Once, InterCol finals filled the national stadium with capacity crowds. Yesterday, it was just the covered stands filled when the “Green Machine” of St Augustine Secondary rolled past Fatima College 4-1 in the 2013 Coca Cola Secondary School Boys InterCol final at Hasely Crawford Stadium to break their 29-year drought.
But early on it felt like 30,000 inside. Two goals in the opening five minutes set yesterday’s final alight. The final even attracted a crew from Jamaican Sportmax cable station. But, the early shower never turned into the expected flood of goals. St Augustine won handsomely, but did not dominate. Rather, they exploited Fatima’s forward urge to pull level once they trailed at the end of the first half. Neither was the quality of play high.
Still, having now won both the boys and girls InterCol finals, St Augustine will be in for a huge share of the awards when the schools league hold its 2013 end of season award ceremony on Saturday from 10 a.m. at Miracle Ministries in Couva. Boys and girls all-star teams will be named.
St Augustine fans were shouting from minute one of yesterday’s final when Jordan Devonish put them ahead with a shot from top the penalty area. It was from the kick-off, when the ball was played to the centre of the penalty area, where Devonish finished proficiently with a dipping shot to the top of the net. The “Green Machine” had a 1-0 lead in the first minute and their fans frenzied.
Fatima’s posse were gathered in numbers on the lower half of the stand, and they were soon jumping and chanting themselves, because in the sixth minute Marquis Hoyte levelled the score at 1-1 with a low shot past ‘Gustine goalkeeper Romario Romain. Always wide, Hoyte was found by Dominic Jangoo’s short pass inside the left-back, and had both time and space to pick a spot.
The final provided a contrast in styles. Trained by Richard Hood, the Police Football Club Pro League team coach, Fatima opted for methodical build-up and structured passing. But, coach Michael Grayson had St Augustine playing behind the ball, before bursting out at pace on the counter-attack. And they had the right players for that game also, Ricardo John and Akim Amdrews having plenty of guile and turn of foot going forward.
It looked like another goal for Fatima in the 28th when the College team’s playmaker Jangoo, burst through the right flank. But, Romain was out quickly to meet him, and smothered the shot with a brilliant low save, to keep the score level.
Instead, St Augustine went ahead again and stayed there permamently. Shannon Gomez put them ahead 2-1 in the 32nd minute, when after a piece of brilliant dribbling where he split three defenders on the flank. The midfielder got a break when Fatima defender Leland Archer accidentally deflected the ball into his team’s goal. Fatima keeper Akiel Guerra had already covered where Gomez’s pass was likely to go, and had no chance once Archer got a touch on the ball. But, the lead was not one easily held. Although ahead, St Augustine never looked comfortable in the first half and both Jangoo and Alvin Prescod sent shots wide from the right flank where St Augustine looked particularly brittle.
Having made it to the half with the lead, St Augustine began well in the second half and further extended the advantage to 3-1 in the 60th when from just inside the penalty area, Akeem Garcia put a seemingly tame, yet accurate rolling shot past the Fatima custodian. Fatima pressed for the rest of the half, but made no inroads. Jangoo pushed almost fully into attack, but had too much to do and made little dent against the St Augustine backline which firmed up in the second session.
St Augustine played the final 20 minutes on the counter-attack, while giving nothing away at the back.John even had a finale, a brilliant solo run ending with a low shot in added-on time. From then it was celebration time for the Green Machine fans.
COCA COLA INTERCOL FINAL:
St Augustine 4 (Jordan Devonish 1st, Shannon Gomez 32nd, Akeem Garcia 60th, Ricardo John 90+), Fatima 1 (Marquis Hoyte 6th).