St Mary’s College never saw it coming.
One minute, the “Saints” supporters were “razza tazzing” at the touchline, taunting their opponents and having a merry old time in the setting sun. In the next, Fatima College students were everywhere; jumping and whooping and delighting in the cold plate of revenge they had just handed to their Frederick Street cousins.
At the final whistle, St Mary’s and Fatima had one goal each but it was a third North Zone college, St Anthony’s, that celebrated loudest.
The “Westmoorings Tigers” started the day on three points but ended it on nine. St Anthony’s was today awarded a 3-0 result over St Benedict’s College despite not taking the field last Saturday after the southerners were punished for inadequate ground markings.
And they did even better at home this evening as a Kwesi Allen hattrick helped the Tigers to a 5-0 rout of Carapichaima East.
The result pushed St Anthony’s two points clear of St Mary’s at the top of the SSFL Premier Division table.
St Mary’s coach Junior Maxwell might struggle to explain why the boys in blue and white stripes did not take the maximum points available today, though.
Even before the first ball had been kicked, the Saints sauntered on to the Mucurapo Road ground as though it were their little brother’s room.
The Fatima players had not yet left the dressing room while the St Mary’s players were already poking their studs into the centre circle and rehearsing pantomime shots at both goal areas.
There were three benches available for the teams at the sideline. By the time Fatima got on to the ground, the St Mary’s contingent had already seized two of them.
And the benevolent hosts barely had a chance to make themselves heard when St Mary’s went ahead in the 19th minute through striker Chinua Bernard who converted a looping header off a Sebastien Cabral free kick.
CIC midfielder Ethan Shim celebrated by cupping his ears at the Fatima crowd for a verbal response. Shim’s gesture didn’t go down especially well among the home supporters. But there was little indication that Fatima would conjure up a retort on the field.
Cabral should have doubled St Mary’s advantage in the 38th minute, after being put clear by Bernard, but casually spurned an inviting opportunity. And then Shim volleyed over from another threatening Cabral free kick.
Fatima coach Richard Hood, who looked irate enough to spontaneously combust, responded by substituting his gutsy but overworked left back Kristian Spence inside the first 45 minutes.
The distraught Spence got a warm ovation from Fatima students as he slunk towards the substitutes’ bench. One St Mary’s student loudly suggested that he try under-16 football instead.
The Frederick Street boys were enjoying their advantage. There were spontaneous “razzas” from the touchline while one especially noisy group of St Mary’s students kept misspelling “F-A-T-I-M-A” in another chant by replacing the “T” with a “G.”
Yet, the visiting supporters might have paid more attention to their own team’s performance.
There was no “tikki tazza” today. Star midfielder Ethan Shim never got into the game and was even booked for diving, scrawny playmaker Aaron Noel spent more time on his back receiving treatment than on his feet picking out teammates and sweeper Siddiq Manzanano was exhibiting all the timing of a tourist on Carnival Tuesday as he miscued a half-dozen straightforward clearances.
It was enough to keep a hard working but uninspired Fatima team in the match.
In the 74th minute, St Mary’s should probably have had its insurance item.
Fatima goalkeeper Akiel Guerra fended away a Noel free kick and Jean Marc De Souza pounced on the rebound. Guerra blocked De Souza’s first effort but the latter’s second attempt seemed to have crossed the line before the goalie clawed it to safety.
Lalchan, who got no help from his assistant at the touchline, put the whistle to his mouth but did not blow. Was Maxwell incensed? Is the Pope catholic?
As the seconds ticked away, the Fatima players—some of whom curiously received tablets from their bench during breaks in the game—seemed more interested in getting on the ball.
For the last five minutes, St Mary’s could not seem to get the ball out of its own penalty area as free kicks and corner kicks from Dillon Abraham and substitute Omari George tested the visiting custodian Kristopher Donaldson from all angles.
The breaking point came in stoppage time. Fatima livewire Marquise Hoyte threaded a neat ball into substitute Jonathan Casimire’s path. Casimire’s touch was heavy and the ball went straight to Donaldson. But, for once, the St Mary’s goalkeeper could not hold on.
And Fatima captain Kyell Lancaster was on spot to hook the rebound past two retreating defenders and into an unguarded net.
Cue an exuberant pitch invasion as Fatima revelled in getting the last laugh on its own turf.
When the dust settled, though, St Anthony’s had the broadest smile.
St Mary’s College (4-1-4-1): 1.Kristopher Donaldson (GK); 19.Jean Marc De Silva (20.Tyler Kirton 79), 12.Siddiq Manzanano, 4.Jerome Dempster-Babb, 2.Marcus Mottley (captain); 13.Xavier Bruce; 7.Jamiel Williams (6.Joshua Da Silva 62), 10.Aaron Noel, 8.Ethan Shim, 11.Sebastien Cabral; 9.Chinua Bernard.
Unused substitutes: 25.Nicholas Ramdin (GK), 15.Aaron Skeene, 16.Jonathan Bharat, 18.Bryant Van Low, 80.Howard Sabga.
Coach: Junior Maxwell
Fatima College (4-4-1-1): 21.Akiel Guerra (GK); 2.Ricardo Hood, 23.Mossiah Griffith, 24.Adrian Constantine, 17.Kristan Spence (3.Kieran Basheer 44); 11.Marquise Hoyte, 7.Dillon Abraham, 8.Jahreed Murray, 13.Joshua Pereira (18.Jonathan Casimire 73); 12.John Michael Herrera (10.Omari George); 9.Kyell Lancaster (captain).
Unused substitutes: 22.Revaldo Prince (GK), 14.Joshua Pierre, 16.Sebastian Camacho, 19.Shane Scott.
Coach: Richard Hood
Referee: Larry Lalchan
SSFL Premier Division results
(Wed Sep 10)
St Anthony’s 5 (Kwesi Allen 8, 60, 70, Shakeem Patrick 19, Simon Joseph 22), Carapichaima East 0 at St Anthony’s;
St Benedict’s College 1 (Tyrell Couteau 33 pen), Arima North 0 at La Romaine;
Trinity College East 2 (Sean Donval, Dereem Daniel), Shiva Boys HC 1 (Marvin Suraj) at Trincity;
East Mucurapo 0, St Augustine Secondary 1 (Jesse Joseph) at QRC ground;
Chaguanas North 1 (Matthias Williams 10), San Juan North 4 (OG 14, Brent Sam 34, Shayon Eustace 47, Jamal Roach 73) at Chaguanas;
Presentation (San F’do) 1 (Levon Bass 51), Naparima College 2 (Shane Sandy 65, 83) at Guaracara Park;
Fatima College 1 (Kyell Lancaster 90), St Mary’s College 1 (Chinua Bernard 19) at Fatima;
(Sat Sep 13)
Arima North vs St Anthony’s College, 3.45 pm, Arima;
Shiva Boys HC vs Carapichaima East, 3.45 pm, Guaracara Park;
St Augustine vs St Benedict’s College, 3.45 pm, St Augustine;
San Juan North vs Trinity College East, 3.45 pm, San Juan;
Naparima College vs East Mucurapo, 3.45 pm, Lewis Street, San Fernando;
St Mary’s College vs Chaguanas North, 3.45 pm, St Mary’s;
Fatima College vs Presentation (San F’do), 3.45 pm, Fatima;