San Juan North Secondary attacker Tyrique Sutherland had 10 minutes to remember at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar this afternoon, as he came off the bench to dismantle a stubborn St Augustine Secondary team in the East Zone Intercol final.
By the final whistle, San Juan North had run up a 3-1 advantage and, in the process, their fourth straight zonal Intercol title. The boys from Bourg Mulatresse have won five of the six East Intercol trophies at stake since the Premier Division era kicked off in 2014.
St Augustine Secondary, incidentally, are the only other East Zone outfit to win a trophy during that period, which they managed in the 2015 season. But there would be no repeat this afternoon for the ‘Green Machine’.
Sutherland made sure of that. And the St Augustine father and son duo of head coach Trevor Spicer and star forward Tyrese Spicer might want to make sure the coast is clear to avoid ‘picong’ this weekend, since they live within walking distance of the San Juan student in Orange Grove, Tacarigua.
“Maybe if St Augustine put me in charge earlier, I could have gotten Sutherland here instead!” Trevor quipped.
After a lengthy spell as head coach at El Dorado Senior Comprehensive, Trevor left for St Mary’s College to work as assistant coach in 2014. Four years later, after head coach Ryan Shim was relieved of his job, he threw his hat in the ring. But the post went to former Strike Squad star and Defence Force coach Kerry Jamerson instead.
“I interviewed twice for the St Mary’s job and every time they asked me if I don’t get the job what I would do with Tyrese,” said Trevor. “At the time, I wondered what that had to do with anything…”[sports-match template=”logos” match=”57890″]
Fast forward to July and Trevor was appointed head coach at St Augustine with Tyrese and attacker Kyle Carrington following him from the ‘Saints’. At the end of the 2019 Premier Division season, St Mary’s finished bottom and were relegated, while St Augustine were ninth in the 15 team standings with Tyrese as the highest or second-highest scorer in the league, according to who was doing the tabulating.
The Intercol competition meant a chance for a trophy in his maiden season. But it always looked a tall task against San Juan—literally as well as figuratively.
In the powerful front pair of captain Renaldo Boyce, who will be 21 before the 2019 Easter holiday, and 17-year-old Jerry Morris, San Juan North have two footballers that could have auditioned for roles as soldiers in ‘300’. And the only surprise was that neither was involved in the opening goal in the 21st minute.
In fact, St Augustine’s early deficit was partially self-inflicted as defender Jamal Olliviere bundled into his own goal while trying to defend an inswinging corner kick.
But with Boyce and lively winger Isaiah Chase putting the ‘Green Machine’ under early pressure, the signs looked ominous. Spicer responded decisively, as he replaced midfielder Neil Walcott with attacker Jardel John after just 30 minutes.
John’s introduction was a slow burner. San Juan North remained in control—but, one minute into stoppage time, the ball broke for the St Augustine substitute, who immediately released the mercurial Tyrese. John followed the action too and was on spot to finish the play after San Juan custodian Emmanuel John initially kept the younger Spicer at bay with a fine reflex save.
A relieved Trevor celebrated John’s goal by spontaneously bear-hugging the nearest person to him at the time, which turned out to be the more-than-a-little-surprised fourth official.
“The first half was a bit scrappy for both sides,” said Trevor. “The way [San Juan North] play is direct and you can’t get time to settle, so it can be difficult to play the football… Jardel helped change the game for us a little.”
The game improved after the break, with both teams aspiring to keep possession better. But San Juan North were still the more dominant of the two, and by the 61st minute, overworked St Augustine defender Jamal Meloney started to cramp up.
Morris, who was starting to come alive, would not get the chance to take advantage, though. Moe replaced the beefy front man with the smaller, livelier Sutherland in the 63rd minute, while winger Daniel Best also came in at the expense of Christian Mitchell.
“We knew coming into the game that Jerry couldn’t give us 90 minutes,” said San Juan North coach Jerry Moe, who explained that the talented forward was still returning to full fitness after a broken toe.
San Juan supporters in the covered stands were unimpressed.
“Steups… that is a stupid sub boy!” remarked one patron to his nodding posse.
It took Sutherland barely three minutes to make them eat their words. Boyce drifted across the penalty area with the ball, followed by St Augustine custodian Ajahri Murrien like a moth to a flame.
And when Boyce crossed the ball low and hard towards the penalty spot, Sutherland finished like a sniper with a first time drive into the corner past retreating St Augustine defenders.
“Good change coach!” yelled another patron, from the same posse of San Juan supporters. “Good change!”
And the Bourg Mulatresse boys doubled their advantage in the 73rd minute, as Sutherland outfoxed an opponent before crashing his shot against the bar, with Best pouncing to usher the rebound into the far corner. San Juan North 3, St Augustine 1.
“We were a little bit down at the half time when we conceded the late goal,” said Moe. “So Sutherland gave us good energy and he scored, which is the most important thing… At times he was showboating a bit, which we will talk about on the training pitch. But he is young and we will try to work on it.”
Trevor could not help but feel a bit envious when he looked at his own bench.
“[Sutherland and Best] can play and two of them have experience playing in the league too,” said the St Augustine coach. “I don’t have anything like that. My bench was just under-16 players and Jardel. They had too much depth [for us].”
The San Juan posse were braying for a rout by then but the Green Machine nearly gave themselves a lifeline. Tyrese had a brilliant crack at goal with a 30-yard free kick in the 80th minute that provoked a save to match from John. And in the 86th minute, Tyrese could not keep his left-footed attempted down after a clever slalom run and cross by Carrington.
“Today wasn’t Tyrese’s day,” said Trevor. “But I think we did really well this season. We have brought St Augustine back to a point where they can challenge for trophies again.”
Trophies are Moe’s business these days, though. Four East Intercol titles consecutively, five in the past six years and one National Intercol trophy to boot in 2016.
It was another day at the office for San Juan North.
“I think overall we did well and managed the game well,” said Moe. “At times we didn’t value the possession [and] we were giving it away a bit. That’s the biggest challenge with teams in the Caribbean, they don’t value possession. Hopefully we can get that right mindset towards keeping possession by doing the simple things well and not complicating things.
“Overall, I think we deserved to win the game but we could have done a little bit better in the way we applied ourselves.”
Next up for San Juan North are the fresh-faced Carapichaima East, who they meet in the National Intercol semifinal next Friday.
“It depends on which [San Juan North] team shows on the day but we know Carapichaima are a good team,” said Moe. “They have some good young players who are with the National Under-15 Team and they are well-coached. So we just have to take one day at a time.”
Carapichaima East and San Juan North played to a goalless draw in the regular season. One suspects that the Central Zone champions would do very well to keep the Bourg Mulatresse boys scoreless again.
In today’s other Intercol final, Speyside High won their first Tobago title in four years as they downed Signal Hill Secondary 3-1, thanks to a double from Nicholas Sanchez.
Speyside must face the North Zone Intercol champions next in the National Intercol quarterfinals on Tuesday 26 November at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
San Juan North (4-4-1-1): 1.Emmanuel John (GK); 19.Adrian Duncan, 4.Elisha Garcia, 18.Malik Farrier, 17.Kareem John; 11.Isaiah Chase, 6.Jordan Britto, 8.Keanu John, 13.Christon Mitchell (23.Daniel Best 62); 9.Renaldo Boyce (captain) (20.Kedell Jones 90+2); 10.Jerry Morris (7.Tyrique Sutherland 62).
Unused substitutes: 22.Kareem Rodriguez (GK), 5.Darion Thomas, 14.Kendo Matthias, 21.Pharez Sutherland.
Coach: Jerry Moe
St Augustine Secondary (4-2-1-3): 1.Ajahri Murrien (GK); 12.Jamal Olliviere, 18.Jamal Meloney (8.Kiel Lopez 68), 4.Cade Massy, 24.Joshua Ambrose; 6.Keil Morris (captain), 23.Neil Walcott (10.Jardel John 30); 21.Rivaldo Patron; 19.Kyle Carrington, 9.Dwight Jordan, 16.Tyrese Spicer.
Unused substitutes: 22.Tristan Edwards (GK), 7.Kerry Headley, 14.Oba Merritt, 20.Jelani Peters, 11.Tyreek York.
Coach: Trevor Spicer
Referee: Timothy Derry
Man of the Match: Isaiah Chase (San Juan North)
(Thursday 21 November)
East Zone final
San Juan North 3 (Jamal Olliviere OG 21, Tyrique Sutherland 65, Daniel Best 72), St Augustine Secondary 1 (Jardel John 45+1) at Larry Gomes Stadium.
Tobago Zone final
Speyside High 3 (Nicholas Sanchez , OG), Signal Hill Secondary 1 (Hamilton Bristol) at Dwight Yorke Stadium.