Sun, Jul

‘Gustine’ stop U-15 nationals

It’s not every day that the enticement of free treats is used to spur a team on to victory. But, that was the enticement offered by resident pie man and match announcer “Mr Piey” to the St Augustine Girls after their 2-0 victory over the Under-15 national women’s team on Saturday, in a Women’s League Football (WoLF) Premier Division match, at St Augustine Senior Comprehensive ground.

 Athiyah Penco gave the home team a 1-0 half-time lead, before the captain Deniece Fritz sealed a tight match by putting the ball in off the underside of the crossbar, when striking a short-taken corner from just outside the penalty box. 

Between goals, Alexis Fortune broke through and looked set to equalise early into the second half, until very capable “Gustine” keeper Nicolette Craig brought off a fine stop. 

Craig also blocked prolific goal-scorer Laurelle Theodore, who was briefly injured when getting off a shot, despite heavy defensive pressure. And the St Augustine goalie also went diving low to her first post to keep out Aichelle Peters’ shot.

At the other end, national youth keeper Malaika Dedier could do nothing when Fritz’s shot came down off the crossbar into the goal, but she was in the right position when Shinelle Arjoon broke through the centre of the penalty area and got off a shot.

Players included, just about 100 people turned up at the East venue for early season action in the women’s competition which is just into its second week. The women’s competition officially kicked off on May 24, with 17 teams, nine of them competing in the the Premier Division.

Following the trend of several former national women youth teams, the Rajesh Latchoo-trained U-15’s are getting valuable match practice against older opponents as part of their preparation for international competition. The junior Soca Princesses were coming off an opening 3-1 victory over Trincity Nationals last week, while St Augustine were held goal-less by St Ann’s Rangers in their season opener.

Leading the national footballers was prolific schoolgirl footballer Laurelle “Bound To Score” Theodore, who led St Augustine to a clean sweep of last season’s Secondary Schools titles and was one of the top five schoolgirl footballers of 2013.

The young nationals had a fair share of the match and pressed for long period of the first half, but failed to breach the suffocating defence of the older “Gustine” team, trained by former national women’s player Desiree Seargent. But she was double and triple-teamed, and struggled to break a defensive deadlock from the older St Augustine team. 

Under-15 defenders Natash John and Abisha Guy both put in a solid shift. Kedie Johnson looked capable going forward, while Alexis Fortune added some penetration and punch to the attack after coming on the left wing. Meanwhile, excelling for St Augustine was the capable T&T national Under-17 goalie Nicolette Craig and her defenders, especially the captain Fritz—selected on the 2012 Women’s League Team of the Year. 

Carissa Romero launched many attacks from midfield and U-20 national Shinelle Arjoon was a constant threat up front. Having worked so hard for victory, St Augustine also had a promised reward to look forward to. “Free pies and drinks for everyone this week, Monday to Friday,” Piey promised. “And although Miss Theodore was on the losing side, we will give her a free pie, too.”