St Mary’s College had to settle for a share of the spoils yet again as they were held 1-1 by newly promoted Pleasantville Secondary in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division action today at Serpentine Road.
The result left the “Saints” with two points from their opening two fixtures after a goalless draw with Trinity College Moka on Thursday evening.
The plucky Pleasantville team were also coming off a draw in their season opener, as they held Signal Hill Secondary 1-1 in Tobago on Thursday.
Both teams are now four points off early leaders, Shiva Boys Hindu College, who edged St Benedict’s College 1-0 at Irwin Park, Siparia for their second win of the season.
St Anthony’s College are the only other outfit with a 100 percent record although their outing against East Mucurapo Secondary was abandoned today due to waterlogged conditions at Westmoorings. That game would have been Mucurapo’s first fixture of the season.
At Serpentine Road, it might feel like St Mary’s are yet to really get going this season. Today, “P’Ville” imposed themselves on their hosts and were the more offensive unit with captain, Jude Phillip, pulling the strings just behind striker Daniel Cowan.
The diminutive Phillip regularly twisted the Saints’ three-man defence in all manner of positions, as they attempted to curtail his enterprising play on the slippery surface.
Still, it was gearing up to be another tepid affair, until the two respective captains decided that the spectators—many of whom made their way from the abandoned St Anthony’s fixture—deserved a bit better.
Just seconds into the second half, the “Fresh Prince” of Pleasantville—or at least his look-a-like—Anfernee Joefield cleverly flicked the ball into the path of Phillip at the edge of the Saints penalty area.
Phillip danced right and chopped left to leave CIC defenders in his wake before curling a crisp left footed shot that seemed destined for the top corner. Luckily for Saints custodian, Jordan Bidaisee, it floated just a few inches too high.
It was an early warning shot, but one that seemed to inspire St Mary’s captain Matthaeus Granger into action.
And in the 50th minute, Granger, a former St Anthony’s College player, produced a moment of magic to finally lift supporters off of their seats in celebration of the Saints’ first goal this season.
The Pleasantville defence had only half-heartedly cleared a free kick from St Mary’s defender Abraham Mohammed and the ball fell perfectly for Granger, who lashed an unerring left footed volley past the despairing Raheem Lee in the opposing goal.
It was the goal that the game needed and one that coach Ethan Shim would have hoped could spur on his altered team that had lost the likes of talismanic winger Ethan Shim and clever striker Chinua Bernard.
Granger had cleared offered his application for the role of team star and the Saints looked much sharper and more composed when the ball was at his feet.
Pleasantville were cursing their own bad luck as Phillip came off worst in a clash with St Mary’s defender Howard Sabga and had to be assisted off the field with a suspected ankle injury. His departure was definitely a loss to their hopes of a recovery and robbed neutrals of a steady source of entertainment.
The Saints were finding space at will down P’Ville’s left side by then although Justin Brooks’ crosses were not quite being met with the efficiency that their fans would have hoped from his attacking teammates, Aaron Skeene and Tyler Kirton.
Skeene, incidentally, was often isolated upfront, tussling with as many as three Pleasantville defenders at a time. And, arguably, St Mary’s failure to press home their advantage at that point let their southern opponents back into the game.
Attacking midfielder Dillon Yearwood, as tiny as the injured Phillip, began to match the departed Pleasantville captain’s influence in the pockets of space between the midfield and the defence.
Yearwood regularly spun his marker and dinked delicate balls over the top for his wingers to stretch the Saints rearguard out of position. And out of position meant out of luck.
One of the many P’Ville forays down the right flank yielded a free kick and up stepped the specialist, Nevorne Mc Nicholls. Mc Nicholls, who played at left back, did not offer much protection for his teammates today when the play was running. But when the ball was dead, his game came alive.
Mc Nicholls’ cultured left foot, swung in another excellent free kick and this time luck was on the visitor’s side. Inexplicably, St Mary’s substitute Gabriel Nanton, fended the ball away with his arm and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot. No player in “blue and white”—including Nanton himself—even bothered to raise his voice in disapproval.
And Denzil Marcano dispatched the 82nd minute penalty confidently to pull Pleasantville level.
Both teams looked happy enough to settle for a point in the dying stages, which would probably please P’Ville coach Kyle Small more.
For Shim, after back to back home draws, the pressure is already on to get their first win this season.
St Mary’s College (3-4-3): 29.Jordan Bidaisee (GK); 5.Howard Sabga, 3.Emilio Saunders, 28.Abraham Mohammed; 6.Samuel Affonso, 21.Nathan Harte, 7.Matthaeus Granger (C), 18.Joshua Joseph; 20.Tyler Kirton (33.Gabriel Nanton), 10.Aaron Skeene, 17.Justin Brooks (34.Terran Winner).
Unused Substitutes: 1.Gordon Sabga (GK), 24.Alejandro Gocking, 26.Michael Poon Angeron, 32.Kevon Alonzo, 36.Tyrese Spicer.
Coach: Ryan Shim
Pleasantville (4-2-3-1): 1.Raheem Lee (GK), 13.Shane Baldeo, 4.Andrew Adonis, 2.Jeznel Duntin, 18.Nevorne Mc Nicholls; 11.Denzil Marcano, 7.Anfernee Joefield; 14.Dillon Yearwood, 10.Jude Phillip (C) (5.Aaron Alexander), 19.Nical Thompson (8.Akeal Pierre); 9.Daniel Cowan.
Unused Substitutes: 6.Joshua De France, 12.Jevaughn Sylvester, 15.Tristan Caesar, 16.Jamal Cupid, 17.Ephraim Brown.
Coach: Kyle Small
Man of the Match: Jude Phillip (Pleasantville Secondary)
SSFL Premier Division
(Saturday 10 September)
St Mary’s College 1 (Mattheus Granger 50), Pleasantville 1 (Denzil Marcano 82 pen) at Serpentine Road;
Presentation (San F’do) 1 (Jarod Gordon 3), Fatima College 0 at Guaracara Park;
Signal Hill 0, QRC 0 at Signal Hill;
Fyzabad Secondary 2 (Sharkeel Louison 50, Ken Bhola 78), St Augustine 2 (Anthony Samuel 44, Rahim Gordon 45) at Fyzabad;
Shiva Boys HC 1 (Tyrell Baptiste 74), St Benedict’s College 0 at Irwin Park;
Trinity College Moka 2 (Saleem Henry 35, Isaiah McLean 48), San Juan North 1 (Tigana O’Brien) at Moka;
St Anthony’s College vs East Mucurapo at Westmoorings [Abandoned due to waterlogged field]
Naparima College on a bye.
Upcoming fixtures [All games kick off at 3.40pm]
(Wednesday 14 September)
Fatima College vs St Mary’s College at Mucurapo Road;
Naparima College vs Fyzabad Secondary at Lewis Street, San Fernando;
St Benedict’s College vs Presentation (San F’do) at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
St Augustine Secondary vs St Anthony’s College at St Augustine;
San Juan North vs Shiva Boys HC at Bourg Mulatresse;
East Mucurapo vs Signal Hill at Moka;
QRC vs Trinity College Moka at QRC.