A 90th+1 minute strike from Duquand Gomes propelled Mahaicony Secondary to a 2-1 victory against Belladrum Secondary, when the 7th annual Digicel Schools Football Championship, continued yesterday.
With the score locked 1-1 at the Paradise ground, West Coast Berbice, Gomes made his presence felt with a lobbed shot from 34 yards out in the centre of the field into the empty net after the custodian rushed out of the penalty box and saved an initial effort.
Prior to the dramatic end, Mahaicony dominated the opening period, recording several opportunities that consistently lacked the finishing touch in front of a large, partisan crowd.
Nebert Sear should have broken the deadlock for the visitors in the 17th minute, latching onto a right side pass to be in a one-on-one situation, only to fire his effort directly at the goalkeeper.
Next up was Joshua Tappin for Mahaicony in the 24th minute. The burly left-back unleashed a curling free kick from the left side which was parried by the custodian over the crossbar.
Mahaicony eventually took the lead six minutes onwards as Sear scored from the penalty mark. Awarded the spot-kick due to a handball infraction, Sear uncorked a powerful right foot shot into the lower left corner silencing the crowd.
Sear should have made it 2-0 in the 37th minute when he raced into the left side of the box but blasted a powerful shot into the legs of the advancing custodian during a one-on-one situation.
Buoyed by a boisterous crowd, the home side began to dictate the contest following the start of the second period. However, the hosts were constantly thwarted by dogged defending from Mahaicony, who seemed content with protecting their lead.
Nevertheless, Belladrum secured the equaliser in the 75th minute when Ntini Bobb found the back of the net via a penalty kick conversion.
Identical to their foe, Belladrum earned the spot-kick compliments of a handball infringement, with the spot-kick being dispatched calmly into the top left corner by a right foot shot, setting up the fixture for its eventual conclusion.
Action continues today at the venues L’Aventure ground, with West Demerara Secondary opposing L’Aventure at 15:30hrs.
The competition, which is scheduled to conclude on July 31st, will feature more than 120 schools from each of the 10 administrative regions, competing in an elimination format.
Chase Academy is the defending champion, with Christianburg/Wismar the most successful school with four consecutive titles (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) in six successive final appearances.
The other winner of the tourney was Government Technical Institute (GTI) in the inaugural edition (2011). Winner of the event will receive $1,000,000 towards a school project and a trophy.
The second, third and fourth place finishers will collect $700,000, $400,000 and $350,000 towards a school initiative and the respective accolade.