Despite a day of rest from the Premier Division programme of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) on Saturday, Naparima College maintained its top spot on the 15-team standings on 29 points, but St Anthony's College has now reduced the gap between them to three points after a convincing 4-1 win over Malick Secondary at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain, Couva.
However, St Mary's College will have a fight on its hands to avoid relegation this season after going down 0-5 to Carapichaima Secondary at St Mary's College Ground in St Clair.
Coach Kerry Jamerson said he plans to win his remaining three matches which hopefully will keep them afloat. The 'Saints' as they are known, now have matches against East Mucurapo, Speyside and Trinity Moka to keep them in the top flight schools' tournament, and coach Jamerson said as someone who does not give up, he hopes that his players will not give up either.
On the heels of two 7-0 drubbings against the League's top two teams Naps and St Anthony's, the wounded Saints appeared not to have had any comfort or safety, within the sanctuary of their own home yesterday. And despite a dogged fight to hold off the visitors, an inexperienced Jordan Bedasie just could not stand for their cause.
The game was just a few minutes old when Caps striker Isaiah Samuel underlined their intentions with a thunderous right-footed drive that crashed against the crossbar before going to safety. The opening item though came in the 21st minute from one of the Caps' many first-half attacks. Dexter Neils with a searching run down the left flank, centred nicely for an unmarked Samuel to take with the right foot, before driving past Bedasie into the bottom left corner of the post.
Samuel threatened to increase his team's lead in the 31st minute, benefitting from a well-floated right-side cross from Josiah Henry, but his acrobatic over-head kick just whisked wide.
However, the CIC defence could do nothing when Caps captain Brandon St Clair rose high to head home a left-side corner, for the first goal of his hat-trick in the 34th minute.
And soon before the interval, Malik Robinson received from Emmanuel Corriea inside the CIC area. Realising he was unmarked, the diminutive midfielder drove across the area before beating Bedasie with a low shot that squeezed between his legs for a 3-0 advantage.
Thereafter the Saints, skippered by Xavier O'Garro, kept their opponents at bay until the 80th minute. St Clair watched on as the CIC defence struggled to clear Corriea's right-side centre, and when it fell, the lanky T&T under-15 defender, was quick to pounce on the loose ball by steering it into the back of the goal.
The game appeared to be heading for a 4-0 Caps win when Samuel unleashed a powerful shot that Bedasie failed to hold on to, and St Clair was on to the loose ball in a flash to fire in for his team's fifth goal, and his hat-trick.
In an earlier game at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Queen's Royal College also rebounded from a disappointing 3-4 loss to Speyside in the sister-isle on Monday, by edging St Benedict's 1-0, courtesy a goal by Miguel Cross midway in the first half.
QRC 1 (Miguel Cross) vs St Benedict's 0
Caps 5 (Isaiah Samuel 21st, Brandon St Clair 34th, 80th, Malik Robinson 44th) vs CIC 0
Pleasantville 3 vs Speyside 1
East Mucurapo 5 vs Trinity Moka 2
St Anthony 4 (Darius Douglas, Zion Williams, Real Gill, Kai Philips) vs Malick 1
San Juan 3 vs St Augustine 1
Presentation College 1 vs Trinity East 0
Latest SSFL Team Standings
7*San Juan North*11*5*2*4*26*10*16*17