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Fatima College’s Aidan De Gannes, right, and Teshaun Franklyn of QRC contest possession during their Secondary Schools Football League Premier Division clash at Fatima Ground, Mucurapo on Wednesday, October 11th 2023. PHOTO: Ishmael Salandy

In as a one-sided derby as could be expected, Queen’s Royal College only barely showed up as they were hammered 7-1 by traditional rivals Fatima College in their Premier Division clash, yesterday, in Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) action.

At Mucurapo Road, the Royalians appeared to be making a fist of it with the score at one-all midway through the first half. But arising out of some quick counter attacks, and goals from Aidan De Gannes and Michael Chaves, Fatima were quickly up 3-1 and in control at the interval.

Christian Bailey then set up Levi Smith before also netting himself, both items coming early in the second half, thus extending the hosts advantage to 5-1 and, in effect, snuffing out whatever hopes QRC coach, Kenwyne Jones, may have been harbouring of a second-half comeback.

“It started quite decently,” said the former Soca Warriors captain. “I think a bit of inconsistency in defending cost us, individual mistakes, and from there it was downhill.” Fatima were quickly out of the blocks with Bailey opening the scoring in the fourth minute.

Errors from Fatima custodian Tristan Edwards and defender Matthew Barrington resulted in Stephon James banging the ball high in the net to get the Royalians back in the contest for 1-1 in the 24th minute.

It seemed to rattle Fatima briefly, handing QRC a few half-chances. But Fatima were soon back in the driver’s seat, benefiting from poor defensive tracking and coverage, when twice scoring late in the first half.

A run down the flank by Smith, before serving in a cross saw De Gannes strike the ball off the underside of the crossbar for 2-1 in the 38th minute. Striker Chaves then got on the scoresheet for 3-1 in the 42nd minute -- going on a mazy solo run to slip past two defenders before rounding QRC goalkeeper Jaheim Affan, for an easy conversion into an open goal.

Early second-half goals, both within a minute of each other, quickly saw Fatima buttress their advantage.

Smith scored at the back post in the 52nd minute, after good work and passing by Bailey on the flank for 4-1.

A team which defends as badly individually and as a collective as QRC should not be playing with the ball near their penalty area.

The ball was won and following an interchange of passes amongst several Fatima players, Bailey glided around the keeper to score his second, making the score 5-1 in the 53rd.

Man-of-the-match De Gannes scored the last two goals, roofing the ball high in the net from close up for 6-1. And from a similar position, he struck low across the goalkeeper for 7-1 to complete his own hat-trick.

Fatima next host Arima North Secondary, who are expected to provide a much sterner test, on Saturday.

“Our aim is to win the league and this is a hurdle we had to cross,” said a victorious Fatima coach Hutson Charles. “To win the league we have to win all the matches, one game at a time.”

However, for Jones, focus shifts to limiting QRC’s defensive errors come Saturday’s home game against a more on-par East Mucurapo.

“We have to quickly forget about today. Yes, it was a bit demoralising, but at the same time we have to get ready for the game on Saturday. We have to do better as a team and try to cut out some of those mistakes that we have been making,” Jones surmised.

Meanwhile, Fatima (22 points) remain second in the standings, two points adrift of leaders San Juan North (24 points) while Naparima College (21 points) remain in close pursuit.

Both San Juan and “Naps” recorded 4-0 victories over Tobago-based teams, Speyside Secondary and Bishop’s High, respectively.

In other SSFL action, defending champions St Benedict’s College defeated southern rivals Presentation College (San Fernando) 3-0. Both teams now sit on 17 points, but with “Benedict’s” edging fourth-place courtesy a better goal difference.


San Juan North Secondary 4 vs Speyside Secondary 0

Fatima College 7 vs Queen’s Royal College 1

Naparima College 4 vs Bishop’s High School 0

St Benedict’s College 3 vs Presentation College (Sando) 0

Arima North Secondary 0 vs East Mucurapo Secondary 0

Pleasantville Secondary 2 vs Chaguanas North Secondary 0

St Anthony’s College 2 vs Malick Secondary 2

Trinity College East 3 vs St. Mary’s College 0

SOURCE: T&T Express

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