Sensational Annai book blockbuster final with Chase’s
By Akeem Greene
Never say Never! That was the resounding lesson learnt when Annai Secondary staged a remarkable resurgence in their game against Caesar Fox Secondary (commonly called Waramadong), coming from four goals down to defeat DC seven goals to five and set up what is expected to be a thrilling final with Chase’s Academic Foundation in the seventh staging of the Digicel Schools Football Championships.
It was a 12-goal thriller that will long be remembered by those who attended the National Track and Field Facility at Leonora, WCD on Thursday, as Annai orchestrated the greatest of heists to be seen in school football.
Waramadong seemed to have the game in the bag, taking a 4-2 lead at half time, courtesy of goals from Reon McNaughton (4th &12th), Alvon Hunter (16th) and Nadir Walker (28th) . Their joy was short-lived though, as the duo of Sherral and Nadison Daniels wove their way to skillful goals in the 35th and 39th minutes respectively, to bring the sizable viewership on the edge of their seats with non-stop pulsating action.
The second half proved to be a fulfillment of breathtaking action, with no one left seated, but rather jumping and shouting support for their respective teams.
Javin Castro reasserted Waramadong’s dominance at that stage with a goal in the 56th which set the stage for a proliferation of masterfully compiled goals by the Region Nine unit.
Annai, who were guilty of playing with a high backline, found smooth riddim when Vasco Cabral’s right-foot bullet flew past an unmoved keeper. The equalizer by Daniels one minute later sent the crowd into a frenzy. Naidison curled the ball with his left foot from the edge of the box in a bauty to behold.
National player Orville Daniels then scored a jaw-dropping goal, taking aim from around 35 yards to place the ball perfectly to the diving keepers left in the 92nd minute.
Whittaker Paul then hammered the final nail in the coffin with his powerful right-foot shot from inside the penalty area in the 93rd minute.
Chase in another final
Defending champions Chase’s Academic Foundation booked their third consecutive final by defeating arch rivals Christianburg/Wismar Secondary 5-4 on sudden death penalty kicks.
The first semi-final was what many had hoped to be a final, and it certainly proved to be wholesome entertainment, with the score ending 2-2. Captain Jermey Garrett made the first impression in the 26th with his powerful right shot which took a deflection into goal. Eleven minutes later, the Linden unit, which held the title for four consecutive years, levelled the scores in stupendous fashion via an Omar Bewley free-kick.
On the brink of half time, Kevin Padmore intercepted a pass from the right flank to head his team in the lead. It set the stage for intriguing second half. With possession swinging between both teams and numerous chances left wanting, Jehu Regis brought the match level once more, courtesy of a defensive blunder in the 56th minute.
The penalty shootout had both sides on their nerves. The Linden unit took the first shot and sent it wide. Both sides then kept it perfect until Chase missed fourth kick, courtesy of acrobatic goal keeping.
The sudden death saw Linden making another mishap, which caused them the match.
The champion team is set to win the coveted championship trophy and $1,000,000, which goes towards a school project of their choice.
Second to fourth placed teams will win the corresponding accolade and $700,000, $400,000 and $350,000 respectively, for a school project of their choice.
Sunday’s final will be played at the aforementioned venue with the third-place play-off starting at 16:00 hrs and the final from 18:00 hrs.