garrett.
Coach: Dwayne Davis
Referee: Oswald Samuel
Wired868 Player-of-the-Match: Tracey Pollard (Bishop Anstey POS)
Coca Cola National Intercol results
(Thursday 30 November)[Boys semi-finals]
San Juan North Secondary 1 (Renaldo Boyce 54), Signal Hill Secondary 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Shiva Boys’ Hindu College 1 (Junior Asson 84), Carapichaima East Secondary 1 (Elijah King 23) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
*—Shiva Boys won 3-2 on kicks from the penalty spot;[Girls semi-finals]
Bishop Anstey East 0, Bishop Anstey (POS) 1 (Kiana Alexander 67) at St Augustine Secondary.
(Monday 4 December)
Pleasantville Secondary v Bishop Anstey (POS), 3pm, National Girls Intercol final, Ato Boldon Stadium;
San Juan North v Shiva Boys Hindu College, National Boys Intercol final, 5pm, Ato Boldon Stadium.