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St Augustine crowned InterCol champions
Nineteen years after last winning schools’ football’s biggest prize, St Augustine Secondary deservedly lifted the Coca-Cola National InterCol trophy following a 4-1 win over a strong Fatima College in an end-to-end grand finale at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. It was a long time coming for the Green Machine, a losing finalist in the national competition to St Anthony’s College, last year. The East Zone InterCol champions also went through this season without a single loss in regulation time making them early favourites to go all the way to glory. Eight goals in two matches epitomised the Green Machine threat this year. It was also a fitting time to win for head coach Michael Grayson, who won four Big Five titles during his nine-year tenure, but never won the most sought after trophy.
An opening goal in the second minute from the ever-lively Jordan Devonish, an own goal in the 33rd created by captain Shannon Gomez, which gave the Green Machine its second lead, a gem from Akeem Garcia, scored just after the hour-mark, and a world-class solo goal from top-scorer Ricardo John in time added on, were what it took for St Augustine to put down Fatima. John, one of the biggest players on the park, who scored in more matches than he failed to, almost looked to have closed off his playing days with the Green Machine without a goal. Deep into time added on, John, who beat two Fatima players at a drop-ball situation just over the half line, dribbled his way parallel to another Fatima defender, beat him, before wrong-footing Fatima goalkeeper Akiel Guerra, undoubtedly for one of the greatest moments of his young career. John may have provided at least one assist earlier, but opted for his half-chances, which came close but missed the target.
To its credit, Fatima, a team which finished fourth in the SSFL North Zone league, but rallied back to win its zonal InterCol title, was at times brilliant. Coach Richard Hood, who drilled confidence in his team, allowed it never to roll over. In fact, a mere four minutes after conceding in the first 60 seconds, Dominic Jangoo, perhaps the team’s most consistent performer all season, set up the equalising goal for Fatima. He fed Marquis Hoyte with a through pass to a one-on-one with St Augustine goalkeeper Romario Romain, who could not stop a top class finish. Fatima had several good spells of possession contained by midfielder Dillon Abraham, and a number of half chances. Almost immediately at the start of the second half, Fatima put the ball in the back of the net, headed in from a St Augustine cross, but the assistant referee flagged for an offside. Although it did not stand, the moment seemed to see Fatima drop in confidence. St Augustine subsequently enjoyed more possession, but Fatima defended well.
The third goal from Garcia, who danced his way at the edge of the Fatima penalty area, before slotting into the nearer corner, put the match to bed. Almost all of Fatima surges were broken down in the final third. Nevertheless, the match possessed top quality football from both teams. Hood who joined Fatima as head coach before the start of the season, would celebrate a North Zone InterCol title, after getting past league winner St Mary’s College and, in the final, East Mucurapo Secondary. His team, however, will have to wait for at least a ninth year before reclaiming the National InterCol trophy.
InterCol final Result
St Augustine 4 (Jordan Devonish 1st, own goal 33rd, Akeem Garcia 61st, Ricardo John 90th+3) v Fatima 1 (Marquis Hoyte 6th)
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