Pleasantville Secondary were crowned champions of the 2023 Coca-Cola girls' national Intercol competition on Thursday, after they got an exciting 2-1 victory over Miracle Ministries Pentecostal High School in the final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo.
The South Zone championship division and Intercol winners Pleasantville scored the opening goal of the game through national youth player Nikita Gosine in just the second minute. Although Miracle Ministries quickly drew level through a fine free kick by Jewel Benjamin in the tenth minute, Pleasantville dominated the balance of the game and thoroughly deserved their win.
In an entertaining and sometimes chaotic finale, the Pleasantville team launched attack after attack at Kimberlynn Rampersad's Miracle Ministries goal. For the most part, Rampersad was up to the task as she saved several shots from the Pleasantville players, with Gosine and captain Tayeann Wylie trying their luck from any distance imaginable.
Inside the first 15 minutes, Wylie demonstrated her shooting ability, as she sent a thunderous right-footed shot off the bar and another rasping hit that went agonisingly wide.
Although her Pleasantville team looked dangerous in the attacking third with each foray forward, the South team's goalkeeper also earned her keep between the sticks. In the 17th minute, custodian Janike Ramoutar produced a fine save to deny a firm volley by Miracle Ministries' Shre Dudley.
Rampersad was quickly becoming a thorn in Pleasantville's side, and the pattern of the game was quickly established. Pleasantville would assume control of the ball and look for the gifted pair of Gosine and Wylie in attack, and both girls did their utmost to test Rampersad's reflexes.
A breakneck first half seemed to take its toll on the Miracle Ministries players, and Pleasantville came out in a relentless manner in the second half.
In the 45th minute, Rampersad reacted sharply to stop a pair of point-blank shots by a frustrated Gosine. Seven minutes later, Rampersad flew across her goal to stop a low drive by Wylie.
Miracle Ministries' defence was wilting under the pressure, and Rampersad could not be expected to keep Pleasantville at bay for the entire second half. In the 53rd minute, the defining moment came as Gosine bolted past the entire Miracle Ministries backline with a single push as she showed off her rapid turn of pace. Her finish was even better, as she thumped a right-footed effort into the roof of the net to beat the advancing Rampersad and notch her second goal of the game.
The Miracle Ministries goalkeeper could have no shame in her efforts, and her brilliance between the sticks left the door open for the Central zone champions at the other end.
In the 64th minute, Benjamin lined up a free kick from way out on the left flank, and her booming hit left Ramoutar a spectator as it thumped into the bar.
Miracle Ministries could not muster an equaliser though, and with Gosine almost operating as a last-stopper for Pleasantville in the closing 20 minutes, she ensured Ramoutar was free of danger at the back.
On at least two occasions, the 13-year-old Gosine showed her versatility as she smartly played her way out of trouble. Deep into stoppage time, at least one Miracle Ministries player seemed to have had enough of Gosine's input — with Gabriella Lezama receiving a straight red card for dissent after squaring off with Gosine near the half line.
The Pleasantville attacker-turned-defender received a yellow card from referee Cecile Hinds, but her contributions in front of goal were clearly more meaningful on the day.
Another national intercol crown is in the bag for Pleasantville.
As the Pleasantville supporting posse sang: Who is the boss in charge of we? God is the boss in charge of we!