National Under-20 player Lindell Sween scored one and made two others as San Juan North Secondary stunned defending Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division ‘Big-Four’ champions St Benedict’s College 4-3 at San Juan North's Bourg Mulatresse Ground, San Juan, on Wednesday.
The Randolph Boyce-coach St Benedict’s went into the contest brimming with confidence following a 4-3 win over reigning National Inter-Col title-holder Fatima College in the 2023 SSFL NGC Super Cup clash at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, Port-of-Spain on Saturday.
However, it was the host San Juan North who took the lead as early as the fourth minute through Jaheem Danclair, via a tap-in from less than six yards out past goalkeeper Thane Devenish after being picked out by a right-sided centre from QRC-transfer Nathan James.
Against the run of play, St Benedict’s would get on level terms from the in-form Derrel Garcia, the scorer of a hat-trick on Saturday, when his right-footed grounder from just atop the 18-yard box off a rebound sneaked past the outstretched dive of goalkeeper Stephon Langaigne low to his right.
Nine minutes before the interval, Garcia then picked out Jaden Grant with a left-sided cross for an easy-headed finish past Langaigne for a 2-1 lead for the visitors.
However, two minutes before the interval, San Juan North would tie up the scores when Quashie ran onto a through ball from Sween for a lob finish over the advancing Devenish.
In the second half, Sween was again the architect of another San Juan North goal when his left-sided corner was met with a clever first-post header from Jadiel Joseph to restore his team's lead at 3-2 before the former scored a contender for the goal of the season, connecting with a strike on his weaker right foot which whisked past the desperate dive of Devenish, and into the top left-hand corner of the net to cap off a stellar display.
At the other end, St Benedict’s still harboured hopes of pulling out a point from the contest and managed to reduce the deficit in the 81st minute when substitute Daniel Jones glanced home a header off a free kick but in the end, San Juan North held on for the deserved win against the 'La Romaine Lions'.
Down at Fatima College Ground, Mucurapo Road, the Hutson “Barber” Charles-coached Fatima College, who ended their 17-year-old National Inter-Col drought last year with a 1-0 win over St Benedict’s in the final and also won the North Zone Inter-Col shrugged off their loss from Saturday with an emphatic 7-0 trashing of zonal rivals St Anthony’s College inspired by a hat-trick from Michael Chaves, while four-time league winners Naparima College mauled Chaguanas North Secondary 10-0 led by a hat-trick from Kanye Francis, the second of three on the day to kick start this year’s competition at Lewis Street, San Fernando.
At the Yolande Pompey Recreation Ground, Ryan Radellant scored the other hat-trick on the day as visitors St Mary’s College promoted as Championship Division winners, clobbered Pleasantville Secondary 8–0.
In the other matches, East Mucurapo Secondary got two goals from Clint Lutchman to edge past East Inter-Col champion Trinity East College 2-1 at Trincity, Malick Secondary whipped Queen’s Royal College 3-1 in a battle of former powerhouses at St Mary’s College (CIC) Ground, Serpentine Road.
Another former national champion Arima North Secondary ‘Dial Dynamos’ and Presentation College of San Fernando drew goalless at the Arima Municipal Stadium.
And in the late match over in Tobago at the Speyside Recreation Ground, Speyside High got the better of Bishop’s High 3-1 in an all-Tobago match-up with goals from N'Kosi Quashie twice from the penalty spot in the 40th, and 90+6, and Shyon George in the 56th cancelling out Damario Henry's 65th-minute reply. The second round of matches takes place on Saturday (September 16) nationwide.
Fatima College 7 (Michael Chaves 3, Aiden De Gannes, Kade Collier, Jaden Williams, Johnny Mason) vs St Anthony’s College 0
Malick Sec 3 (Oba Samuel 36th, Isaiah David 39th, Jordan Ferdinand 83rd) vs Queen's Royal College 1 (Micah Nelson 60th)
Arima North Sec 0 vs Presentation College 0
Naparima College 10 (Kanye Francis 3, Jabari Forbes, Akiel Vesprey, Tevin Pantor, Josiah Cooper, Jkwon Bailey, Xarion France, Nathaniel O’Garro pen) vs Chaguanas North Sec 0
St Mary’s College 8 (Ryan Radellant 3, Kyle Phillip 2, Elijah Wong 2, Alejandro Harper) vs Pleasantville Sec 0
San Juan North Sec 4 (Jaheem Danclair 4th, Nathan Quashie 43rd, Jadiel Joseph 65, Lindell Sween 74th) vs St Benedict’s College 3 (Derrel Garcia 19th, Jaden Grant 36th , Daniel Jones 81st)
East Mucurapo 2 (Clint Lutchman 2) vs Trinity East 1 (Khaleem Prince)
Speyside 3 (N'Kosi Quashie 40th pen, 90+6 pen, Shyon George 56th) vs Bishop’s High 1 (Damario Henry 65th).