Benedict's Break Naparima In Two

Shaun Fuentes
Date Published: 
Trinidad Guardian

Southerners St Benedict's College knocked Naparima College out of the runnings in this year's Coca -Cola Intercol with a 2-0 shut out in a highly anticipated affair at Skinner Park on Tuesday. Goals in either halves by Kendell Davis and Silvio Spann drove the LA Romain "Big Truck" past their opponents, in the process booking a spot in the semi-final stage and the victory also gave them a form of revenge for an earlier 2-1 loss to "Naps" in a league outing.

Benedict's made most of the early runnings and almost took the lead in the opening ten minutes when Kendell Davis did well to hold off challenges from two Naparima defenders but his shot was well stopped by goalkeeper Aquelius Sylvester. "Naps" didn't function up front as expected with their main man, skipper Erasto Neptune looking disturbingly heavy-legged throughout the contest.

Jason Hector had an opportunity to put his team in the lead,after he missed a first time shot, he recovered in time but could only manage in directing his second attempt over bar.

Benedict's kept piling forward with vigour if not a great deal of finesse and were rewarded in the 30th minute when Kendell Davis found himself unmarked inside the 18 yd box and headed past a stranded Sylvester following some good work by Dia Hunte on the right flank.

Benedict's sent the alarm bells ringing for Naparima throughout Skinner Park as early as the 1st minute of the second half when Kevon Clement was hacked down in the penalty box by Clint Deverteuil. Silvio Spann made no mistake slotting past Sylvester from the spot. Immediately following this,'Naps" began to apply the pressure on their opponents. Jason Hector blasted over bar and Ateba McKnight was denied by goalkeeper Perry Martin who pushed a low shot around his left post.

Martin's value was emphasized again soon after when was forced to tip over an intended cross by Leon Brown for a corner. Jan Steadman's unit continued to press forward but it all turned out to be a tale of crosses and final passes lacking the quality to cause any problems against the Benedict's defence.

Steadman was forced to withdraw Neptune from the action and the skipper made his way off the field with an expression of disappointment on his face.

From then on Naparima seemed to be playing with little drive or confidence. Benedict's had further opportunities to increase their lead but lacked the finishing touch in front of goal. Their best chance arrived when Hunte forced his way past defender Kurt Borel and delivered a cross for Davis who skimmed his attempt over bar with the goal at his mercy.

To compound Naparima's frustration on an evening of missed chances and wasted possession, they had Jacey Peters sent off for violent conduct off the ball.

Benedict's had been backed by the popular Point Fortin Engine Room rhythm section throughout the 'showdown' which attracted both the young and old and the Park was also graced by the presence of Nigel Grosvenor and his bunch of St Anthony's "Tigers" "Naps" had their traditional schoolboys band providing the beat for them .

However, only the sounds of the engine were heard in the end as the LA Romaine "Big Truck" drove off in style bouncing their opponents out of the Competition and they will now make their way to the Hasely Crawford Stadium to face defending Intercol champions St Anthony's College in a repeat of last year's final on Saturday in the second affair of a semi-final double header at 5:30pm.

Princes Town Senior Comprehensive booked their spot in the semi-final of the Coca-Cola Intercol competition on Wednesday, when they stunned Arima Senior on the Dr. Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence ground. Andre Marshall's goal on a slushy outfield and in persistent rain made the difference as the two teams battled valiantly with the testing playing conditions.

P/Town almost went ahead in the opening five minutes when a shot by Ian 'Boogie ' Williams drifted wide of Arima custodian Marvin Hypolite and Kempton Thompson's follow up shot came back off the left post.

The 'Green Hornets' were more aggressive in the opening stages leaving their opponents on the backfoot and came close again in the 21st minute when Marcus Alleyne's left -footed shot found Hypolite.

The inclusion of midfielder Vijay Samaroo, playing his first game of the 1998 season, added a bit of spice to the P/Town line-up and they appeared the more committed of the two teams in getting the task done.

However, Arima also had their share of missed opportunities, the closes being Kenyon Trotman's well timed header which grazed the cross bar on its way over.

The 'Dial Dynamos' pressed for the opening goal following the interval but Damian Matthews and Stefon Edwards had their efforts denied by Ricardo Johnson keeping for the Southerners.

The decisive moment arrived in the 63rd minute. Samaroo was the instigator with a well measured left sided free-kick. Hypolite failed to hold onto the ball but Willaims' initial shot was blocked.

However, Marshall was on the spot to stab home the rebound. Arima went in desperate search for the equalizer but failed in their attempts against a determined P/Town defence marshalled by skipper Dwight De Leon.

On one occasion, Arima's Abu Bakr Paponette saw his shot form the top of the 18 yard box whistle past Johnson's left post. The large Princes Town contingent of fans along with coach Desmond'Darko'Bailey and school principal Joe Sirju were overjoyed at the end.

The stage is now set for Saturday's semi final encounter between the Southerner's and Tobago's Signal Hill at the Hasely Crawford Stadium . This will be a repeat of the 1994 final in which P/Town triumphed 1-0.

Following this, the second semi final affair will take place at the same venue. Last's year's winners St Anthony's college will take on losing finalists St Benedict's College.