Shiva Boys Hindu College (HC) missed the chance to close the gap on SSFL Premier Division leaders Naparima College yesterday, as they battled to a bruising 1-1 draw with St Anthony’s College in Westmoorings.
The sun above was as unforgiving as some of the challenges on display, and twice referee Kern De Souza allowed water breaks during a very heated first half.
The first of the two water breaks seemed to do the Penal schoolboys a world of good, as they took the lead soon after through a Shaquille John free kick in the 22nd minute.
The languid John stung the palms of St Anthony’s goalie Oba Augustine, just prior to the 19th minute water break. But the “Westmoorings Tigers” shot-stopper could do nothing about the central midfielder’s 25-yard free kick, which swerved viciously past his desperate dive.
John’s brilliant strike undid the early running from St Anthony’s forwards Kwesi “Jep” Allen and Kathon St Hillaire.
“We started off brighter and we were at them,” St Anthony’s College coach Nigel Grosvenor told Wired868. “Although it was a quality goal, they got one free kick chance while we had about four or five free kicks and we did not make use of them.”
Jep and St Hillaire were exchanging neat wall passes in the final third and even linked up from a corner kick in the 31st minute. But Jep was unable to sting Shiva goalkeeper Denzil Smith or find the ‘jep nest’ with his wayward header.
Smith was Shiva’s “Mr Reliable” yesterday as he made two crucial saves before half time to preserve his team’s 1-nil lead. First, he stopped a point blank effort by Nicholas Moyou in the 42nd minute and then, three minutes later, he fended away a dangerous left-footed drive by striker Raheem Borde.
“How much more he could hold?!” exclaimed worried Shiva coach Hayden Ryan.
Ryan would have to wait a while for the answer but he gave his team a tongue lashing at the interval for their first half display.
“What really going on out dey?” asked Ryan. “We need to up we game seriously because we didn’t come quite here to loss!”
Lively Shiva winger Quinn Rodney seemed encouraged by his coach’s request, as he went all guns blazing at the start of the second half.
“They can’t live with yuh, Flash!” the Shiva supporters shouted.
Shiva’s lone striker Junior Assoon was often the only real option for Rodney in the penalty area, and he had a glorious chance to put his team up 2-nil in the 55th minute. But a last ditch tackle by St Anthony’s utility player Andrew Rullow denied Assoon.
Rodney apart, Shiva generally failed to adhere to Ryan’s plea and were too lackadaisical in possession while they also gifted the Tigers with too much space to play with the ball.
St Anthony’s ‘super-sub’ Haile Beckles failed to take advantage of Shiva’s generous marking in the 65th minute, as he struggled to find his feet while in acres of space atop the box.
“We had structural issues in the team today and I was trying to fix them whole game,” said Ryan, “but the guys just weren’t up to it this afternoon.”
Yohannes Richardson and the elegant Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel tried to whip up some magic in the centre of Shiva’s midfield but found good opposition in the Tigers’ pair of Moyou and the diminutive Shem Clauzel.
Clauzel went about his business quietly and effectively and was influential in the build-up play that led to a scrappy 77th minute equaliser for St Hillaire.
The Shiva backline pleaded for an offside call or a foul on goalkeeper Smith who went down in a heap after the goalmouth scramble but neither was forthcoming.
The courageous Smith was eventually stretchered off with a suspected dislocated shoulder, which did not stop him from wanting to continue. He was replaced in goal by Shiva defender and stand-in captain Jerome Samuel.
“He was saying he will be okay but we could not take a chance to put him back out there with his arm in the state that it was in,” Ryan told Wired868. “We are hoping that he will be back for Wednesday’s game.”
Despite Ryan’s displeasure with Shiva’s performance on the day, the southerners could have still left Westmoorings with all three points.
Speed merchant Rodney somehow failed to convert an easy chance at the far post in the 84th minute after he was picked out by a lovely right sided cross by substitute Ronaldo Edwards.
“We know it would have been a hard game because Shiva has been playing really well but we stood toe to toe with them and I have to be proud of the guys for that,” said Grosvenor.
The Tigers overcame Naparima some weeks aback but now, by keeping at Shiva at bay, they may have aided Naps’ title challenge.
Is it the end of the Premier Division dream for Pappy and the boys from Penal?
St Anthony’s College (4-3-3): 22.Oba Augustine (GK); 20.Brent Joel, 19.Andrew Rullow, 18.Simon Joseph (captain), 9.Shakeem Patrick; 13.Shem Clauzel, 15.Nicholas Moyou, 16.Gyasi Moore (11.Adriel Kerr 70); 7.Kathon St Hillaire, 10.Kwesi Allen, 17.Rahem Borde (4.Haile Beckles 58).
Unused Substitutes: 1.Jabari Brice (GK), 3.Kareem Blake-Williams, 12.Jediael Harewood, 14.Nicaya Mahon, 23.Shakeem Spencer.
Coach: Nigel Grosvenor
Shiva Boys HC (4-1-4-1): 24.Denzil Smith (GK) (14.Ronaldo Edwards 82); 15, Jabari Graham, 16.Simeon De Bourgh, 21.Jelani Halls, 5.Jerome Samuel (captain); 11.Yohannes Richardson (13.Ryan Davis 89); 7.Quinn Rodney, 6.Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel, 33.Shaquille John, 8.Isaiah Garcia; 18.Junior Assoon.
Unused Substitutes: 9.Malik Lewis, 10.Judah Garcia, 17.Mark Ramdeen, 22.John McIntyre.
Coach: Hayden Ryan
Referee: Kern De Souza
Man of the Match: Denzil Smith (Shiva Boys)
SSFL Premier Division results
(Saturday October 17)
San Juan North 2, St Mary’s College 1, San Juan;
Fatima 0, Carapichaima East 0, Fatima;
Trinity College Moka 2, QRC 2, Moka;
Naparima College 0, Fyzabad Secondary 0, Ato Boldon Stadium;
St Benedict’s College 0, Presentation College San F’do 0, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
Trinity College East 4 (Nickel Orr , Keshion Hackshaw ), Speyside High 1, Trincity;
St Anthony’s College 1 (Kathon St Hillaire 77), Shiva Boys HC 1 (Shaquille John 22), Westmoorings.
SSFL Premier Division Standings (Tabulated as Won-Drew-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)
Naparima College 11-8-2-1-22-6-26
Shiva Boys HC 11-6-4-1-16-8-22
San Juan North 12-7-0-5-20-14-21
Presentation S/F’do 11-6-3-2-19-13-21
St Benedict’s College 11-6-3-2-14-10-21
St Anthony’s College 11-6-3-2-19-16-21
St Mary’s College 12-6-1-5-22-14-19
St Augustine Sec 11-5-2-4-18-16-17
Trinity Moka 11-2-5-4-19-21-11
Fyzabad Secondary 11-3-1-7-12-19-10
Carapichaima East 12-1-5-6-9-19-8
Fatima College 11-1-4-6-14-20-7
Speyside High 11-2-1-8-12-29-7
Trinity East 11-1-0-10-10-28-3