Kavian Inniss’ match-winning strike led St Michael North West to their first National Sports Council/Youth Development Under-17 Football title on Saturday.
The Deacons-based St Michael North West team defeated their neighbours from the Ivy, St Michael East 1-0 in front of a sizable crowd at Briar Hall, Christ Church to earn themselves a trip to Trinidad and Tobago in April.
At the launch of this year’s tournament it was announced by the organizing committee that the eventual winner would be travelling to the twin-island republic in April.
Inniss, a national junior player and wearing the captain’s armband for North West, has been their chief marksman throughout the six weeks long competition and on Errol Barrow Day the 17-year-old, playing his final tournament, did not disappoint his supporters who came out in their numbers and witnessed him score in the 16th minute.
North West played a three, four, three game and that goal came as a result of their probing efforts inside the 18-yard box with a pass to danger man Inniss who took charge, taking on two of St Michael East’s defenders and goalkeeper Devon Sam who tried to make an incoming tackle in an effort to stop Inniss but totally misjudged the ball and the striker executed a solid right foot scorcher to score on the rebound.
Inniss, a student at the Barbados Vocational Training Board, now has his eyes set on playing for University of the West Indies Blackbirds in the Premier League.
St Michael East should have had at least two goals at the start but just could not penetrate North West’s robust defence as the lads in their green uniforms held that one love momentum heading into half time.
The St Michael East players and their coach Bryan Neblett had their work cut out for them and they showed just how determined they were with a few spirited attacks at the beginning of the second half.
The first real shot at finding the equalizer was when Jared Maxius got past the North West defenders on the right flank with a superb cross inside the six-yard box with the hope of finding the boot of Kemar Maloney who slid his right foot in for the kill but missed.
Then a couple minutes later Quashad Yearwood was fed the ball and executed a shot that went into the safe hands of North West goalkeeper Ranaldo Roberts.
Roberts had a good game for North West and came up with a fantastic save in the dying stages of the encounter which made spectators breathe a lot easier with under three minutes to play.
North West needed to keep the ball away from St Michael East’s attackers and steady the contest with limited time on referee Tonia Deane’s watch. As customary throughout this tournament, North West ensured the ball got to a very fast-moving Inniss running down the flank and taking on two of the East team defenders with a cross that should have given his side a 2-0 lead but no one was positioned inside the box to score.
Coach of the victorious St Michael North West team, Robert Jones, told Barbados TODAY that after making it as far as the semifinal last year and missing out on reaching the final, this year they came with a determined effort and made it all the way to lift the trophy.
“This year we came with more heart and determination from the fact that we did not come out on top last year. I am happy with the way our guys played. This year we focused not so much on the attack part and scoring all the goals but that when we do score we got to play defence and that was our weakness coming into the tournament and within during the round of sixteen I told the guys we have to play with a bit more aggression,” Jones said.