St Anthony’s College concluded an outstanding 2011 season with a 2-0 win over Arima North Secondary, which saw them lift the Coca-Cola National InterCol title at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, yesterday evening. First half goals from Darryl Trim and Dwight Ceballo, along with an early second half finish from Ajani Clarence, saw the “Tigers” win their 19th consecutive match of the season and the National InterCol title for the fifth time in the school’s 42-year history. The ‘Tigers’ also won the North InterCol and League titles as well as the Big Five crown. Despite both teams starting slowly, the intensity of the match increased. St Anthony’s should have gone into the dressing room at half-time three goals up, while Arima North looked all but certain to record at least one goal in the first period.
Arima’s defence looked solid for most of the first half with Rondell Elie and his conservative counterparts standing firm.
The team clad in royal blue, should have taken the lead in the 17th minute, when a simple cross from Keith Williams was dropped from the hands of St Anthony’s goalkeeper Jammal Francois. Tevin Figaro and other Arima attackers were lurking in the area, but the Tigers defence managed to clear the ball from danger. Two minutes later, St Anthony’s had their first clear sight of goal, when Raychard Allen swung in a corner to meet Adrian Millette, but he scuffed his attempt and saw it come off the woodwork.
St Anthony’s finally took the lead in the next attack. Collecting a loose ball from the edge of the penalty area, in the 20th minute, Trim took a snap shot, which was pushed wide by Arima “stopper” Joseph Craig. Trim followed the blocked shot to finish instinctively from a tight angle before Craig had time to recover. The opening goal saw the beginning of a quiet spell between the two teams. This was before, St Anthony’s were awarded a corner in the 33rd minute, which was headed in from Ceballo. The team which won the semifinal match against Presentation College on two corners, reassured their dominance on set plays. The deep cross from Rayshard Allen found a waiting Ceballo who outjumped two of his markers to finish easily past Craig.
Arima’s best chance of the first half came from a counter attack in the 43rd minute. Marcus Gomez, who started on the bench but was introduced in the 15th minute, passed the ball into the path of a speeding Darius Rawlins. Rawlins made an excellent run into the box, and found himself in a one-on-one position with Francois, but missed the entire goal with a disappointing finish. Just before the half time, St Anthony’s should have found the third goal through a tire-less Kean Mc Ivor. He also did everything right by beating the keeper and putting the ball onto his favoured left foot. But two meters away from the goal, Mc Ivor took a shot which found the side netting. Despite the miss, St Anthony’s went into the half confident and returned the same. Not many clear-cut chances were presented for the majority of the second half, but St Anthony’s was in control. The team allowing the midfielders the majority off possession with subtle close range passes, allowed very little in the offensive for Arima. With 79 minutes gone, St Anthony’s finally made it 3-0. Arima North fell asleep for the third goal as the simplest of tap-ins from Clarence, wrapped up the match for the ruthless “Tigers”. The match was clearly over, as Arima hung their heads for the remaining of the match.
The differences in the players on either end were evident. Arima impressed during the season, but the players stood little chance against a stronger and fitter St Anthony’s team. Few opportunities arose in the second half for either team. St Anthony’s may have made it 4-0, had the forwards played with more urgency, but the result was sealed. Arima North failed to overturn the result of the 2003 InterCol final which saw St Anthony’s win 3-2. The sound of the final whistle was met with applause from the spectators in the half filled covered stands of the national stadium. The players then went on to lift the championship trophy.