Carapichaima Senior Comprehensive defied the odds to make their second foray into the RBTT InterCol national semi-finals, edging St Augustine Secondary Comprehensive 2-1 at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya, yesterday.
Both Carapichaima and St Augustine's "Green Machine" sported their traditional green and white uniforms. 'Gustine's white kit with green stripes down the centre, though, was overshadowed by the deep green of Carapichaima, which turned out to be their kryptonite.
St Anthony's coach Nigel Grosvenor sat prominently in the front row of the stands watching to see who his team's next opponents would be. He would have seen Carapichaima outfox the opposing defence to grab the lead in the 26th off the boot of Phillip Wickham, before which both teams matched each other kick for kick. Wickham beat St Augustine goalie Vaughn Charles to a Kevon Wilson cross and the Central Zone champs led 1-0.
They held that advantage to the break and the half-time whistle drew cheers from the Carapichaima fans. They were silenced five minutes after the resumption when star forward Jevaughn Vance snuck in and tapped home a close-range St Augustine free-kick to level the scores at 1-1, just as he had done in their 4-2 win against Arima in the East Zone InterCol final.
Caps showed they were no Arima, though. Instead of panicking, they stole the lead in the 57th, Wilson collecting a long diagonal pass from left back Nathan James and lobbing Charles as he attempted to catch it.
St Augustine fans tried to spur on their team: "Who could play?! We could play!" they sang, rather unconvincingly.
'Gustine tried again to level the scores, but Vance and captain Oswald Wyllie's efforts were not enough to pull them back a second time.
Caps defended desperately and cleared promptly and effectively, meaning any chances St Augustine got had to count. Vance weaved this way and that, but a defender was always behind the ball to deny him. When he did get past them, he inexplicably hit over from six metres.
Wyllie had the perfect opportunity with 13 minutes to go, but slid his attempt wide after Carapichaima goalkeeper Akiel Alfred dropped the ball.
"Who could play? Caps could play!" the Central fans teased.
They turned out to be right, as St Augustine could not muster enough fight this time, despite the prompts and advice from experienced coach Michael Grayson.
One last opportunity fell to Caps in stoppage time, but Neil Woodruffe muffed a one-on-one chance.
They then celebrated the final whistle and must now prepare for Thursday's semis, when Mucurapo Secondary Comprehensive will also take on Presentation College, San Fernando, for a spot in the elite InterCol final.