The talented Raequan Jones scored two goals today to propel St Leonard’s Boys to winning the Under-14 Barbados Secondary Schools Football League title today.
It was a final that could have gone either way and after 60 minutes plus extra time it was St Leonard’s and their supporters who erupted in celebration after they edged the plucky Harrison College lads 2-1 at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf. It was an exciting affair and one of the closest school finals played out in front of appreciative spectators that included parents, guardians, schoolmates and just lovers of the game.
The new champions took an early lead in the fifth minute through Jones and even though Harrison College’s forwards frequently attacked their opponents’ half of the field they simply could not get past the Richmond Gap, St Michael school’s defence as St Leonard’s maintained that 1-0 lead when the referee blew the whistle for half-time.
During the break the Harrison College boys listened tentatively to their coach Deighton Smith who gave specific instructions on how to take possession away from St Leonard’s and at the start of the second half it appeared as though they understood what needed to be done.
Eventually the equalizer came in the 31st minute with a fantastic goal off the boot of Travis Britton who made good on a cross from the left which he flicked with his right foot directly over the head of St Leonard’s goalkeeper Chad Alleyne.
Following that none of the two teams found the go-ahead goal during regular time and therefore forced the game to ten minutes of extra time. The pressure was on as both teams sought to score that winning goal. It was St Leonard’s who took the first shot at goal through Tyrell Haynes who was just off target. Jones then became the hero for St Leonard’s in the 63rd minute of extra time when he ontrolled a through ball and executed a simple shot to the right of Harrison College’s goalkeeper Adam Mallalieu.
Harrison College had opportunities in the final five minutes of extra time but they failed to capitalize on those chances that give St Leonard’s a lifeline and the impetus to defend their one-goal advantage and that they did when the whistle of Khadijah Mars went off to signal the end.
St Leonard’s coach Fabian Massiah told Barbados TODAY they won the title in 2014 but lost it to The Lodge School in 2015 but was extremely happy to capture it once more in 2016. He also explained that because of the just concluded under-16 tournament, preparation for the under-14s started late but the side was talented enough and adjusted well.
“We have a lot of talent and it was just a matter of concentrating on proper defending and having a good system. We had a good game overall in this tournament, we were strong in defence where we covered for each other and on attack we knew we had the faster players going forward. So the game plan was just to play the ball wide or over the top for the striker to run onto it,” Massiah said.
The successful coach added that he was pleased with how the finals went and said someone had to lose and thankfully it was not St Leonard’s. But he credited Harrison College for working hard and giving them “a run for our money”.