A first-half strike from Romario Drakes was all it took to earn Alexandra their place in the Under-19 Barbados Secondary Schools Football Knockout final against defending champions St Leonard’s Boys.
Playing in the opening semi-final against Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex yesterday, Drakes found the back of the nets in the 16th minute, a lead that held until full-time, to end the school’s five-year drought of not having reached the final.
In the feature semi-final match-up, League One kings St Leonard’s, led by a brace from Niall Reid-Stephens, came from behind to annihilate Combermere 4-1, keeping the boys from Richmond Gap on course to complete the double.
Capitalising on the absence of ace national youth forward Ray Francis who sat out the game with two yellow cards, Alexandra managed to take control of the encounter as SJPP appeared out of sorts without their star player.
Ricknico Marshall and Mario Graham tried their best but hardly got a chance to touch the ball, as Alexandra intercepted several key passes and also created several chances.
Alexandra got the all important goal, however, when Drakes dribbled SJPP left back Rashad Jackman and hammered a clinical right-footed shot past goalkeeper Terry Graham
National Under-15 strikers Abiola Grant and Nazario Adamson, along with midfielders Thai Moore and Javier Nedd, then all played a crucial role in ensuring Alexandra kept the majority of possession to see their side to victory.
In the second game, a blunder by St Leonard’s allowed Combermere to take an early 1-0 advantage in the second encounter. A long ball over the top in the the fourth minute made its way inside
St Leonard’s final third where marksman Maxwell Lewis capitalised on an ill-advised back pass from a nervous St Leonard’s defence, to beat goalkeeper Nashton Browne.
However, St Leonard’s eventually calmed their nerves and settled down to dominate the contest, levelling the scores in the 26th minute from the penalty spot through Reid-Stephens, following a hand-ball in the area.
Theirry Gale then put St Leonard’s 2-1 ahead in the 30th minute before Kobe Griffith extended the lead in the second half when he found the nets in the 51st.
Reid-Stephen completed a deserving brace in the 65th minute to cap off an outstanding display from St Leonard’s.