Pleasantville Secondary surged to the top of the 2018 Shell/First Citizens Bank Big 5 competition after a comprehensive 3-0 whipping of Holy Cross College at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella on Thursday.
Pleasantville, who are representing the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) South Zone, now sit at the top of the Big 5 table with 3 points after Chaguanas North and Malick Secondary drew 3-3 on Wednesday. The Tobago representative—either Speyside High School or Mason Hall Secondary—will be confirmed this weekend.
The top three teams in the Big 5 competition will be automatically promoted to the SSFL Premier Division for the 2019 season and Pleasantville was not about to leave matters to chance against an overpowered Holy Cross College outfit.
In a first half that lacked fluidity and quality, it took the hosts a bit of luck to gain the ascendency. Fortune certainly favoured Pleasantville wide man Cameron Orosco when his shot took a deflection before bouncing over Holy Cross custodian Dillon King and into the back of the net.
It should have been a regulation catch for the young goalkeeper but he hesitated, misjudged the bounce and was forced to pick the ball out of the back of his net.
It was the goal that Pleasantville’s head coach Kyle Small craved to settle his team’s opening round butterflies.
“We have been preparing a long time now for this and it’s here,” Small told Wired868. “I think the boys were nervous but as we got into the game, the nervousness went.”
Pleasantville continued to pour forward in the second half but it was Holy Cross who carved out the first real chance after the interval.
The diminutive Nicholas Collins played a clever through ball for his skipper Ackeem Mason to run into the channel. Mason cut back onto his favoured left foot but dragged his shot just wide of opposing captain Raheem Lee’s post.
It was one of the very few times that Lee was called upon on the day. Off the field, the Pleasantville goalkeeper is at the centre of a failed protest by Moruga Secondary—after he was allowed to play, as a Form Six student, with three CSEC passes and one CVQ pass.
SSFL general secretary Azaad Khan said the Credentials Committee ruled in favour of the custodian, although the body’s bylaws do not specifically reference CVQ passes for Form Six students.
Small declined comment but suggested that the affair left a bitter taste for him.
“I will leave that till the end of the Big 5 to comment on it because I have a statement to issue to all of the people,” said Small, “because there are people giving false information on Pleasantville Secondary; and when it comes to my school, I take it very personally.”
In today’s Big 5 contest, however, Small’s concerns lay at the other end of the field, as attackers Sherwin Andrews and Khadeem De Abreau squandered chance after chance against Holy Cross.
Small responded by sending on Hezron Matthews to finish off their East Zone guests. And that he did.
Man of the match Dillon Yearwood jinxed his way to the byline and pulled back for Matthews, who slammed into the top corner with one of his first touches of the ball.
Yearwood almost repeated the trick but, on the second attempt, substitute Jishawn Joefield hit his effort off the base of the post.
Pleasantville’s third goal was worth the wait, though, as Emmanuel Mohammed added gloss to the score line in spectacular fashion.
Holy Cross tried to clear their lines but the ball fell to Mohammed, 30 yards from goal. In retrospect, it definitely was not cleared far enough.
The midfielder took one touch before unleashing an unstoppable rocket into the top corner to shoot the Pleasantville supporters into euphoria.
It was a stunning goal and a warning shot to the rest of the Big 5 teams. “P-ville” are coming!
Pleasantville Secondary (4-3-3): 1.Raheem Lee (GK) (captain); 16.Makwesi Duson, 5.Mark Hernandez, 8.Epharaim Brown, 2.Turel Norton; 4.Emmanuel Mohammed, 14.Dillon Yearwood, 17.Alemo Sampson; 11.Sherwin Andrews (7.Hezron Matthews), 10.Khadeem De Abreau (12.Jishawn Joefield), 22.Cameron Orosco (19.Joshua Abuckle).
Unused Substitutes: 6.Miguel Cedeno, 9.Keston Archibald, 15.Jhaeem Harden, 21.Rushon Sandy.
Coach: Kyle Small
Holy Cross College (5-3-2): 23.Dillon King (GK); 7.Jemel Raymond, 16.Andrew Pereira, 8.Randy Antoine, 4.Giovann Valentine, 3.Atiba Delicia; 14.Stephano Boatswain, 6.Nicholas Collins (5.Akido Weekes), 13.Ja Shawn Thomas (9.Tyrece Guerra); 10.Daniel Warner (20.Gabriel Moore), 11.Ackeem Mason (captain).
Unused Substitutes: 15.Brian Bux, 17.Keiward Allen, 19.Kanye Baker, 21.Levi Davis.
Coach: Peter Lewis
Big Five results
(Wednesday 24 October)
Malick Secondary 3, Chaguanas North Secondary 3 at St Mary’s College;
(Thursday 25 October)
Pleasantville Secondary 3 (Cameron Orosco 28, Hezron Matthews 75, Emmanuel Mohammed 81), Holy Cross College 0 at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.
(Tuesday 30 October)
Holy Cross College vs Chaguanas North Secondary, 3:30pm, Larry Gomes Stadium;
Malick Secondary vs Speyside/Mason Hall, 3:30pm, St Mary’s College;
Pleasantville Secondary are on a bye.
Girls’ Big 5 fixtures
(Thursday 25 October)
Bishop Anstey POS 2, Carapichaima East Secondary 4, Girls Quarters, 3:30pm, QRC;
(Sunday 28 October)
Signal Hill Secondary vs Five Rivers Sec/Bishop Anstey East, Girls Semis, 3:30pm, Tobago;
Pleasantville Secondary vs Carapichaima East Secondary, 3:30pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.