Sometimes a win is a win.
And yesterday Carapichaima East Secondary's battling 1-0 win over St Anthony's College at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva surely was not pretty.
But it served a few purposes for Carapichaima: they simultaneously earned a spot in the BG T&T/First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Big Five final at the defending champs' expense; stopped the North Zone winners' unbeaten run at 27 matches; and took revenge for Caps' similar 1-0 loss in last year's Big Five final to the same opponents.
Against the run of play, in the 71st minute, Carapichaima striker Marvin Martin grabbed hold of a howler from St Anthony's goalkeeper Kevon Sample, who dropped what looked like an easy pickup, and put "Caps" ahead.
That was all Carapichaima needed to move on, and they will await news of today's result between Presentation College San Fernando and Scarborough Secondary at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago.
It was more a war of attrition than a contest of wits, yesterday, and perhaps the result was fair, given that Caps' defence was the sturdier. The Tigers survived a few defensive blunders, but another such lapse led to their downfall.
They had more chances in the match, but Caps had the personnel to keep them at bay. St Anthony's tried to claw their way back, particularly through Shaquille Long, but his attempt to walk into goal in the 77th would have been better concluded with an earlier shot. He also had a few other shots, but nothing that troubled Carapichaima goalkeeper Demetrius Edwards.
Outside of their "gift" from the Tigers, Carapichaima had little to talk about in attack in the second half. But St Anthony's simply had no answer for Martin's goal.
The 0-0 halftime score was probably a fair reflection of the first period of play. The Tigers looked likely to score, but the better chances came Caps' way against the run of play, and they were unable to make them count.
In fact, the first shot on goal from Martin, after St Anthony's defender Savion Kirton had provided him an open look, was way too tame to trouble Sample in the Tigers' goal.
The half never really saw any rhythm from either team; St Anthony's were hustled off the ball constantly, but Caps failed to keep possession.
Still, the Central champs could have done way better in front of goal, Martin and the diminutive Akeel James both failing to capitalise on defensive mistakes.
At the other end, Kwesi Weston did threaten down the left flank for the Tigers and striker Adrian Millette had his chances as well, his best a header from 17 metres that lacked the power to be effective.
Caps' one second half chance was, though, and now they await another shot at Big Five glory.