League One champions in the T&T Super League FC Santa Rosa was booted out of the League Cup on Thursday afternoon, after falling 2-0 to unlikely match favourites Prisons FC of the League Two Division.
Playing at their home at the Arima Velodrome, Santa Rosa, nickname the ‘Big Cannons’ failed to break the Prisons’ defence which was made sturdy by the increased numbers together with a determined attitude. The opening goal came in the 26th minute when talented Barry Carrington turned and twisted the Santa Rosa defence before being hacked down in the area. Captain Anthony Parris later stepped up and fired past the Santa Rosa goalkeeper to hand his team an unbelievable 1-0 advantage, which they took to the half-time interval.
Afterwards Prisons coach Anderson Veronique sought to strengthen his defence, by playing six defenders and three in the midfield to cope with the barrage of attacks that came in the remaining moments. But as the Big Cannons pushed numbers up in search of an equalizing goal, the visitors sealed the win on the counter-attack.
In the 88th minute Ricardo Alleyne quickly released to a speedy Kerwin Stafford down the right flank, and with the Big Cannons short of numbers on the back, Stafford skilfully cut inside before driving home the winner, much to the delight of their supporters.
Afterwards coach Veronique said he looked at the Santa Rosa strengths and weakness and came up with a strategy to counter it. “We knew that they like to play direct football, so I closed down my defence and midfield and played a counter- attacking brand. It worked for us nicely in the first half when we held them out and got a goal from our skipper, so in the second half I decided to shut the door by adding two more players in defence to make it six and play with one up front.”
With the victory the Prisons Officers advanced to the semi-final of the league cup where they will meet the University of T&T at a date and time to be announced. Veronique said he intends to take the same approach against the UTT men, as he already knows what type of football they play.
Prisons, the second place team in League Two, faces their biggest challenge today, a meeting with Diego Martin All Stars at home from 4pm to determine if they will have a chance of being promoted to League One.