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New­com­ers to the Pre­mier Di­vi­sion of the Sec­ondary Schools Foot­ball League (SS­FL) Va­len­cia Sec­ondary re­ceived a bap­tism of fire in its open­ing match yes­ter­day at the Mar­vin Lee Sta­di­um in Ma­coya, go­ing down 0-3 to an ex­pe­ri­enced and well-oiled ma­chine in San Juan North Sec­ondary in the first game of a dou­ble­head­er.

Isa­iah Chase, Jer­ry Mor­ris and the pro­lif­ic Re­nal­do Boyce all beat Va­len­cia cus­to­di­an Ezekiel De Souza will bril­liant strikes, but it was more the team's com­bined ef­forts that stood out, cou­pled with the in­ex­pe­ri­ence of the Va­len­cia play­ers, all whom held the ball for un­nec­es­sar­i­ly long pe­ri­ods that of­ten land­ed them in prob­lems.

The game was just 15 min­utes old when Chase broke the Va­len­cia off-side trap and gal­loped on to a through ball be­fore lob­bing an on­rush­ing De Souza for the open­er. San Juan, the de­throned Co­ca Co­la In­ter­Col cham­pi­ons in 2017, showed their ex­pe­ri­ence by keep­ing the ball for long pe­ri­ods and launch­ing strate­gic at­tacks which led to its sec­ond goal.

Strik­er Mor­ris, who taunt­ed the Va­len­cia de­fence in the ear­ly mo­ments, was lat­er gift­ed his goal when de­fend­er Jerome Ar­rindell fum­bled the ball in the back and al­lowed Mor­ris to race clear of the de­fence on the right side be­fore fir­ing pow­er­ful­ly past De Souza to the far post in the 27th minute.

De­spite the in­ex­pe­ri­ence of its play­ers, how­ev­er, Va­len­cia had on­ly it­self to blame as play­ers seem more con­cerned with self-glo­ry, fail­ing to re­lease the ball in-spite of near­by sup­port. Oth­er­wise, they may well have a team to trou­ble their op­po­nents this sea­son.

Strik­er Dwight Yorke, one of just a few play­ers in the Va­len­cia ros­ter with star-stud­ded names, showed why the east­ern­ers can be a po­ten­tial threat when he was picked out un­marked out­side the San Juan area. The tal­ent­ed strik­er elud­ed two de­fend­ers on his way to goal but found him­self on his un­favoured right foot and fired a tame shot that did not trou­ble the San Juan goalie.

San Juan went to the break with a com­fort­able 2-0 ad­van­tage but when the match re­sumed, they re­ceived a scare when Yorke's long-range shot can­noned off the cross­bar be­fore bounc­ing to safe­ty.

San Juan could have put the game be­yond their op­po­nents reach, as they cre­at­ed a num­ber of chances that went a beg­ging.

They even­tu­al­ly sealed the win in the 72nd minute. Boyce, the school's lead­ing strik­er last year, pow­ered his way past two mark­ers in the cen­tre of the pitch, be­fore his blis­ter­ing low dri­ve flew past De Souza for max­i­mum points in the game.

The fea­tured match be­tween St Bene­dict's Col­lege and Trin­i­ty Col­lege east end­ed in a goal-less draw.

RELATED NEWS

San Juan brush newcomers Valencia aside.
By Stephon Nicholas (Newsday).


SAN JUAN North Secondary took an early lead in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division standings after defeating newly promoted Valencia Secondary 3-0 in the first match of the competition yesterday.

The match preceded a goalless draw between Trinity College East Secondary and St Benedict’s College. Both matches played back-to-back at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya.

The first fixture saw San Juan North, one of the favourites to win the division, finish comfortable winners after a 2-0 half-time lead.

Isaiah Chase opened in the 15th minute before Jerry Morris doubled up just over 10 minutes later. The result was sealed in the 72nd minute when San Juan North captain Renaldo Boyce made it 3-0.

Only two matches were played yesterday. The remaining fixtures will be played on Saturday. The five matches are carded to kick off at 3.40 pm.

Last season’s Premier Division winners Presentation College San Fernando kick off their defence of the title against Trinity College Moka at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.

Carapichaima East Secondary are on a bye for the opening round.

Results:

San Juan North Sec­ondary 3 (Isaiah Chase 15th, Jerry Morris 27th, Renaldo Boyce 72nd) vs Valencia Secondary 0.

Trin­i­ty Col­lege East 0 vs St Bene­dict’s Col­lege 0.

Sat­ur­day’s fixtures:

Fa­ti­ma Col­lege vs Bish­op’s High, Fa­ti­ma Col­lege Ground, Mu­cu­rapo, 3.40 pm

Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege vs Trin­i­ty Col­lege Mo­ka, Man­nie Ramjohn Sta­di­um, Mara­bel­la, 3.40 pm

Queen’s Roy­al Col­lege vs East Mu­cu­rapo Sec­ondary, QRC Ground, 3.40 pm

St An­tho­ny’s Col­lege vs St Au­gus­tine Sec­ondary, St An­tho­ny’s Col­lege Ground, 3.40 pm

St Mary’s Col­lege vs Na­pari­ma Col­lege, St Mary’s Col­lege Ground, 3.40 pm.