Three goals from Derrel Garcia and another from Daniel Jones handed St Benedict's College, the 2022 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division champion, the opening National Gas Company (NGC) Super Cup title by beating arch-rivals Fatima College 4-3 on Satuerday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, Port-of-Spain.
"The La Romain Lions" as St Benedict's is popularly called by their fans, missed out on the Coca-Cola InterCol title last year when Fatima edged them 1-0.
But despite leading 3-0 at the halfway stage yesterday, the St Benedict's team got a major scare from the Mucurapo Road boys, who battled back desperately to reduce the scoreline to within a goal and even could have won it at the death.
Garcia, with just seven minutes gone on the clock, tested the Fatima goalkeeper from some 20 yards out with a thunderous shot that goalkeeper Tristan Edwards could only tip over the crossbar.
Then Fatima led in attack by their influential striker Michael Chaves, also went close to the opener after a through-ball put him on a one-on-one with the defence in the centre of the park. But Chaves, one of the Fatima marksmen from the previous year, could not get his effort on target in the 11th minute.
Jones, then fed a ball inside the Fatima penalty area, turned quickly away from his marker in the 14th minute before being steamrolled by defender Yohance Atherton, a challenge that referee Krystal Sobers could only point to the penalty spot for.
Garcia then stepped up and sent Edwards the wrong way for a 1-0 advantage.
Despite losing a couple of key players from their line-up last year, the La Romain Lions still roared ferociously with Garcia and Jones now leading the way with a number of talented players in their fold. And it showed with their second goal that pushed them ahead 2-0. Jones fed a lifted ball outside the box, produced a breathless first touch that only Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp was known for, and with the goal in front of him, the lanky striker unleashed a powerful shot that beat Edwards to his first post in the 45th minute.
A minute later, Garcia got his second item of the match in a similar fashion.
Again from a build-up on the right, Garcia was picked out with a through-ball that he raced on to, before hitting hard past Edwards for a 3-0 lead at the halfway stage.
Fatima appeared done and dusted as they walked off the field for the break, but upon their return, they were a different team. Christian Bailey robbed Daniel Hope of the ball on the right side and drove to the byline before pulling it back for Chaves to fire home for a 3-1 scoreline in the 50th minute.
Chaves then turned provider in the 68th minute, releasing Bailey down the right flank, to then quickly centre for Josiah Gobin to reduce the margin to one with a 3-2 lead.
The goal seemed to have tilted the match in Fatima's favour somewhat until Garcia scored his third goal to restore a two-goal cushion. The talented St Benedict's attacker was picked out in the midfield and he shook off a couple of players on his way to goal before unleashing a powerful grounder to beat Edwards in the 79th minute for a 4-3 margin.
His goal sparked wild celebrations among their fans in the stands but it was shortlived. Fatima College, in its very next raid on St Benedict's goal, reduced the score again.
This time substitute Luke Correia found himself at the end of a neat Fatima build-up and he hit the ball hard past goalkeeper Samuel Glasgow for a 4-3 result at the end.
After the match, Garcia was voted "Man of the Match", but more so, St Benedict's has now signalled a warning to their competitors in the Premier Division of the SSFL.