St Leonard's footballers celebrating their double crown after winning the Knockout title yesterday. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
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ST LEONARD’S Boys’ are the undisputed kings of schools’ football.
The Richmond Gap boys held their nerves to edge a spirited Alexandra 2-1 in the final of the Coca Cola Barbados Secondary Schools Football League Knockout Tournament at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex yesterday evening.
The victory gave the traditionally strong St Leonard’s the coveted double crown after they also won the league title earlier this year.
Two first-half goals from the opportunist Dishon Howell and the talented Thierry Gale drove St Leonard’s to victory over Alexandra, whose lone goal came from the boot of Micah Boyce in the 69th minute.
The game was one where the possession was almost even, but St Leonard’s made more meaningful chances at the net.
For the Alexandra team, it was a hard fought battle in the second half which eventually ended in them running out of time to get the equaliser and possibly send the match into extra time.
Howell led from the front, scoring in the ninth minute with the type of build-up play which would have made their coach Fabian Massiah very proud.
The rookie senior Barbados footballer, who marked his international debut with a match-winning late double strike against Bermuda, hit home from just outside the 18-yard box after cutting in from the right side.
Shortly after, he made another attempt at goal but the ball rolled too far ahead of him.
“The coach wanted us to build the ball, take it wide and then bring it in and I slipped through and got the first goal,” Howell told MIDWEEK SPORT after the game.
“It was challenging because we had to work for it [victory] and we knew we had to come out and do what the coach tell us to do and don’t panic nor break down,” he noted.
Gale, also a national junior player, made it 2-0 in the 25th minute when he pounced on a rebound after teammate Shaquannie Phillips had rattled the upright.
He brought back memories of his father Dwayne Gale, the former Paradise and Barbados striker, as he confidently drilled his shot past Alexandra’s imposing custodian Nathaniel Knight, also a Barbados Under-17 representative.
Alexandra, with national Under-17 players Jaylan Gilkes; Abiola Grant and substitute Nazario Adamson in their line-up, unfortunately had to substitute Zavier Nedd early in the second half.
Nedd, the son of former Barbados goalkeeper Horace Stoute, fell awkwardly and appeared to fracture his arm.
Despite the setback, Alexandra continued to pressure St Leonard’s with goalkeeper Nashton Browne barely getting his finger tips to deflect a shot from Andre Clarke onto the right post.
Alexandra managed to pull back a goal in the 69th minute when Grant played a ball from the right side across the edge of the 18-yard box which was missed by Clarke.
But Micah Boyce was on hand and quickly swiveled before unleashing a powerful right foot shot, which sailed past Browne into the roof of the nets.
Gale could’ve restored St Leonard’s two-goal advantage but shot wide after getting away down the right side.
Even with a whopping eight minutes injury time added on, mainly because of Nedd’s injury, which required on-the-field attention, Alexandra tried desperately, but were unable to get the equaliser. (RG/EZS)