Seon Shippley netted the lone goal as Naparima College edged San Juan North Secondary 1-0 to move to within a point of retaining their Shell/First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premiership Division title at Lewis Street, San Fernando, yesterday.
With the win, Naparima moved to 33 points from 13 matches on the 15-team table, four ahead of St Anthony’s College, while Presentation stayed third despite dropping two valuable points in a 1-1 draw with lowly-placed Malick Secondary.
Presentation College still have an outside chance of claiming the title but must beat Queen’s Royal College in their rescheduled match on Wednesday ahead of the final round when they meet St Anthony’s College next Saturday.
However, Naparima, who face QRC in their final match on Saturday, will need only a point from that match to be certain of repeating as champions.
Yesterday at Lewis Street, Naparima started the brighter of both teams and wasted a great chance for the lead inside the first ten minutes when Ezekiel Kesar guided a close-range effort at the back post overbar.
However, in the 26th minute Shippley made no mistake when he capitalised on some sloppy play by sturdy defender Elisha Garcia, who left his goalie Emmanuel John stranded inside the six-metre box, leaving Shippley with the easy task of slotting into an open net for a 1-0 lead.
A minute before the half-time whistle, San Juan North, who were causing Naparima some problems with their direct play, almost drew level when Christon Mitchell broke into the 18-yard box only to see his left-footed effort back across goa kept out by Naps goalkeeper Levi Fernandez to preserve his team’s lead at the interval.
With the sun blazing down on the uneven surface, both teams struggled to pick up the pace in the second-period until Naparima midfielder Molik Khan’s right-footed effort was parried away by John in the 55th minute.
Within the blink of an eye, it was San Juan North’s turn to squander a glaring chance when talisman Renaldo Boyce’s sliding effort at the far post from a pin-point Isaiah Chase right-sided cross skimmed off the cross-bar.
Naparima substitute Isa Bramble then wasted a golden chance to double his team’s lead when he blasted wide of the target after being put through on goal inside the 18-yard box by a clever chipped pass from Shoaib Khan.
With nine minutes left in the match, Nathaniel Perouse then tried his luck from distance but his dipping right-footed volley was tipped onto the left post by a diving John before being cleared.
San Juan North then had one last chance to get a share of the points from a corner deep into time added on. However, Chase and Mitchell got into each other’s way to let the hosts off the hook and now within touching distance of another national league title.
At the other end of the table, Trinity College Moka joined fellow North Zone team St Mary’s College as the teams relegated after a 1-0 loss to Trinity College East at Maraval, with Romario Mahabir the player on target.
With one match left to play, Trinity Moka has seven points and are in 14th spot, six adrift of Malick Secondary.
NAPARIMA 1 (Seon Shippley 26th) v SAN JUAN NORTH 0
ST ANTHONY’S 4 (Jean-Heem Mc Fee 2, Kiron Manswell, Kai Phillip) v CARAPICHAIMA 2 (Resean Britto, D Neils)
EAST MUCURAPO 3 (Daniel Davis 3) v ST AUGUSTINE 2 (Tyrese Spicer, Tyreek York)
MALICK 1 (Nickell Alexander) v PRESENTATION 1 (Jardel Sinclair)
SPEYSIDE 1 (Adriel George) v ST MARY’S 0
TRINITY EAST 1 (Romaro Mahabir) v TRINITY MOKA 0
ST BENEDICT’S 1 (Jaheem Joseph) v PLEASANTVILLE 0
LATEST TEAM STANDINGS
3*Presentation San F’do*12*8*1*3*27*7*+20*27
6*San Juan North*13*6*5*2*30*11*+19*20
All kick off at 3.30pm
Wednesday, October 30:
East Mucurapo v Speyside, Fatima Grd, Mucurapo Road
Pleasantville v St Augustine, Yolande Pompey Grd, Pleasantville
St Mary’s vs Trinity Moka, St Mary’s Grd, St Clair
Presentation v QRC, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella
Trinity East v Carapichaima East, Trinity East
Saturday, November 2:
QRC v Naparima, QRC Grd, St Clair
St Anthony’s v Presentation, Westmoorings
St Benedict’s v San Juan North, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella
SOURCE: T&T Guardian