Kevon Jessop and Christon Freitas were both on target as Cultural Roots United claimed its second Northern Football Association Premier Division title with a 2-0 victory over its closest rivals Trendsetter Hawks in front of its home fans at Dibe Recreation Ground, Long Circular, St James on Wednesday night.
Starting the match a point behind Hawks with two matches in hand, Cultural Roots which only gained promotion back to the top flight in 2017 after winning the Championship Division the previous year, got a goal from Jessop in the 15th minute before Freitas added the other two minutes later.
The win meant that Cultural Roots leapfrogged Hawks into top position with 32 points from 14 matches and two left to play while Hawks ended their 16-match campaign with 30 points.
Third-placed Cantaro United FC had a chance to take the title race down to another round of matches, as they went into their fixture with Patna/River Estate United with 31 points from 14 matches.
However, Patna/River Estate dashed its hopes with a 3-1 spanking with strikes from Nicholas Alexander, Jesse Edwards and Akel La Borde to cancel out Stephan David sixth-minute opening item.
The title win continued a fine return to the limelight for the Rayshawn Mars-coached Cultural Roots who were also winners of the NFA FA trophy in 2018 before collaborating with Club Sando for a one year stint in the National Super League last season and then returning to the NFA this campaign in stunning fashion.
Last weekend, the key twist in the Premier Division title race occurred when then leaders Trendsetter Hawks and second-placed Cantaro United SCC both faltered which paved the way for Cultural Roots United to claim a second league crown in the club's history.
This after, Hawks was clipped 3-1 by North Coast SCC with a goal each from Kyle Jack, Dameion Williams and Ron Quintero on Sunday, and remained on 30 points from 15 matches at the top of the nine-team table, one ahead of Cultural Roots who have two matches in hand, while Cantaro United is third with 28 points from 14 matches after a 1-1 draw with Belmont FC.
Corneal Thomas netted a double to lead Front Line FC to a 5-1 spanking of Harvard FC and promotion to the 2020 NFA Premier Division as Championship Division winners on Thursday night.
However, it could have all be so different had Petit Valley/Diego Martin United, which went into the final round with a one-point lead on the table did not stumble in its encounter with RSSR FC, losing 1-0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Training Field, Mucurapo. RSSR had previously defeated Front Line 4-3 in its penultimate match as well.
At St Ann's, Kyle Davidson fired Front Line into a 14th minute lead while Keith Williams made it 2-0 in the 25th with his 18th goal of the campaign before Jerron Morris (77th), and Thomas, with a late double in the 80th and 90th to finish with a season-best tally of 23, capped off the scoring to spark off wild celebrations as Championship Division winners.
The win lifted debutants, Front Line FC to 34 points from its 14 matches, two ahead of Petit Valley/Diego Martin United.
YESTERDAY'S NFA RESULTS
Cultural Roots United 2 (Kevon Jessop 15th, Christon Freitas 17th) vs Trendsetter Hawks 0
Patna River Estate 3 (Nicholas Alexander 25th, Jesse Edwards 35th, Akel La Borde 73rd) vs Cantaro United FC 1 (Stephan David 6th)
Sunday, December 1:
North Coast SCC 3 (Kyle Jack 20th, Dameion Williams 26th, Ron Quintero 90th) vs Trendsetter Hawks 1 (Josiah Joseph 37th)
Belmont FC 1 (Matin Sedighi 21st) vs Cantaro United FC 1 (Stephan David 46th)
St Francois Nationals 3 vs Paramin Scholars 0 - by default
RSSR FC 1 vs Petit Valley/Diego Martin United 0
Front Line FC 5 (Kyle Davidson 14th, Keith Williams 25th, Jerron Morris 77th, Corneal Thomas 80th, 90th) vs Harvard FC 1 (Shaquille Peters 45th)
Current NFA standings
1. Cultural Roots*14*10*2*2*42*14*32
2. Trendsetter Hawks*16*9*3*4*43*17*30
3. Cantaro Utd*15*8*4*3*48*23*28
4. Belmont FC*14*7*3*3*25*21*24
5. St Francois Nationals*14*5*6*3*27*24*21
6. North Coast SCC*14*4*5*5*27*26*17
7. Patna/River Estate*15*5*2*8*25*31*17
8. Miscellaneous Lav'tille*13*1*2*10*20*57*5
9. Paramin Scholars*15*0*4*11*14*58*4
1. Front Line*14*11*1*2*62*24*34
4. Seekers FC*14*7*1*6*36*33*22
5. RSSR FC*14*6*0*8*28*38*18
6. Morvant Elements*13*4*1*8*25*53*13
7. Malvern SC*14*3*2*9*21*42*11
8. Combined Forces*14*2*1*1*25*50*7
On December 7
Miscellaneous Laventille United vs Belmont FC, Soogrim Trace, Laventille, 7 pm
North Coast SCC vs Cultural Roots United, Blanchisseuse, 3.30 pm
Belmont FC vs North Coast SCC, Hasely Crawford Stadium, Training Field, Mucurapo, 8 pm
Cultural Roots United vs Miscellaneous Laventille United, Dibe Rec. Grd, Long Circular, St James, 7 pm
Cantaro United vs St Francois Nationals, Cantaro Grds, Santa Cruz, 7 pm
SOURCE: T&T Guardian