-will face GTI
Wismar Christianburg Multilateral and the Government Technical Institute will contest the final of the inaugural 2011 Digicel Schools football championships, after securing semi-final victories at the GCC Ground Bourda yesterday.
Wismar Christianburg’s path to final was secured via a tense penalty shootout which they won 3-2, after the game had finished 3-3 in the regulation 90 minutes. Government Technical Institute (GTI) defeated their Berbice counterparts, New Amsterdam Technical Institute (NATI) 3-2 in another exciting encounter.
In the exciting opening semi-final, the Wismar side came from behind in normal time in a game that ebbed and flow dramatically, to secure a penalty victory which silenced Waramadong players and their fans who flocked the Rohan Kanhai stand.
The Waramadong side playing with their common attacking minded 4-2-4 formation compared to the orthodox 4-4-2 from their opponents saw a nervy opening 10 minutes, as both sides gave away possession carelessly.
However it was Wismar who drew first blood, when in the 12th minute, striker Clarence Huggins slammed a magnificent weighted cross from his left-winger into the box with his back to goal. He then collected himself brilliantly to turn and bury his team’s opener towards the Lance Gibbs stand end.
From this moment on, Wismar took control of the game as they began to pass the Waramsdong side in dizzying fashion, with slick possession football and counter-attacking play.
They really should have doubled their lead in the 28th minute, when captain and star player, Trenton Lashley in a majestic piece of skill, cutting in from the right-wing eluded three Waramadong defenders and with just the goal-keeper to beat – slammed his shot over the bar, to the disgust of his team-mates and the crowd in the GCC Pavilion.
During this period, Waramadong’s coach seeing his team’s early struggles made the brave choice to replace both his central defensive mid-fielders in the 23rd and 28th minute, and replace them with more attacking minded mid-fielders.
That seemed to be a master-stroke as almost immediately, totally against the run of play with those substitutes, Sean Ambrose sent a lovely through-ball onto the path of hat-trick hero from the previous game – Tyson McNaughton who gleefully scored the equalizer in the 31st minute.
It was pandemonium as that goal sent the Waramadong fans in the Rohan Kanhai stand into a frenzy.
Momentum now was beginning to swing the way of the Region 7 boys, as astute wing play with their four attackers up front, was finding holes all over the Wismar defensive line.
Substitute Ambrose again made an impact as in the 41st minute standing over a free-kick just outside of the box. He sent a wonderfully executed free-kick over the Wismar wall, which truly stunned everyone.
Ambrose was not finished as he sent Waramadong into the half-time 3-1 up via intricate passing inside of box between himself and 4 other players which dragged the Wismar defence left and right, before he finished off a lovely finessed shot.
Going into half-time with such dominance it was hard to see how Waramadong could lose.
But whether it was player tiredness or tactical advice from the coach, the Waramadong side seemed content to sit on their half-time lead in true “Catennacio” style as Italian football enthusiasts would say and look to break on the counter-attack via defensive errors from Wismar.
But that’s not how Waramadong had played all competition and that defensive football was eventually breached in the 80th minute, when Wismar right-winger Allan Halley sent in a perfect cross, that the striker just had to direct past the sprawling 13 year old Waramadong Gerald Isaacs jr, who had impressive saves for the majority of the 2nd half.
The equation was set for Wismar 10 minutes to play – 2 goals win or 1 goal to take it to penalties.
Slight controversy occurred in the dying minutes of regulation time, specifically the 89th minute as the referee stopped the game for about 5 minutes as the floodlights had to be lit. Not to make it an excuse but that break clearly broke Waramadong’s concentration as they were doing a good job in general defensively in the last 10 minutes, to hold onto their slender advantage.
Almost immediately after that resumption in the 92nd minute, a long ball from the Wismar goal-keeper which really should have been cleared by the Waramadong defence was fumbled and central defender Omeion Wills coming forward picked up the lose ball, and equalized, as he ran towards his team-mates ecstatically.
Striker Huggins showed have really sealed the deal for his side in the final minute of extra time, with the goal to his mercy, he blasted a shot straight into the Kanhai stand.
In the penalty shootout both sides took weak technical penalties as both sides’ players were guilty of chipping the ball over the goal, instead of placing it. But eventually Wismar got more shots on target to come out 3-2 winners to advance to Sunday’s final.
The victorious Wismar Multilateral coach at the end said…`The boys were very nervous in the 1st time. I suspect that was due to the fact that they were not accustomed to playing on such a small field today, since we usually play on a much bigger field back home at the Mackenzie Sports Club. But my team showed great grit and determination to come back in the 2nd half and we won thanks to favour from god – I have a hard fighting team and a strong praying team and we dedicate this victory to the almighty`.
In second semi-final cleverly dubbed the “The Battle of the Technical Institutes”. It was the Georgetown side led by a double strike by national under-23 player Ian Allen, which prevailed 3-2 in another exciting encounter over their Berbice counterparts.
Goals from Allen in the 25th and 56th minute and Jermaine Junior in the 76th minute sealed it for the town side. While a double strike also from Devon James in the 19th and 73rd minute responded for the losing boys from the Ancient County.