Malick Secondary Comprehensive booked their place in the 2007 RBTT InterCol semi-finals with a 3-2 victory over Diego Martin Secondary at QRC ground, St Clair yesterday. And although Diego Martin became the first Secondary Schools Football League North Zone team to have their 2007 season ended, they can have at least claimed to have taught yesterday's opponents a lesson.
Just 20 minutes into the first encounter of the double header, the North Zone runners-up were watching their InterCol dream slip away with a two-goal deficit against their lesser opponents.
But as he has done so much this season, skipper Robert Primus stepped in to salvage his team's season, this time with a hat-trick.
Diego Martin kicked off at the opening whistle, and immediately showed their intent. As early as the second minute, Akil King put them in front from close range to stun the smiling Malick crowd. The Morvant team were clearly confident before the match began, Primus playing an attacking midfield role, instead of his usual defensive one.
The diminutive, but skilful midfielder Cordell Cato doubled Diego's advantage to the chagrin of Malick supporters, running on to a pass in space and slipping under Malick custodian Joseph Baird as he advanced to collect the ball.
That seemed to bring a sense of urgency into the Malick team, as they surged forward for their first goal. It took them seven minutes to find it, and Primus did it all himself, with a finish similar to Cato's in the 26th.
But before the break, 'Diego' missed out on chances to restore their two-goal advantage, with Kurlan Leid's effort being smothered, and Naje Hart heading over. Striker Akeem "Crouch" Bailey had the chance to bring Malick level. But his close range strike sailed overbar.
Just 11 minutes into the second period, Malick were back on an even keel. Randy Castillo forced a diving save out of Diego goalie Andrew Waldron, and from the resulting Brandon Victor free-kick, Primus headed high into the net.
Diego fought to hang on and force a penalty shootout. But they were unable to sustain the intensity they had in the opening half. Primus knocked on their door one more time, this time in the 75th, and they let him in. He obliged, controlling a pass through the centre, and outpacing his two markers, before beating Waldron in a one-on-one contest.
Diego's hopes faded fast from that moment, although they caused some anxious moments for Malick's defence. But the other Primus, Randy, the skipper's brother, stood stout at the back to deny efforts from substitute Andell Francois, and striker Moriba Ballah.
Thanks to their skipper, Malick lived to fight another day. Underestimating their next opponents, Fatima, could mean a very promising outfit ending their season without a single title to their names.