NLCL round-up: SMS join Malabar in quarters; 10 teams chase six spots with one match day left

A double from striker Terron Miller on Sunday afternoon assured Soccer Made Simple (SMS) of one of the three NLCL Under-19 Community Cup quarterfinal places available in Group A. They whipped Malabar Young Stars 3-1 at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

The final score-line was a reversal of the 3-1 defeat that Malabar served up to Soccer Made Simple at the Arima Velodrome on 5 May and, to add insult to injury, it meant that SMS leapfrogged the Young Stars into first place in the group.

Photo: Soccer Made Simple goalkeeper Tyrece Romain (on ground) saves from Malabar Young Stars forward Jorel Grant (left) during NLCL U-19 Community Cup action at the Arima Velodrome on 5 May 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

There is only one match day remaining in the regular season of the NLCL competition and Cantaro United need only a draw to join SMS and Malabar in the next round.

Cantaro, who spanked Creek Sports and Cultural Club 5-0 on the weekend, are three points clear of Trendsetter Hawks. If captain Nathaniel ‘Baba’ Perouse can help his team take a single point off Malabar on Thursday—when the two teams meet at the Brian Lara Recreation Ground in Santa Cruz from 6pm—it will be enough to keep the Santa Cruz-based team alive in the competition.

Hawks missed a chance to bolster their goal difference on Sunday when they edged AC Port of Spain 3-2. On Thursday, they must compensate for that by beating Creek by six clear goals and hoping that Malabar triumph in Santa Cruz.

Hawks spanked Creek 5-0 on 12 May so that is not an unfeasible scenario. But without Malabar’s help, they will not get to the knockout round.

Photo: Trendsetter Hawks midfielder Anthony Samuel (left) tries to keep possession during NLCL U-19 action against Cantaro Utd at the Brian Lara Recreation Ground on 28 April 2022 in Cantaro, Santa Cruz.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

In Group B, any one of five of the six teams can still get to the quarterfinal stage while, heading into the final match day, not a single outfit is home and dry yet.

Cox Football Academy jumped from fifth to third place with a 4-2 win over Moruga FC while Point Fortin Youth Academy kept their own dreams alive with a 2-1 win over leaders Gasparillo Youths. Justin Walcott netted the consolation item for Gasparillo.

Cunupia FC were the most immediate beneficiaries as their 2-1 win over table-proppers Pitchmen FC–courtesy of a Jordan Lara double–saw them move from second to first place. Gasparillo and Cunupia both have 15 points while Cox FA and Point Fortin have 13 apiece. So, on the final match day, Moruga, on 11, are not out of the reckoning.

Cox FA play away to Pitchhmen FC, knowing that a win will take them to 16 points and into the quarters. The Pitchmen have not won a game for the entire season.

Photo: Cox FA midfielder Maliki Clement (right) tries to escape from Gasparillo Youths flanker Justin Walcott during NLCL U-19 action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 May 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

If they are to advance, Point Fortin need a win over Cunupia at Mahaica Oval. And if they manage that and Gasparillo and Cox FA also triumph, Cunupia, who enter the final round as Group B leaders, will be eliminated.

For Moruga, the task is to defeat Gasparillo Youths by two clear goals at least at Grand Chemin–but that will only be enough if both Point Fortin and Cox FA lose or draw.

No pressure, then.

In Tobago, North Stars Academy have no chance of progressing. But any number can play between Eagles FC (12 pts), Jaric Titans (9 pts) and Tobago East Stars (9 pts).

With their 2-1 win over the Titans on Sunday, the East Stars certainly gave themselves a fighting chance while Eagles blanked the already doomed North Stars with a 3-0 trouncing.

Photo: Moruga FC captain Tyrique Lucas (right) tries to keep possession ahead of Cunupia FC winger Winston Johnson Guerra during NLCL U-19 action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 May 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Titans will feel confident about getting to 12 points with a win over the struggling North Stars on Thursday. If they manage that, they will advance regardless of the result in the second Group C game.

If Tobago East Stars defeat Eagles FC by at least three clear goals, then the East Stars will join Titans in the quarterfinal stage. Anything short of that margin will see Eagles advance with Titans.

Game on!

NLCL U-19 Community Cup results

(Sunday 22 May)

Soccer Made Simple 3 (Terron Miller [2], Jaheim Patrick), Malabar Young Stars 1 (Anthony Wells), Group A, Ato Boldon Stadium;

Trendsetter Hawks 3 (Jonathan Robinson, Anthony Samuel, Nkosi Parks), AC Port of Spain 2, Group A, Ato Boldon Stadium;

Creek S&CC 0, Cantaro FC 5 (Jaydon Charles [2], Nathaniel Perouse, Derique Woods, Josiah Paul), Group A, George Boyce Recreation Ground;

Cox Football Academy 4, Moruga FC 2, Group B, Beach Camp, Palo Seco;

Gasparillo Youths 1 (Justin Walcott), Pt Fortin YA 2, Group B, Lumsden Ground, Gasparillo;

Cunupia FC 2 (Jordan Lara [2]), Pitchmen FC 1, Group B, St Mary’s Recreation Ground, Freeport;

Jaric Titans 1, Tobago East Stars 2, Group C, Mt St George Recreation Ground;

Eagles FC 3, North Stars Academy 0, Group C, Mt St George Recreation Ground.

Photo: Cantaro Utd star Nathaniel ‘Bubba’ Perouse (left) battles for possession with Trendsetter Hawks midfielder Jonathan Robinson during NLCL U-19 action at the Brian Lara Recreation Ground in Cantaro, Santa Cruz on 28 April 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Upcoming fixtures

(Thursday 26 May)

Cantaro FC vs Malabar Young Stars, Group A, 6pm, Brian Lara Recreation Ground;

Soccer Made Simple vs AC Port of Spain, Group A, 6pm, Bon Air Recreation Ground;

Creek S&CC vs Trendsetter Hawks, Group A, 6pm, George Boyce Recreation Ground;

Pitchmen FC vs Cox Football Academy, Group B, 5pm, Mahaica Oval;

Pt Fortin YA vs Cunupia FC, Group B, 7pm, Mahaica Oval;

Moruga FC vs Gasparillo Youths, Group B, 6pm, Grand Chemin Recreation Ground;

Tobago East Stars vs Eagles FC, Group C, 5pm, TBD;

Jaric Titans vs North Stars Academy, Group C, 7pm, TBD.

Photo: Cox FA midfielder Mordecai Brown (left) tries to hold off a determined Gasparillo Youths flanker Justin Walcott during NLCL U-19 action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 May 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Group A

(Tabulated as Played-Won-Tied-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)

Malabar Young Stars   9-6-1-2-27-12-19

Soccer Made Simple     9-6-1-2-25-11-19

Cantaro United               9-5-3-1-21-9-18

Trendsetter Hawks       9-5-0-4-22-17-15

AC Port of Spain             9-2-1-6-11-26-7

Creek S&CC                      9-0-0-9-6-370

Photo: Gasparillo Youths goalkeeper Raheem Lee makes a successful clearance during NLCL U-19 action against Cox FA at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 May 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Group B

(Tabulated as Played-Won-Tied-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)

Cunupia FC                     9-3-3-2-16-13-15

Gasparillo Youths         9-4-3-2-12-10-15

Cox Football Academy 9-4-1-4-14-13-13

Point Fortin YFA            9-3-4-2-13-12-13

Moruga FC                        9-3-2-4-12-12-11

Pitchmen FC                    9-0-5-4-5-12-5

Photo: Cunupia FC coach Randolph Boyce (right) offers a drink of water to defender Joshua Phillip during NLCL U-19 action against Moruga FC at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 May 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Group C

(Tabulated as Played-Won-Tied-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)

Eagles FC                        5-4-0-1-7-2-12

Jaric Titans                     5-3-0-2-8-3-9

Tobago East Stars         5-3-0-2-7-8-9

North Stars Academy  5-0-0-5-3-12-0

Editor’s Note: Fixtures are subject to change by the NLCL organising committee.

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