Naparima College kept the lead in the Premiership Division of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) by defeating one of its main challengers this season Malick Secondary 2-1 at Trinity East Ground in Arouca on Saturday.
After consecutive victories for Malick which made them the only unbeaten team going into Saturday's round of matches, the 2018 triple crown champions led the standings despite drawing with East Mucurapo in its second match over a week ago. Naps got its opening goal in the 79th-minute from Nathaniel Perouse for the slim advantage. Malick, on its return to the top-flight competition, left it until the 93rd-minute to get the equaliser from Amir Simmons.
The game appeared to be heading for a 1-1 stalemate until the prolific Keon Shippley grabbed the winner three minutes after (96th) to push the southerners to 10 points, a mere one-point lead ahead of its arch-rivals Presentation College which hammered St Benedict's College 4-0 at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
And over at St Augustine, victory continues to elude the home team after it played to a 2-2 tie with Central giants Carapichaima. The 'Green Machine' as St Augustine has been known over the years, has now drawn three matches and lost one.
And at Moka Maraval, Trinity College Moka was held to a 2-2 draw by Speyside High. Kerry Lynch, the Speyside coach told Guardian Media Sports after the match that his team has been finding its own and will only become stronger as the season continues.
At St Clair in the featured match of the day, an excellent display of attacking football, coupled with a few acrobatic attempts between the post by goalkeeper Josiah Perez, guided St Anthony's College to a 2-1 victory over the home team Queen's Royal College (QRC).
And on another day, the Tigers of West moorings might have escaped with a wider margin of victory as Jumaane Mc Neil, the QRC custodian and several easily squandered chances, prevented an almost perfect display on the day.
QRC, supported by the school's famous rhythm section, was put on the back foot early, as Zion Williams, Kai Phillip and Jean-Heim Mc Fee and company were eager to make up for the two dropped points against St Augustine Secondary in their first game.
However, Nathaniel James, considered one of the better players in the SSFL, gave the Royalians the advantage in the 20th-minute against the run of play.
It came after Renaldo Mullings played a give-and-go up the left flank before he centred for an onrushing Miguel Cross. But the latter's attempt was fisted by Perez but only into the comfortable path of James to turn the ball into an open goal for a 1-0 lead.
The visitors responded with a flurry of attacks that either ended with shots that went wide or were saved by Mc Neil.
The team should have scored when Phillip cut inside from the right side but his thumping shot was pushed wide in the 33rd minute.
A minute later, the Tigers were rewarded for their persistence.
And from a left side centre, defender Claxton, in an attempt to prevent the ball from reaching awaiting Williams, unwillingly stabbed it into his own goal to hand St Anthony's the equalizer in the 34th.
Four minutes before the break the Tigers expectedly took the lead for the first time from the free-kick. Mc Meil came airborne to fist out a well-floated cross from the set-piece, but it only went as far as Williams on the right side, who fired in a low drive that took a deflection off Ian Cowie before going in for a 2-1 lead, which they took to the interval.
Afterwards, QRC came out fighting, and the team was unlucky not to score in the 49th-minute when James spun on top the area from a headed-on pass, but his rasping shot was tipped over by an acrobatic Perez. The Tigers custodian was again called upon in the 69th-minute, this time to push over Jahiem Granderson left-footed drive from close range.
On the other side, however, it was Tigers who saw clear cut chances from Williams, Phillip and Sowande Prieto foiled by the QRC goalkeeper.
SATURDAY'S SSFL RESULTS
St Anthony's 2 (Ian Cowie, OG Donnell Claxton) vs QRC 1 (Nathaniel James)
St Augustine 2 vs Carapichaima 2
Naparima 2 (Nathaniel Perouse 79th, Keon Shippley 96th) vs Malick 1 (Amir Simmons)
Trinity East 1 (Jeremiah Williams) vs San Juan 1
Trinity Moka 2 (Jardel Mitchell 6th, Menes Jahra 42nd) vs Speyside 2 (Dillion Beckles, Ronaldo Samuel)
Presentation (SanFernando) 4 vs St Benedict's 0
Pleasantville 2 vs CIC 0
Latest Shell/FCB SSFL Premiership Division