The atmosphere at the ET Willet Park on Wednesday 23rd December, was nothing short of ELECTRIC, as Craddock Road engaged St.Thomas’ in the finals of the inaugural under 17 Football tournament, sponsored by Sl Horsfords and Company Ltd and hosted and coordinated by the Youth and Sports department.
It was a much anticipated game, as it not only matched the two top teams in the tournament, but also pitted the two top goalies in Hassan Harvey of St.Thomas’ and Zakeese Smith of Craddock Road, against each other and further pitted the two leading goal scorers in Ammani Williams and Javani Tyson against each other.
Both goalies were severely tested during the 90 minutes of regular time, but to their credit, the score remained at nil-all when referee Virgo blew the final whistle.
In the first ten minutes of extra time, Craddock Road converted and the celebrations suggested that they thought that they had the trophy in the bag already.
However, St.Thomas’ equalized during the second ten minutes of extra time, via a penalty.
It therefore came down to penalty kicks to determine the champion team.
The first kick was taken by St.Thomas’ and that one was stopped by an elated goalie, Zakeese Smith.
The second kick was taken by Zakeese himself, who promptly struck the back of the net.
Top goal scorer of the tournament, Ammani Williams, stepped up to the plate, and sent the ball away from the upright, much to the jubilation of the Craddock Road supporters.
Craddock Road then took the next kick and the ball was sent over the head of goalie, Hassan Harvey, into the back of the net.
Craddock Road leading 2 goals to nil
St.Thomas’ took the next kick and the ball was sent to the right of a diving Zakeese Smith, into the net.
Craddock Road 2 St.Thomas’ 1
Javani Tyson for the Craddock Road team then sent in a low hard kick to the left of goalie Harvey and converted
Craddock Road 3 St.Thomas’ 1
Marcus Dubbery then stepped forward for St.Thomas’. He had to score to keep his team in the game and he nonchalantly kicked it low and to the right of Zakeese Smith, who could only watch it go in.
Craddock Road 3 St.Thomas’ 2. Match on…if only Hassan Harvey could stop the next kick.
The ET Willet Park was on edge as the Craddock Road striker moved towards the ball.
After he kicked the ball, the response from the Craddock Road fans was tumultuous. He had placed it neatly over the head of a falling Hasan Harvey. The Craddock Road team had indeed done it ‘for Philo.’
The fans raced onto the field to celebrate with the young players. Craddock Road had won the grand finals on penalty kicks with a score line of 4 goals to 2.
Earlier, in the first game of the afternoon, the supportive fans were treated to another intriguing contest for third place as the Gingerland team engaged Bath.
Gingerland struck the back of the net first, but Bath responded shortly thereafter with a goal of their own.
Gingerland then converted twice more, to take an emphatic lead of 3 goals to 1.
However, the Bath team responded towards the latter end of the second half with another goal and the game was intriguingly poised at 3 goals to 2.
The Gingerland defense managed to keep them at bay, until the final whistle and secured the third place in the tournament, winning the game with a 3 goals to 2 score line.
At the brief closing and awards ceremony held immediately after the finals, the following awards were presented:
CJ Parris-best defender of the tournament
Best Striker—Ammani Williams
Best goalkeeper-Zakeese Smith
Impact players: Hassan Harvey-St.Thomas’ and Ardie Liburd of Craddock Road
MVP of the tournament—Romario Daniel of St.Thomas’
Champion team-Craddock Road
The trophies were handed out by Mr. Carlisle BINGHI Pemberton, representing sponsors of the tournament, SL Horsfords.
The vote of thanks was delivered by Miss Shoya Lawrence of the Youth and Sports department