Jemon Gulston scored the lone goal as East Mucurapo Secondary kept defending Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division ‘Big-Four’ champions St Benedict’s College without a point after two matches, going down 1-0 in their clash at the Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin on Saturday.
Gulston got the decisive item in the 84th minute as the Dale Saunders-coached East Mucurapo Secondary School improved to a maximum of six points after two matches.
East Mucurapo Secondary School defeated Trinity Collge East 2-1 in their season opener, while St Benedict’s College which is coached by Randolph Boyce and beaten 4-3 at San Juan North Secondary to start the season remained without a point.
Over in Tobago at the Speyside Recreation, Fatima College kept pace with its Mucurapo Road neighbours ahead of their clash on Wednesday, with a 1-0 win over host Speyside Secondary thanks to a second-half strike from Aiden De Gannes, his second goal in as many matches.
At Bourg Mulatresse Ground, San Juan, the quartet of Jaheem Danclair, Lindell Sween, captain Joshua Lewis (penalty), and Nathan Quashie were all on target as San Juan North Secondary won for the second straight match as well 5-0 over visiting Pleasantville Secondary, who also conceded an own goal.
At St Mary’s College Ground in St Clair, the host was made to pay for squandering several early chances in a 3-2 loss to former champions Naparima College, who now lead the 16-team standings on goal difference from San Juan North, Fatima, and East Mucurapo respectively.
The ‘Saints’ were almost gifted the lead in the seventh minute when Naparima goalkeeper Tyrece Romain mis-controlled a back pass from left back which ‘Saints’ striker Kyle Phillip was alert to, but as soon as he was about to fire on goal, Romain made a timely intervention on his attempt to redirect the effort for a corner.
However, in the 36th minute, the ‘Saints’ finally broke the deadlock when winger Ryan Radellant retrieved a right-sided cross on the far left of the 18-yard box before he wrong-footed two defenders and blasted a right-footed effort past Romain into the left side of the goal for a 1-0 lead.
That lead was short-lived though as defender Jaron Pascal drew the visitors level in the 42nd minute when he eluded two players outside the ‘D’ and skillfully placed a right-footed effort into the bottom left corner of the goal to tie up the score at 1-1.
And a minute into time added-on at the end of the half, Akiel Vesprey fired Naparima ahead for the first time in the contest weaving his way past his marker inside the 18-yard box and cleverly stabbing a right-footed shot past a flat-footed Jabali Doyle in goal for St Mary’s College.
Six minutes into the second half, the Saints almost drew level when Elijah Wong connected with a right-sided cross, but his one-time right-footed shot cannoned off the left post and back into play.
And Wong was made to rue that missed chance six minutes later when substitute Kanye Francis, the scorer of a hat-trick in his team’s opening day 10-0 trashing of Pleasantville Secondary, extended Naparima’s lead to 3-1 by finishing off a one-two move with Jabari Forbes.
Francis then won Naparima a penalty in the 78th minute when he was hacked down in the area leaving referee Crystal Sobers with no choice but to point to the spot, but with a chance to put the game beyond the ‘Saints’, the Naparima striker tried an ill-advised ‘panenka penalty’ which was easily collected by Doyle.
With seven minutes left in the match “Saints’ captain Phillip pulled his team to within one goal when he pounced on a failed headed clearance from a free kick with a one-time volley to beat Romain to set up an interesting final seven minutes of regulation.
At the other end of the field, Francis almost made amends for his missed effort, but his long-range effort was tipped over the bar by Doyle to keep his team in the contest, in the end, the Travis Mulraine-coached Naparima held on for the win, to add to its 10-0 trashing of Pleasantville.
In other matches, there were similar 1-0 wins for Queen’s Royal College, Chaguanas North Secondary, and Presentation College of San Fernando over St Anthony’s College, Bishop’s High School, and Malick Secondary respectively.
And in the late match at the University of T&T Ground, O’Meara Road, Arima, East Zone rivals, Arima North Secondary and reigning zonal Inter-Col champions Trinity College East battled to a 1-1 draw.
Saturday's Premier Division results:
CHAGUANAS NORTH 1 (Nekayse Moore 88th) vs BISHOP’S HIGH 0
FATIMA COLLEGE 1 (Aidan De Gannes) vs SPEYSIDE SEC 0
PRESENTATION COLLEGE 1 (Adah Barclay 37th) vs MALICK SEC 0
QUEEN’S ROYAL COLLEGE 1 (Stephon James 86th) vs ST ANTHONY’S COLLEGE 0
SAN JUAN NORTH SEC 5 (Jaheem Danclair, Lindell Sween, Joshua Lewis pen, Nathan Quashie, own goal) vs PLEASANTVILLE SEC 0
NAPARIMA COLLEGE 3 (Jaron Pascall 42nd, Akiel Vesprey 45+1, Kanye Francis 57th) vs ST MARY’S COLLEGE (Ryan Radellant 36th, Kyle Phillip 83rd)
EAST MUCURAPO SEC 1 (Jemon Gulston 84th) vs ST BENEDICT’S COLLEGE 0
ARIMA NORTH SEC 1 (Jemaul Ashing 1st) vs TRINITY EAST COLLEGE 1 (Kadeem Plaza 7th)
Latest SSFL Boys’ Premier Division standings
1. Naparima College*2*2*0*0*13*2*6
2. Fatima College*2*2*0*0*9*0*6
3. San Juan North*2*2*0*0*9*3*6
4. East Mucurapo*2*2*0*0*3*1*6
6. St Mary’s College*2*1*0*1*10*3*3
9. Chaguanas North*2*1*0*1*1*10*3
10. Bishop’s High*2*1*0*1*3*2*3
11. Arima North*2*0*2*0*1*1*2
12. Trinity East*2*0*1*1*2*3*1
13. St Benedict’s College*2*0*0*2*3*5*0
15. St Anthony’s College*2*0*0*2*0*8*0