A 42nd-minute strike from Chinua Bernard was enough to give St Mary’s College a winning start in Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) North Zone competition, at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, yesterday.
The “Saints” held on for a close 1-0 victory over East Mucurapo Secondary on the rainy opening day of the North Zone League competition.
It was a cautious start by both teams with chances few and far between.
Mucurapo pressed their opponents and had the better of the early exchanges but the “Saints” soaked up the pressure before applying some of their own.
St Mary’s kept their composure and eventually broke the Mucurapo defence with a left-footer from Bernard from the edge of the penalty box.
Bernard’s effort floated over the Mucurapo defenders and into the top right corner of the net, far out of the reach of Mucurapo custodian Aaron Enil who made a diving effort to keep the ball out.
St Mary’s were at it again five minutes into the second half with Rashad Hyacenth’s right-footed free-kick from outside the penalty box forcing a fingertip save from Enil.
Ten minutes later, Mucurapo’s Jamal Philbert, Jair Edwards and Aaqil Campbell all missed close range opportunities in front of goal to the delight of the St Mary’s keeper Christian Attong, who watched as the ball was hit over the bar on all three occasions.
Bernard missed a chance to put the game to bed in the dying minutes after the ball ricocheted off a Mucurapo defender and landed at his feet. This time, however, his shot lacked the power and direction to beat Enil, but in the end his first half item was enough to ensure victory.
Action in the other four zones—East, South, Central and Tobago--kicks off today, with doubleheaders at venues across Trinidad and Tobago, all starting at three p.m.
At Arima Velodrome, defending East Zone champions Arima North Secondary start their campaign against San Juan North Secondary in the feature match at five p.m. Before that fixture, St Augustine are in action against El Dorado East Secondary at the same venue from three p.m.
The Central Zone action takes place at Ato Boldon Stadium, Balmain, Couva, while the South Zone teams battle it out at Skinner’s Park, San Fernando.
The Tobago Zone doubleheader will be played at Shaw Park.
St Mary’s College 1 (Chinua Bernard 42nd) vs East Mucurapo 0
Today’s BGTT SSFL Fixtures
East Zone (Arima Velodrome)
St Augustine vs El Dorado East, 3 p.m.
Arima North vs San Juan North, 5 p.m.
Central Zone (Ato Boldon Stadium)
Presentation College Chaguanas vs Vishnu Boys Hindu College, 3 p.m.
Couva West vs Chaguanas North, 5 p.m.
South Zone (Skinner’s Park)
St Benedict’s vs Shiva Boys, 3 p.m.
Presentation College San Fernando vs Naparima College, 5 p.m.
Tobago Zone (Shaw Park)
Signal Hill vs Speyside, 3 p.m.
Scarborough vs Mason Hall, 5 p.m.