Friday, January 19, 2018

‘Saints’ in winners’ row

...CIC, Benedict’s off to perfect start as SSFL opens

THE new season and new format of the BG T&T Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division certainly promised much on Day One, with a pair of ‘upsets’ in the opening double header at Hasely Crawford Stadium.

St Mary’s College got off to a winning start by running over St Augustine Secondary’s normally powerful “Green Machine” 3-0, while St Benedict’s College’s “La Romaine Lions” had a light snack in their 2-0 defeat of Mucurapo East Secondary, which could have easily been a full meal but for errant finishing by the South team.

The “Saints” of St Mary’s looked the best team on the day, though. Their organisation, ball possession and well-oiled passing mechanism ensured they were too much for a new-look St Augustine, even though St Mary’s themselves have quite a number of new faces in their lineup.

The scores read 2-0 in St Mary’s favour at halftime and could have been double that but for some glaring misses. Goals in the fourth, 15th and 58th minutes by Chinua Bernard, Aaron Noel and Ethan Shim settled the affair without fuss.

The Saints bulldozed their way to an early lead through Bernard, who finished a swift attacking play started by Shim. Shim slipped he ball to Noel, who laid on for Bernard to slot home from six metres out on the right.

It took 11 more minutes for St Mary’s to double the lead and Michael Grayson’s Green Machine was completely stalled on the ‘Hasely Crawford’ grass. Noel was only required for the simple tap in after Jamiel Williams lost his marker on the right and crossed for Bernard, who found Noel in front of goal.

The first half was all St Mary’s after that, and they were embarrassed for riches in missing in the 41st and 42nd minutes, first Noel failing to get over a nice Shim free kick which his header over bar, and then when Shim hesitated and allowed the St Augustine defence to recover from good shooting position on the left of the penalty area.

Shim did not regret an early second half miss for long, as he got another opportunity when St Augustine gave away the ball in their area in the 58th, and Bernard latched onto the error and held off two challengers before crossing for a neat, point blank range finish by Shim.

It was no doubt the better half of the match from a St Augustine point of view, but still not good enough to impact the result. They saw more of the ball and even launched a few threatening attacks of their own, the best falling to Keishawn Marcellin in the 68th, but St Mary’s defence held firm to keep out his shot from six metres.

Still, all is not lost for St Augustine. They still have a long season ahead of them; they may already know, though, that there is little tolerance for mistakes in the new 14-team Premier Division.

Yesterday's SSFL Premier League results

St Benedict's College 2 (Moriba Des Cartes 31st & Shaquille Williams 60th) def. Mucurapo East 0

St Mary's College 3 (Chinua Bernard 4th, Aaron Noel 15th & Ethan Shim 58th) def. St Augustine Secondary 0