Defending champions St Michael North West hammered St Michael Central 4-0 this afternoon at the Friendship, St Michael ground to secure their place in the round of 16 of the National Sports Council and Youth Development Programme Community Under-17 Football Tournament.
Playing in the West Zone, North West came into today’s match having already won three games and drawn one, and they made light work of Central during a heavy downpour that coincided with today’s final preliminary matches.
Central were in a must-win situation having struggled all season and being mauled 14-0 at one point during the competition by St Michael North East.
The victorious lads from Deacons, in their traditional green, had the majority of ball possession during the first 30 minutes of the opening half, and throughout the game for that matter, but only registered on the score sheet of referee Tonia Deane in the second period.
Goals came off the boots of Danico Watson, Rashane Thompson, captain Ricknico Marshall and the youngest player at age 14, Rangido Prescott.
Speaking after the match, victorious coach of the North West team Robert Jones told Barbados TODAY he wasn’t quite satisfied with his team’s performance thus far in the tournament.
Jones said that before the start of the knockout phase he would like to see some form of team unity as they search for their second consecutive title.
“I am not very happy because we are not playing as a team and the guys aren’t executing the way I would like to see them play. Coming out the first round was the easy part for us in this tournament, but the knockout stage starts soon, and I am hoping that after today’s match they [team] really start to gel and come together as a team.
“The beginning of this season we did not get to train a lot because of schools football and other obligations but hopefully we would get in a couple practice sessions within a couple of days in order to get that camaraderie going,” Jones said, while emphasizing that they must remain focused.
“Everybody comes out hard to beat the champions, so we know we got to play well. Defensively we don’t give up any goals, so that is our main focus, if we can’t score, then no one should score on us,” he said.
Having missed an early chance in the first half when Aneko Greenidge failed to put away a penalty kick in the 22nd minute, North West celebrated their opening goal in the 45th minute when an initial shot was taken by Marshall and Watson capitalized as the ball deflected off a defender and he nailed it into the left side netting.
Three minutes later in the 48th minute and Thompson added his name to the scoresheet, dribbling down the left flank, cutting inside and drilling the ball home with his right foot past Central custodian DeAndre Prescott.
The slippery outfield did not stop Marshall especially from stealing possession, breaking free down the left flank and skillfully dribbling past Central’s defence, which must still be commended for stopping quite a few goals coming on to the latter stages of the game.
It was plays like those that earned the Clayton’s Kola Tonic Notre Dame defender a goal of his own which came in the 54th minute. An assist from Thompson saw Marshall cut in from the left, passed two defenders and buried a shot at the near post.
And if that wasn’t enough, young upcoming star player Prescott hammered the nail in the coffin one minute later by accounting for North West’s fourth goal of the match in the 55th minute. That goal came as a result of good tactical play from the defending kings, as a build-up from the right flank found Prescott with the finishing touch.
St Michael Central coach Fitzgerald Carter said it was not always about winning and he was happy that his young squad had an opportunity to participate in this year’s competition.
“It is all about development, it is not only about winning. We have some guys who are relatively young and it is really good and exciting that they get this opportunity through the youth development programme,” said Carter, who is also the coach of Premier League side Empire.
In the opening encounter, St Michael North suffered their fourth straight loss against St Michael North East who won comfortably 3-0.
St Michael North began their own demise when they gave North East a 1-0 lead that resulted from an own goal which came off the boot of defender Donte Alleyne in the fifth minute. North East increased their momentum with two more goals from Codeve Sobers and Jadon McCollin in the 51st and 57th minutes respectively.