The National Sports Council/Youth Development Programme Under-17 Community Football final will be an all St Michael affair.
Wednesday night at the Dover, Christ Church playing field, St Michael North West and St Michael East won their respective semifinal encounters to advance into the final which is scheduled for this Saturday – Errol Barrow Day – at Briar Hall, Christ Church.
Ironically, both semifinal games concluded in a draw, and featured three St Michael teams and one from Christ Church.
In the opening match between the Deacons-based St Michael North West, led by their prolific captain Kavian Inniss, and St Michael South, many bets were on North West to take the victory. They eventually did that 4-2 on penalties against their Bayland-based opponents.
It was a very attacking contest with both sides being strong on defence. There were a few chances that should have been put away especially by North West when Inniss was fed a number of balls mostly from the flanks by Ricknico Marshall who spearheaded the midfield attack for North West. However they just could not find that all-important breakthrough St Michael South’s solid back line.
That resulted in ten minutes of extra time where neither side managed to score and supporters were then treated to a penalty shootout where Kavian Inniss, Zidane French, Rashane Thompson and Danico Watson all scored with Ricknico Marshall being the only one to miss his penalty shot when he kicked it wide of the goal bars.
A brilliant effort from North West goalkeeper Ranaldo Roberts with two fantastic penalty saves and a missed attempt by one of St Michael South penalty shooters, proved enough to earn themselves a final spot. Winston Maynard and Shacarlo Boyce were the only two players to score their penalties for the Bayland side.
North West marked themselves as favourites after trouncing last year’s champions St George South in the Round of 16, then followed by a superb 1-0 triumph against St Peter in the quarterfinals and have now earned themselves a place in the final.
They will take on first-time finalists St Michael East who have played good football throughout the tournament. Last night they came up against Christ Church East Central and similar to the first semifinal match, this game had lots of goal-scoring opportunities that should have been put away.
East Central striker Treasure Griffith just could not find the nets after Shaquan Jones and company fought hard to secure the winner. St Michael East had a few probing chances inside the 18-yard box but their top marksman, Jared Maxius, was unable to connect.
The encounter then went into extra time that proved quite uneventful. The ensuing penalty shootout saw the St Michael team and their fans erupting in celebration after defeating East Central 3-2 from the penalty spot.
Davier Grimes, Renaldo Trim and Demar Maloney all scored in that order for the victorious St Michael East. Meanwhile Griffith and Daimar Clarke were the only two players that scored their penalty kicks for East Central.