Pleasantville Secondary handed South Zone Championship division winners Moruga Secondary their first defeat of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) season, winning 3-0 on penalties in the Coca-Cola Intercol South Zone quarterfinal.
In the second match, Presentation College (San Fernando) also advanced to the semi-finals with a routine 2-0 win over Point Fortin East Secondary, thanks to goals from Jardel Sinclair and Ackeel Jacob.
Pleasantville will now face defending champions Naparima College in the South Zone semifinal from 1.30pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on Tuesday 19 November, while Presentation tackle St Benedict’s College from 3.30pm at the same venue.
In other Intercol news, St Anthony’s College routed Tranquility Secondary 8-1 in the North Zone quarterfinal round with former National Under-17 Team attacker Jean-Heim McFee scoring five times, while a Zion McLeod double steered East Mucurapo Secondary to a 2-0 win over Fatima College.
At Marabella today, Moruga tasted their first defeat for the season after an 11-game unbeaten run. The South Zone Championship winners have already secured their promotion to the Premier Division, via the Big 5 competition, and have already shown that they will not be pushovers.
Pleasantville coach Kyle Small was not happy with his charges.
“It’s a good feeling [to win],” said Small, “but the performance leading up to the feeling? It wasn’t so good. The performance … very, very poor. We had better games this season.”
Moruga coach Kempton Duval said the match was disappointing, but not too much.
“From the beginning of the season, we had one goal in mind, that was to qualify for the Premiership for the 2020 season. And it was even better for us because we had another incentive: one of our players, Christon ‘Ding’ Guevarro, passed away in a vehicular accident, so this season was dedicated to him.”
In the early parts of the match, both teams struggled to settle on an uncomfortably humid afternoon in Marabella. Concentration levels were already dipping minutes after kick-off as they each fought for a chance to take on Naparima College in the semis.
In the 14th minute, Moruga’s Joshua Kesney reached a long ball over the defence before the keeper, but his headed effort dropped into touch.
At the other end, his opposite number had a similarly gilt-edged chance, and while his lobbed effort was closer, it did not change the score.
Moruga has always had hard-fighting teams, however, with a renewed focus on fitness, possession and a more patient build-up, the coaching staff have managed to refine the football significantly. But it was ‘P’ville’ who broke the deadlock when Theon Marcano found a pocket of space in the box to apply an emphatic finish, 1-0 after 30 minutes.
Two minutes later, Dillon Yearwood took his time with the ball and delivered a cross that was begging to be hit. Ephraim Brown arrived late in the Moruga area, and his flicked header was a whisker away from making it 2-0.
Some adults high in the stands wondered aloud if this was the Moruga everyone was talking about all season.
As if they heard on the pitch, Moruga shot back. Against the run of play, Mont Zion Bain equalised when Brown fluffed his lines at last stopper, allowing the Moruga centre-forward to cut past the keeper and roll the ball into a vacant net, evening the score to 1-1 after 37 minutes.
Duval said the 1.30pm kick-off affected his players: “The conditions had a lot to do with [our performance]. It was the first game we played in these conditions, but at the end of the day, what the league provides is what we deal with,” he said. ‘We have had a hard Big 5 campaign, so we were a bit fatigued at the same time also.”
P’ville had their own challenges.
Small explained: “For the past week, we had guys missing training with the flu, so the full team wasn’t in training since we played our last Premier Division game to now. So today, half of the squad was Under-16 players mixed with the senior players who were in training.”
P’ville enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession at the start of the second half, though it appeared that Moruga was inviting the pressure, encouraging the top three of Bain, captain Matthew Lee Cummings and Joshua Kesney to break on the counter.
Midway through the half, neither side was on top; both teams appeared well-matched, having quality players throughout each squad. Moruga’s multicultural riddim section played a rapid tassa beat to spur them on, but they could not muster the energy. The teams were deadlocked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time, and penalties would have to separate them.
In the nail-biting conclusion to the first match of the doubleheader, all three Moruga kickers missed the mark. After Dillon Yearwood missed the first kick of the shoot-out, P’ville’s Cameron Orosco, Miguel Cedeno and Ephraim Brown all put their efforts in the back of the net to send their team through.
Like P’ville before them, it is going to be a season of convincing the rest of the country that the southernmost team in the Premier Division belongs in the upper reaches of school’s football, a task they look ready to meet with gusto.
Duval said after the match: “Our season in the Intercol is finished now, but we have one more Big 5 match and we want to win it entirely. We want to be National Big 5 Champions, that’s our next goal.
“We started our programme late this year, so we’ll be starting very early next year. … Things are being put in place now in the school so we will be a bit better prepared.”
The second match of the doubleheader mirrored the tempo of the first. Presentation, coming off an intense title chase, and Point Fortin, a month away from their last competitive game, laboured to a conclusion.
It was a dour first half, during which ‘Pres’ attacked constantly and Point Fortin dutifully repelled every foray. Their inexperience showed when in the 53rd, Jaiye ‘Sheppy’ Sheppard was hacked down in the area, chasing a lost cause. Jardel Sinclair took a one-step penalty to make it 1-0 after 54 minutes.
Point lacked the bite and sharpness to equalise and was on the back foot for extended periods of the match. Pres pressed their possession upfield through Jason Browne, Mickail Jackson, Abiola Aziz and Kareme Bedeau, who conducted their business in the midfield with efficiency against a less-organised but valiant Point Fortin midfield cohort.
Pres wrapped the victory up with a fortunate second that drew relieved cheers from their supporters and a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that the keeper should be credited with the goal. Ackeel Jacob’s shot was too hot to handle for Isiah Bermudez, who had been solid between the sticks up to that point.
After the match, the Presentation coach Shawn Cooper rated the performance as ‘not bad’.
“We know what to expect when you play teams that are going to come very hard,” he said. “We have a lot of players from Point Fortin so there was that internal rivalry that had an effect earlier in the game.”
|Presentation College (San Fernando)||Point Fortin East Secondary|
Jardel Sinclair 52 pen, Ackeel Jacob 79
At Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella
|Presentation College (San Fernando)||Point Fortin East Secondary|
Jardel Sinclair 52 pen, Ackeel Jacob 79
|At Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella|
Cooper added: “We were hoping to score more goals, but we had an objective to keep a lot of possession and create goal-scoring opportunities. All in all, we were successful in doing that. We continue to work, but we have some guys who came down with the flu, so we are trying to manage that.”
Pleasantville Secondary (4-3-3): 1.Raheem Lee (GK); 23.Cameron Orosco, 8.Ephraim Brown, 4.Joshua Cooper, 6.Miguel Cedeno; 14.Dillion Yearwood, 2.Mark Hernandez, 21.Sherwin Andrews; 19.Felix Lewis, 9.Jaelle Sutherland, 18.Theon Marcano.
Substitutes: 12.Nikoli Mendoza, 20. Emanuel Mohammed, 10.Tishawn Lawson, 13.Hezron Matthews, 22.Shaun Hanif, 7.Che Jones, 3.Andre Delpini, 17.Trevin Augustin.
Coach: Kyle Small
Moruga Secondary (4-3-3): 1.Tishawn Ragoo (GK); 8.Jeremy Steeling, 4.Kaylon Ayers, 3.Dwight Douglas, 6.Omari Khan; 15.Tyrique Lucas, 12.Rundel Hamilton, 14.Kevin Steeling; 9.Joshua Kesney, 11.Mont Zion Bain, 7.Matthew Lee Cummings (C).
Substitutes: 10.Jeremiah John, 5.Elel Edwards, 2.Jonathan Edwards, 18.Tyrel Thompson, 17.Devin Arrindel, 16.Akeem Arrindel, 13.Damon Lafortune.
Head Coach: Kempton Duval
Presentation College San Fernando (4-4-2): 1.Isiah Williams; 2.Nigel Caraby, 3.Luke Charles, 5.Justin Cornwall, 12.Markus Mason; 11.Adica Ash; 10.Ackeel Jacob, 15.Aleem Barclay (Captain), 7.Acelino Medford, 9.Jaiye Sheppard 16.Jardel Sinclair.
Substitutes: 22.Jerelle Thorne (GK), 13.Dantaye Gilbert, 8. Tyrell Granger, 14.Kassidy Davidson, 23.Shay Wiltshire, 20.Naeem Bisnath.
Coach: Shawn Cooper
Point Fortin East Secondary (4-3-3): 1.Isiah Bermudez (GK); 3.Roshawn Aberdeen, 7.Josiah Burke, 4.Israel Gabriel (Captain), 16.Curt Fortune; 17.Kemuel Farrel, 14.Abiola Aziz, 5.Justin Peters; 8.Dwante Gibbs, 15.Kareme Bedeau 19.Raesean Paul.
Subs: 20.Floyd David, 10.Mickail Jackson, 12.Alecquay Andrews, 11.Sean Mitchell, 9.Jason Browne, 6.Jeriel Richards, 18.Curt Fortune.
Head Coach: Sheldon Bridgeman
Tuesday 12 November
Pleasantville 1 (Theon Marcano 30), Moruga Secondary 1 (Mont Zion Bain 37) at Mannie Ramjohn;
*—Pleasantville won 3-0 on kicks from the penalty mark;
Presentation College (San F’do) 2 (Jardel Sinclair 52 pen, Ackeel Jacob 79), Point Fortin East Secondary 0 at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
East Mucurapo Secondary 2 (Zion McLeod ), Fatima College 0 at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
St Anthony’s College 8 (Jean-Heim McFee , Kiran Manswell, Sowarde Prieto, Kaihim Thomas), Tranquility Secondary 1 (Jaheim Ashby) at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
Signal Hill Secondary 1, Pentecostal L&L 1 at Plymouth;
*—Signal Hill won 3-2 on kicks from the penalty mark;
Scarborough Secondary 1, Bishop’s High 0 at Plymouth.
Upcoming Intercol fixtures
Wednesday 13 November
Chaguanas North v Miracles Ministries, 3pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Carapichaima East v Couva East Secondary, 5pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Thursday 14 November
San Juan North v Manzanilla Secondary, 1.30pm, Larry Gomes Stadium;
St Augustine Secondary v Trinity College East, 3.30pm, Larry Gomes Stadium;
(Girls Central Semifinals)
Holy Faith v Miracle Ministries, 3pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Carapichaima East v Chaguanas North, 5pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
(Girls North Semifinals)
Bishop Anstey (POS) v Tranquility Secondary, 3.30pm, Westmoorings;
Holy Name v St Joseph’s Convent/Diego Martin Central, 3.30pm, Mucurapo Road;
(Girls South Semifinals)
Fyzabad Secondary v Fyzabad Anglican Secondary, 1.30pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
Pleasantville Secondary v Pt Fortin East, 3.30pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
(Girls Tobago Semifinals)
Signal Hill v Scarborough Secondary, 1.30pm, TBD;
Speyside High v Bishop’s High, 3.30pm, TBD.
Friday 15 November
St Anthony’s College v Malick Secondary, 3.30pm, Serpentine Road;
East Mucurapo v St Mary’s College, 3.30pm, Mucurapo Road;
(Girls East Semifinals)
Five Rivers v San Juan North, 3.30pm, St Augustine;
El Dorado East v Bishop Anstey, 3.30pm, San Juan.