Sixth time sweet: St Anthony’s College footballers celebrate retaining their Coca Cola national InterCol title after beating St Augustine Secondary 2-0 in the final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo yesterday. Victory yesterday gave the “Tigers” a record-equalling sixth win in the competition. —Photo: Stephen Doobay
Red was the colour of celebration yesterday, as St Anthony’s College clawed their way to yet another national Coca Cola InterCol title after a testing 2-0 victory over St Augustine Secondary at Hasely Crawford Stadium. It was not easy for the “Tigers” from Westmoorings to stall the “Green Machine” and the North Zone champions got some breaks, but in the end they did look the better team overall.
The result means St Anthony’s are joint first atop the all-time list of InterCol winners with Naparima College and Signal Hill Secondary with six such titles, and second on the overall list of national wins (including “Big Five”) with nine, alongside St Augustine and Naparima, and one behind leaders Signal Hill (ten).
The Tigers were also the last team to defend their InterCol title, which they also did in 2003.
St Anthony’s dominated the first half and had more chances as St Augustine defended deep, waiting to counter-attack. But the Tigers were not clinical enough, and St Augustine created problems for them with long overhead balls, and sometimes a diagonal run from the left. St. Augustine striker Ricardo John was unfortunate to be called for offside before St Anthony’s took advantage of some lax defending to edge in front. The Green Machine fans were celebrating in the 37th minute when John headed in on the third St Augustine try with the St Anthony’s defence all at sea, until they realised the assistant referee had raised his flag.
To add insult to injury, St Anthony’s took the lead seven minutes later. One too many times, St Augustine were caught sitting deep, waiting on the Tigers to make a mistake and this time they did not. Having won the ball deep in St Augustine’s half, the Tigers shuffled around the passes until Carlton Long had space to slip the ball from centre to right, and a surging Millette slammed it into the roof of the net with his right foot. That ended the half in their favour, and left St Augustine with work to do.
However, the determination that has been the hallmark of St Augustine’s InterCol campaign this year surfaced in the second period, particularly through the hard work of Jordan Devonish, whose approaches from both the centre and the right represented clear and present danger. Twice in the space of two minutes they missed close shots on goal, one called for offside and the other by Devonish, who would later fire overbars from good shooting range off a cross from Kwesi Williams in the 64th minute. But it just wasn’t going to be their night.
Although his pass provided the opener, Long just did not have his shooting boots on. He missed twice more from inside the penalty area with a free shot on offer. Keane McIvor sealed the affair in the 82nd from 20 metres thanks to a pass from Kadeem Corbin. McIvor completed the counter-attack when given too much room outside the penalty area, and he made space on his left foot, unattended and drilled past Romain with the help of a slight deflection.
Andrews had the last chance of the match with a few minutes remaining, hitting wide from the left of goal.
In the end the effort meant little as the Tigers hoisted the trophy for a second successive year to the chants cheers and drums of jubilant supporters.
It gave them yet another taste of history.