Akeem Garcia netted a late double to help St Augustine Secondary whip Speyside 6-3 in the Coca-Cola InterCol quarterfinal clash at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago, yesterday.
The Green Machine took the lead in as early as the third minute when Aikim Andrews slotted home his team’s first goal.
His teammate Triston Hodge got the second item from the penalty spot in the 24th minute after Speyside’s goalkeeper Tevin Joseph brought down Garcia in the penalty box. Hodge stepped up and hit a left-footed shot to the right side of the goal. Joseph had no chance as he dove to his left.
St Augustine’s Nicholas Marcano troubled the Speyside defender with his curling free-kicks and corners. The tall and well-built player had several shots on goals but they went abegging.
Speyside came alive as Brandon Benjamin and Marcus Caesar were on the attack for the home team. Benjamin eventually found the back of net in the 34th minute with a diving header off a free kick on the right-hand side. However, it was St Augustine going in at the half with 2-1 advantage.
On the resumption both outfits came out attacking. Caesar got on the scoresheet with a chip over the advancing keeper Romario Romain in the 51st minute, to send the Speyside supporters dancing. The cheering urged on the boys from east Tobago as Benjamin got his second goal in the 57th minute to take a 3-2 lead and swing the momentum in favour of the Kerry Lynch-coached team.
However, St Augustine responded immediately with Garcia hitting the first of his double in the 61st to level the scores 3-3. Ricardo John (77th) came some 16 minutes later to give “Gustine” a 4-3 lead with Garcia returning in the 81st to head in a cross, and put his team further ahead 5-3.
The Speyside players tried to step up their game but their chances were dented when central defender Kendel Dates was sent off after his second card. Marcano’s determination was rewarded when he completed the six-goal feast in the 90th minute.
St Augustine Secondary will face Chaguanas North in the semifinals. Coach Michael Grayson shared that his team did not know much about Speyside before the game. “We spent the first 10 minutes trying to assess them. After that, we knew how to play them,” said Grayson.
He added he was worried when Speyside were up 3-2 saying: “I got a little scared but was not too concerned. Some of our players were not playing their game.”
Grayson was happy though that his side were able to score six goals for the first time this season and added that the players will have to work on their ball possession and improve on their finishing ahead of their clash with Chaguanas North.
St Augustine 6 (Aikim Andrews 3rd; Triston Hodge 24th, Akeem Garcia 61st, 81st, Ricardo John 77th; Nicholas Marcano 90th) vs Speyside High 3 (Brandon Benjamin 34th, 57th, Marcus Caesar 51st).