St Anthony's College weathered the onslaught of a determined Fatima College football unit to win their third consecutive BGTT/First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) North Zone title with a 0-0 draw in their replay, at St Anthony's Ground, Westmoorings, yesterday.
Both sides looked evenly matched when the game got under way, and each team created some good scoring opportunities early on to the delight of the crowd whose voices grew louder as the match unfolded.
Fatima knew they had to win to stop the "Tigers" from repeating as North Zone champs, and had a chance to put their hosts under some early pressure with Seon Thomas forcing a save from the St Anthony's goalkeeper Javon Sample in the third minute.
Fatima were back on the attack in the 16th minute when Omari George took advantage of a defensive error, but his shot was eventually saved by Sample.
At the other end, St Anthony's answered, but Savion Kerton's effort was saved by Deandre Villaroel.
Keane McIvor also had a good game for St Anthony's. Fighting for possession down the left side, he found Shaquille Long in the middle, but Long could not beat the Fatima keeper.
The second half played out much like the first with both sides creating good opportunities to score, but they just could not find the back of the net.
The anticipation mounted coming down to the end of the match. The Fatima supporters got behind their players, spurring them on for a last minute onslaught which kept the home team defending for much of the last ten minutes.
St Anthony's soaked up the late pressure, content that a draw would eventually earn them the hat-trick of titles.
St Anthony's will now play the winners of the Central Zone in the BGTT "Big 5" competition, at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva next Tuesday.
The Central Zone crown will either go to Carapichaima East Secondary or Chaguanas North Secondary.
Chaguanas North are currently at the top of the standings, but that could change given the result of the disciplinary hearing today to determine the first leg, which Chaguanas North won 2-1 over "Caps".
If that result is reversed, then "Caps" will win the Central Zone even before the final round of matches, tomorrow.
The other zonal champions who have already been crowned are Arima North Secondary in the East Zone and Presentation College San Fernando in the South.