DIGICEL FOOTBALL: Annai pull off miraculous 7-5 comeback
- Chase to defend title in Digicel Football final
By Treiston Joseph
Annai Secondary and DC Caesar Fox Secondary, better known as Waramadong Secondary, had one of the best football matches of the year with the former pulling off a 7-5 comeback win on Thursday evening in the Digicel Nationwide School Football Tournament at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora.
It was one of the better attacking games of the entire year with both sides showing off their attacking and on-ball skills. However, DC Caesar Fox took the initiative in the first half scoring four unanswered goals in the first 30 minutes.
Reon McNaughton stunned Annai with back-to-back goals in the fourth and 12th minutes, while Alvon Hunter tripled the lead with a goal in the 16th minute.
Nadir Walker’s goal in the 28th minute definitely seemed like the game was over for Annai, who kept playing a high defensive back line above the half line that allowed DC Caesar Fox to get in the open field, ending with one-on-one situations with Annai’s custodian. Sherral Daniels and Naidison Daniels would score back-to-back goals for Annai to end the first half 4-2.
The second half opened with DC Caesar Fox adding to their lead in the 56th minute with a goal from Javin Castro, but the game felt far from over with Annai starting play more positive football that began with a goal in the 59th minute from Naidison.
Vasco Cabral decreased the lead with a strike in the 74th minute, while Naidison equalised with a long range bomb in the 75th minute to put the game 5-5. With the 90th minute mark reached and the referee signaling four minutes added time, Orville Daniels sunk a curler in the 90+2 to take the lead for Annai, stunning the Region Seven based school.
Sherral then drove the nail home with a screamer in the 90+3 to send the crowd into frenzy and Annai into the final.
Meanwhile, Chase Academy will have a chance to repeat as champions in the nation’s most prestigious school football tournament when they advanced to the final.
It took a 5-4 sudden death gritted out effort by Chase after a 2-2 regulation ending against Christianburg Wismar.
The loss for Christianburg Wismar means that it will be the first final they will miss in the seven-year history of the tournament. The game started at a moderate pace as the two 2016 finalists looked for areas and weaknesses to capitalise in an effort to score.
Jeremy Garrett opened the scoring for Chase with a free kick that took a deflection off a defender and troubled the net in the 26th minute. Christianburg did not take long to respond with an Omar Brewley goal that curled into the top right hand corner from a free kick in the 37th minute.
Kevin Padmore’s goal just on the stroke of half time gave Chase the 2-1 lead heading into the break with the Linden based side looking a bit flustered. However, Jehu Regis equalised for Christanburg in the 56th minute, which eventually sent the game to penalties.
Chase will now defend their title against Annai, who are in the final for the first time in the tournament’s history, on Sunday, while Christianburg and DC Caesar Fox will play for third. Action is set to kick off at 16:00h at the National Track and Field Centre ground, Leonora.