Sat, Apr

St. Anthony's College - 2023 SSFL North Zone Intercol Champions

St Anthony’s College coach Ronald Daniel made a goalkeeper switch at the end of regulation that propelled the Tigers to the title, when the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Coca-Cola InterCol North Zone final concluded at the Hasely Crawford Stadium last evening.

Josiah Morris replaced the unsteady Germany Jackson and made two crucial saves in the penalty shootout to earn the Westmoorings outfit a 4-3 victory over Queen’s Royal College on spot kicks after both sides were level 0-0 after regulation time.

Morris saved QRC’s first kick, taken by Aydon Caruth and Zion Aberdeen, QRC’s fifth kicker did not get a chance to kick, as the Tigers were flawless from the spot.

The contest should not have gotten that far.

But for the heroics of QRC goalkeeper Jaheim Affan—he made six crucial saves in the second half and nine overall—QRC would have been swamped by the more attack-minded and threatening St Anthony’s side.

Acrobatic and quick reflexive action from Affan was the feature of the second half when he denied Theo Crovador in the 52nd from close range from an Andell Fraser square pass in the 52nd.

St Anthony’s Joshua Miller couldn’t pass him a few minutes later either, and when Russel Francois took his penalty after an infringement on Jean-Marc Thomas in the 75th, Affan was good enough to parry a sturdy shot driven down the middle.

Affan made two more critical saves in the 82nd minute to deny Fraser in a one-on-one situation before diving back and to his right at full stretch to deny substitute Mordecai Ford’s low curling left-footer that seemed destined for the net in the 88th.

Earlier in the first half, the Tigers dominated because of the industry and insightful play in the middle and forward areas of the park by Wilson-Wright, Crovador, Miller and Fraser.

After Miller unsuccessfully went for the far post in the seventh minute, the Tigers would have been disappointed and would have rued not being in the ascendancy after the first half.

They dominated the statistics in shots (11 to two); shots on target (three to one); corners (six to three); saves forced (three to one); and possession (53 per cent to 47 per cent).

Fraser had the best opportunity of the period when he weaved through three defenders inside the QRC 18-yard area and had the goal at his mercy but hit directly to Affan in the QRC goal in the 18th minute. After several attacking surges through Miller, Fraser, Wilson-Wright and Crovador, Wilson-Wright found the back of the net in the 44th minute but was inches offside after a Miller slip-through.

The QRC strategy of playing long to their speedy forwards Michael Nelson and Stephon James did produce some threatening forays, including a James run down the right that Tau Lamsee headed overbars before Nelson out-ran the Tigers’ defence minutes later only for his final pass across to James to be placed slightly behind his Royalian team-mate.

Then coach Daniel made the miracle switch that engineered a deserved Tigers triumph in the shootout.

St Anthony’s will now go on to meet Chaguanas North Secondary in a national quarter-final at the Hasely Crawford on Tuesday.

Today, the South Zone final will be contested between St Benedict’s College and Presentation College San Fernando at Mahaica Oval from 5.15 p.m.

SOURCE: T&T Express

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