PLEASANTVILLE Secondary retained its coveted Coca Cola National Girls Intercol title by trumping Signal Hill 3-1, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, on Wednesday.
From as early in as the fifth minute, eventual Player of the Match Tsai-Anne Fernandez, sent the defending champions ahead after rifling home a freekick past Signal Hill custodian, Aaliyah Alexander, just outside the penalty box. Although the Tobago backline of Jelese Alexander, Derisha Bristol and Tamia Alfred towered over Pleasantville’s petite forwards, strikers Alexcia Ali and Aaliyah Pascall capitalised on their low centre of gravity, bobbing and weaving past the trio.
Pleasantville continued to press for an extended lead but Kayla Mallaro handed up a golden opportunity minutes later, one on one against Alexander, shooting wide. Signal Hill, though, capitalised on their few and far between opportunities via Tiahj Crichlow, who squeezed past Pleasantville’s defender to slot away and level the play field minutes before the half time period.
At the resumption, Signal Hill returned with a rejuvenated spirit and sought to put pressure on the defending champions. Pleasantville however, continued to defend well and control the midfield while Ali and Pascall searched for the go-ahead goal. In the 72nd minute, Krissy Mitchell broke the deadlock in similar fashion, smashing home a well-hit free kick into the right corner.
Signal Hill showed signs of promise in the remaining minutes but Ali would seal the deal for the South squad, finding the back of the net with just two minutes to go. As the final whistle sounded, the Pleasantville girls and their vociferous supporters erupted in celebration as coach Brian London punched the air.
Speaking with the victorious coach after his team’s well-worked win, London was elated to see his squad’s hard work pay off after such a hectic season of football.
“It’s a very important win for us because we set goals to retain the title. The Big Five was one of our targets and even though we did not win there, we will settle for the League and National Intercol this time around. The team put in a lot of work in training and did a lot of free kicks. Those free kick sessions definitely paid off today. It’s good to see the fruits of our labours. Our programme is doing well and we will continue working with the younger players to step up and hold the reigns,” said London with a huge smile.
Meanwhile, Player of the Match Fernandez, expressed elation with the team’s overall performance. After receiving her award, Fernandez maintained her composure and was pleased to get past the Tobagonians, who ousted the southerners in this year’s Big Five final.
“This is my first year playing for Pleasantville and it was indeed a pleasure to see us win today. It was a tough game for us because they (Signal Hill) beat us in this year’s Big Five final, so we know they would be no run over. We really wanted to ensure the title stayed at our school. I must say thank you to our coaching staff and everyone who contributed to our success today. The girls deserve it,” stated Fernandez.