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Intercol 19: ‘P-ville’ retain crown, southern champs down Signal Hill 3-1

Two set pieces effectively decided the Girls National Intercol final today as Pleasantville Secondary retained their knockout title with a 3-1 triumph against their great rivals from the ‘Sister Isle’, Signal Hill Secondary, at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

Defender Tsai-Ann Fernandez and midfielder Chrissy Mitchell scored direct from free kicks in either half, while the wily Alexcia Ali added gloss to the score summary with a late finish. And by the final whistle, Tiah Crichlow’s well-taken first-half item was no more than a consolation item.

Photo: The Pleasantville Secondary U-20 Team celebrate with the National Intercol trophy after their 3-1 final win over Signal Hill Secondary at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 December 2019.
(Copyright Kerlon Orr/CA-images/Wired868)

Last month, Signal Hill pinched the Big 5 crown from Pleasantville with a 1-0 win at the Plymouth Recreation Ground but there would be no repeat in Couva.

The game was barely three minutes old when ‘P-ville’ made their opening statement, although the item owed much to Signal Hill’s defensive organisation—or lack thereof. Inexplicably, Signal Hill erected a two-player wall that protected neither the first nor last post, and Fernandez did not pass up the opportunity with a flat blast home at the near corner.

Let’s just say that the Greenvale levees offered more protection to its residents than the Signal Hill wall gave to its goalkeeper, Aaliyah Alexander.

Signal Hill were not about to roll over, though. Crichlow looked menacing whenever the opportunity came to stretch her legs, and it was little surprise that she was involved in the equaliser, seconds before the interval.

Pleasantville Secondary Signal Hill Secondary

3

Tsai-Anne Fernandez 3, Chrissy Mitchell 67, Alexcia Ali 79

1

Tiah Crichlow 39

At Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Pleasantville Secondary Signal Hill Secondary

3

Tsai-Anne Fernandez 3, Chrissy Mitchell 67, Alexcia Ali 79

1

Tiah Crichlow 39

At Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva

For once, the Pleasantville backline looked dishevelled as Signal countered with a piercing long ball into the heart of their defence and Crichlow mustered a composed finish.

The Girls Intercol final, incidentally, was split into two 40-minute halves, despite being an Under-20 competition. Meanwhile, at Concacaf level, even Girls Under-17 matches are 90 minutes long.

It was, arguably, another sign of how far adrift the Trinidad and Tobago women’s programme has become from the rest of the confederation. The fact that Signal Hill and Pleasantville—solid without being exceptional—scored eight goals each at Intercol semifinal level also told a tale about the state of the schoolgirls’ competition.

But the two teams put on a decent collective showing this evening with sprinklings of individual ability.

Pleasantville, with Fernandez again assured in central defence, put a leash on Signal Hill forward Celine Loraine. And at the other end, the Signal Hill backline, steered by the athletic Jelese Alexander, did just about enough to keep the prolific Ali at bay.

Photo: Pleasantville Secondary attacker Alexcia Ali (right) tries to escape from Signal Hill Secondary defender Derisha Bristol during the National Intercol final at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 December 2019.
Ali scored the final goal in a 3-1 win for ‘P-ville’.
(Copyright Kerlon Orr/CA-images/Wired868)

So with neither side able to rely on their usual source for goals, it was left to the finalists to come up with a ‘Plan B’. And, for Pleasantville, that was set pieces.

In the 67th minute, Mitchell put the southern champions back in front with an angled free kick that nestled into the far corner. This time, the Signal Hill custodian was arguably too protected. Her midfielder, Gamelia Waldron, jumped right in front of her in a vain attempt to head clear, and the next time Alexander (A) got sight of the ball, it was in the back of her net.

Pleasantville coach Joel Maloney ordered Mitchell to immediately drop into the centre of his defence, as their 4-3-3 formation became 5-3-2 with retreating forwards. And as the Tobagonians fumbled to pick the lock, Ali finished the job with an insurance item as she pounced on an error at the back to rifle past the Signal Hill goalkeeper.

P-ville are champions again.

(Teams)

Signal Hill Secondary (4-3-3): 1.Aaliyah Alexander (GK); 12.Dominique Scott, 13.Derisha Bristol, 4.Jelese Alexander, 16.Tamia Alfred; 7.Ashante Wilson-Campbell, 9.Aaliyah Alvarez, 10.Gamelia Waldron; 3.Tiah Crichlow, 11.Celine Loraine, 6.Dilleasia Nicholson.

Unused substitutes: 8.Twinkle Thomas, 15.Janai Brooks, 14.Gamie Waldron, 17.Alexandria Stewart, 18.Naomi Waldrop.

Coach: Ray Mitchell

Pleasantville Secondary (4-3-3): 1.Akyla Walcott (GK); 17.Alayna Gunness (4.Zahara Mitchell), 8.Tsai-Anne Fernandez, 11.Kayla Garcia, 2.Dalisha Brathwaite; 9.Alexcia Ali, 24.Chrissy Mitchell, 7.Latifha Pascall (captain); 12.Kayla Mallard, 10.Aaliyah Pascall, 15.Kurshell Allen (3.Terrisha Meade 46).

Unused substitutes: 13.Amelia Thomas, 14.Tayeanne Wyile, 16.Celine Hypolite, 19.Kimberly Stewart, 22.Jerica Braxton

Coach: Joel Maloney

Wired868 Player of the Match: Chrissy Mitchell (Pleasantville Secondary)

Photo: Signal Hill Secondary flanker Tiah Crichlow (right) is congratulated by teammates after her equalising goal against Pleasantville Secondary during the National Intercol final at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 December 2019.
(Copyright Kerlon Orr/CA-images/Wired868)

Girls National Intercol final

(Wednesday 4 December 2019)

Pleasantville Secondary 3 (Tsai-Anne Fernandez 3, Chrissy Mitchell 67, Alexcia Ali 79), Signal Hill Secondary 1 (Tiah Crichlow 39) at Ato Boldon Stadium.

Photo: Pleasantville Secondary midfielder Chrissy Mitchell (right) goes for goal from a set piece during the National Intercol final at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 December 2019.
Mitchell scored a freekick to help ‘P-ville’ to a 3-1 win.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/CA-images/Wired868)

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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