PRESENTATION College San Fernando advanced to Thursday’s Coca-Cola National Intercol final after they salvaged a last-minute 1-0 winner against Arima North Secondary at Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin on Thursday.
Both teams found it hard to break the deadlock over 90 minutes, and a goal-front scrimmage in the dying seconds of regulation time saw Pres winger Kaielle Elliott seal the deal.
With just time added on to go in the second half, Presentation’s Cody Cooper lofted a long, high free-kick into the box.
The ball fell dangerously close in front of the Arima goal and somehow Elliott, who was crowded by defenders, got a slight touch goalward, and the ball fell into the arms of goalkeeper Isaiah Diaz.
However, the scrimmage was so close to the goal-line, that when Diaz held on to the ball, he landed over the line, and into his own net.
At that moment, Presentation supporters in the stands had an uncertain celebration until the referee blew his whistle to confirm that the goal stood.
The Arima custodian argued with the referee that he had been nudged into the net by a charging Presentation player.
Despite his, and some of the Arima defenders' attempts to reverse the referee’s decision, the goal was awarded to the south zone Intercol champions.
The travelling Arima fans fumed while the Pres Lions roared in celebration. Two minutes later, the final whistle sounded to hand Pres another shot at the coveted title.
In the opening period, Pres dominated possession but lacked the final pass and shot on goal. When Arima got the ball, they tried to get it forward but like their opponents, fell short in the final third.
Shots came in from Elliott and Pres number ten Vaughn Clement but neither could find the target.
Arima’s Jemaul Ashing was moved twice from left to right in the match, and his first switch gave the east zone winners their first real chance. However, Ashing could only place it straight to Pres custodian Kanye Lazarus.
A neat cross in from Pres’ Micah Brathwaite skidded off a charging Nkosi Foncette’s head, who was in front goal, and also shifted the ball’s trajectory away from Clement, who also lay in wait.
Into the second half, Pres continued to dominate the early minutes but Arima’s half time talk seemed to have boosted their confidence going forward.
Ashing and fellow frontmen Tyrell Stapleton and Mark Thomas connected better this time around, but still could not find a decisive shot on goal.
Presentations’ Adah Barclay threatened on the right wing but Arima North’s backline of Akil Henry, Ability Hazel and Stephen Ollivierie stood firm.
Later on, Arima goalie Diaz misjudged an incoming free kick and lost the ball, but breathed a sigh of relief as his defenders came to rescue.
A visibly burnt-out Stapleton was replaced by Zion Metivier in the final quarter of the match after he was injured.
Metivier also brought some life to the Arima attack but their few and far between efforts, went to no avail.
As the game wound down in the dying minutes and Pres awarded a free kick from distance, Cooper launched a long-range ball in, and somehow Elliott got a touch on to send Isaiah into his own net, with ball in hand.
Presentation play the winner of tomorrow’s second semi-final between St Anthony’s College and Speyside Secondary at Hasely Crawford Stadium. This match kicks off from 4.15pm.
At the end of the match, however, two rival fans got into a heated argument with each other. Team staff from each school tried to usher their players away from the spat and when the police intervened, the scene quickly calmed. The argument was between two adult males.
SOURCE: T&T Newsday