THE Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) premier division’s top three teams Naparima College, Fatima College and San Juan North Secondary maintained their perfect records on Saturday, as they all recorded their fourth consecutive wins to start the 2023 season.
Naparima, the four-time premier division winners, continued their impressive scoring run as they hammered East Mucurapo Secondary by a 7-nil margin in Moka, Maraval. Naparima got a double from Akiel Vesprey, with Jabari Forbes, Tevin Pantor, Xarion France and Nathaniel O’Garro scoring a goal apiece. Naparima head the 16-team table with a +27 goal differential. Fatima College are in second spot with a goal differential of +18. San Juan are third and have a goal differential of +9.
Fatima got their fourth straight shutout win as they thumped Pleasantville Secondary by a 5-0 margin at their Mucurapo Road compound in Mucurapo. Aidan DeGannes and 14-year-old Jonathan Mason scored two each and T&T youth player Christian Bailey scored the other.
San Juan had a tougher matchup versus QRC at the latter school’s grounds on Serpentine Road in St Clair, but they were able to come away with a key 2-1 win.
Jaheem Danclar and T&T under-17 standout Lindell Sween scored the goals for San Juan who have also defeated both Presentation College (San Fernando) and defending premier division champions St Benedict’s College in the young season.
Also on Serpentine Road, Tobago’s Speyside Secondary escaped from St Clair with their own 2-1 triumph, as they edged Malick Secondary via a late stoppage-time goal. Malick took the lead in only the seventh minute with a thumping right-footed blast by Oba Samuel, who pounced on some loose defending by Speyside captain Nkosi Quashie.
The lanky Quashie made amends for the visitors from the penalty spot, as he slotted past Omarion Worrel in the 25th minute. It was a scrappy affair that saw Malick creating better opportunities.
The north zone team had the chance to secure the three points in the 84th minute, as their lively attacker J’Lon Matthews was fouled in the area. However, their captain Ackeem James blazed his penalty over the bar and into the pavilion on Serpentine Road.
In the 90th minute, Speyside goalkeeper Makaya Taylor then made a brilliant save to stop opposing attacker Ronaldinho Richards from point-blank range.
Taylor’s save turned out to be as good as three points, as the Tobago school eked out a win in added time – albeit in fortuitous fashion.
Speyside’s Lenox Eastman swung a right-sided free-kick into the area and two Malick defenders got into each other’s way as they conspired to bundle the ball into the net. Eastman did his utmost to claim the goal, but the important fact was that Speyside notched their second win in four games and moved level on points with Malick (six points).
Elsewhere, both St Anthony’s College (six points) and Presentation (seven points) registered 3-0 wins – defeating St Mary’s College and Chaguanas North Secondary respectively. Chaguanas had a particularly rough day at the office, as they had a defender and their goalkeeper sent off in the game which was played in Edinburgh, Chaguanas.
Newly promoted Arima North Secondary (six points) continue to be a tough opposition to crack, as they salvaged a 1-1 draw away to St Benedict’s (four points) at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella. Substitute Tony Figuera did the trick for the Wayne Sheppard-coached Arima team who are still unbeaten after four matches.