Thursday, February 22, 2018


Attack on official brings end to South Zone final


Ellis on the attack: Presentation College San Fernando's Mikail Ellis, left, takes a shot on goal during the Coca Cola InterCol Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) South Zone final against Shiva Boys Hindu College at Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella yesterday. Presentation were leading 2-1 when the game was abandoned after 80 minutes when a spectator ran onto the field and attacked an assistant referee who had to be taken to hospital. The game will be completed on Wednesday behind closed doors. –Photo: DAVE PERSAD

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At the time, Presentation were leading 2-1, with about six minutes left on the clock when the incident occurred. A section of the crowd was in uproar over the referee's decision to turn down a Shiva Boys shout for penalty.

One such patron, seated among the Shiva Boys fans, left the stands and rushed onto the field, where he attacked referee's assistant Kevin Charles. Video replays of the incident suggested the man may have stabbed Charles with an unidentified weapon, to which the match official promptly retaliated, getting in a few blows before police intervened, one officer tackling the man to the ground to subdue him.

The fracas did not end there. With the man in police custody, officers attempted to detain another man, and fans spilled over the stadium railings to stop the police from doing so.

SSFL South Zone official Gerald Elliot said that the referee's assistant had to be taken to hospital and the other match officials said they could not continue the match under the circumstances.

He said: "Because the game ended abruptly, we have decided that they will play the remainder of time allotted to the game in an enclosed stadium where no fans will be allowed in."

The contest will be re-played at the same venue from 4 p.m. tomorrow, with the winners moving on to meet St Anthony's College at the same venue from 4 p.m. on Friday.

No one could have predicted the outcome of yesterday's encounter despite the deep rivalry developing between the teams in the last few seasons. Shiva Boys provided much of the early running, with Nathaniel Garcia in particular trying to do what the Penal-based school had failed to do in their two previous meetings of 2012–beat the "Pres" back line.

Twice before the first goal, Shiva had Presentation scrambling away chances by Garcia and Shavon Diaz.

Presentation definitely looked the more organised team, but their opponents were the more hungry in attack, particularly with the football on the ground.

Still, the South Zone champions were the ones breaking the deadlock in the 31st minute after a foul in the penalty area. Angel Williams stood up to bury the effort despite the despairing dive of Kwesi Weston in Shiva Boys' goal.

That strike changed the tempo of the encounter, and Shiva Boys were soon level four minutes later when Nathaniel Garcia's sublime right-footed effort threaded the fine space between Presentation goalkeeper Kelvin Henry's right fingertips and the upright.

But that moment of brilliance was followed by a moment of madness and the match swung again. This time, Pres talisman Holder collected the ball in space on the left of midfield in first half stoppage time and surged left with two defenders converging on him.

They were not quicker to the ball than Weston, who ran out of the area and missed his challenge, allowing Holder time and space on the left to scoop the ball into the opposite, upper corner. It set the stage for the dramatic second half to come. The teams traded attempts in the second period, with Presentation looking to seal the affair and Shiva Boys looking for a way back in. Holder could have twice confirmed a Presentation victory, once booting wide and another time heading over from close range.

Shiva themselves could have added to the drama had Garcia's 70th minute free kick dipped just a little more into the far post, or skipper Tevin Peters' booming drive not been punched over by Henry at full stretch.

But in the dying minutes of the match, a nail-biting finale was ruined and the game defined by a melee, and not the end-to-end football action to which the crowd had been treated for 84 minutes.