A brace by Raequan Jones led defending champions St Leonard’s Boys to their fourth consecutive Under-16 Coca Cola Barbados Secondary Schools Football League title Monday evening at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
The undisputed titans of schools football defeated Combermere 2-1 to complete the double after lifting the Knockout trophy with a 1-0 victory against the Combermerians last week Monday at the same venue.
The boys from Waterford were in search of victory after a very long time against the strong St Leonard’s attack that lived up to expectations. During the 35 minutes opening half showdown, both teams had fairly even possession of the ball and it was a case of who scored first. The youngsters from Richmond Gap had the early advantage in the 24th minute.
Tyreke King, off a fast-break down the right flank, squared to attacking midfielder Raequan Jones who ran in from the midfield and nailed a scorcher past Combermere goalkeeper Sharad McAllister who was beaten to his right inside the six-yard box.
St Leonard’s had a slight psychological advantage and the challenge was left for Combermere to come from behind which they did delightfully after earning a corner kick taken by Nathan Skeete from the left. He placed the cross accurately onto the forehead of captain Andre Applewhaite three minutes later in the 27th minute who found nothing but the back of the net.
The score would remain that way at half-time even though St Leonard’s goal scorer Jones and the tournament leading goal scorer with 20 goals, Thierry Gale, caused several problems up front for Combermere’s defence before the interval.
St Leonard’s played a more aerial game where they took a number of long range shots aimed towards Combermere’s defence who stuck to their four-five-one approach as they had done in the Knockout final last week. Conversely, Combermere utilised a combination of passes that found either Skeete or their main striker Devonte Richard, a former Grantley Prescod Primary star player in the BICO football competition. But both were unable to get past St Leonard’s strong defence which was led by central defender and captain Shaquannie Phillips.
St Leonard’s were the ones to break the tie when Jones in the 50th minute controlled a ball floated from the right side and finished with a wonderfully executed shot to the left of Combermere keeper McAllister.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY after capturing their second consecutive double crown title, St Leonard’s coach Fabian Massiah described his team’s performance as much improved from last week. He said they brushed up on a few things on defence and how to transition into attack that clearly paid off, as the first goal by Jones came through a counterattack.
Explaining what makes St Leonard’s so successful at this level, Massiah said: “What I do with these guys is to lay the foundation in under-fourteen so when they first come out of primary school it is basically dealing with the basics, learning to control, learning to pass, moving off the football. A lot of them come in with the raw talent but it is actually teaching the knowledge of the game and they make my job easy because they listen.”