The Premier Division of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) kicked off yesterday with two exciting matches at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
The first match of the double header started at 3 pm where reigning central champions Carapichaima East Secondary School edged Fatima 2-0 on a soggy field. Defending Champions, Shiva Boys College battled south rivals Naparima College (Naps) in the second game of the evening and eked out three points in a battling affair which ended 2-1 in their favour.
Naps started on the front foot, pressuring the former champions from the opening whistle. Midfielder Jeron Pantor rocked the crossbar for Naps as he latched onto a bouncing loose ball at the edge of the area in the sixth minute and fired a cannon but saw his shot rebound back into play with the ‘keeper beaten. However, against the run of play, it was the defending champions who found the back of the net in the 14th minute after Junior Asson smashed home in the six yard box from a low corner delivered by Ronaldo Edwards.
Both teams tried to control the middle of the park as they battled endlessly for possession. Pantor should have equalised in the 28th minute when he got a golden opportunity after Shadeon Arthur’s cross eluded the entire defence, however, he tried to lay off the ball for his teammate but miscued his pass. On the resulting counterattack Shiva’s captain, Judah Garcia, unleashed a powerful shot but it was marvellously defended by his opposite, Rondell Payne, as he dived in front of the bullet for his goalkeeper. Halftime saw Shiva Boys leading 1-0 at the break.
After the interval, Naps were awarded a free-kick in the 72nd minute just outside the box and Kodel Frontin made no mistake with a curling effort tipped in by the diving Shiva goalie. Naps gained momentum and were looking for the winner, however, it was a similar tale from the first half as Shiva snatched a goal on a counter attack in the 77th. Shiva’s Tyrel Emmanuel got past defender Rushawn Murphy and slipped the ball into the path of Jude Phillip who made no mistake from the six yard box with the winner.
In the earlier game, it was the central hosts, Caps, who emerged victorious over Fatima 2-0.
Caps’ first goal came in the 28th minute after their no. 9, Kevon Williams, burst down the left wing then cut inside on his right and slotted the ball past the ‘keeper on the far post. Fatima had chances to level the scores before the half when their captain, Stephon Marcano, whipped a ball across the face of the goal in the 35th minute but the ball just strolled past everyone in the six yard box. Two minutes later Marcano created another opportunity, this time for himself, when he travelled with the ball into Caps’ box but his shot went just wide of the post. Caps went into the tunnel leading 1-0 at the half.
Caps doubled their lead in the 74th minute when Elijah King got on the end of a cross whipped in by Theophilus Bourne, from the left. There was no further change to the scoreline as the central hosts held on for the win.
Speaking to Newsday after the victory, King said, “It feels really great to get on the score-sheet as my grandmother and family was in the stands supporting. It was really important to win the game and get a solid start to the season. Everyone on the team is like brothers and even though the field was heavy, everyone played their part as we are looking to carry this momentum onto the next match and hopefully win the division. We can only keep getting better moving forward.”