Naparima College opened their 2018 Premier League campaign with an astounding victory away to St. Mary’s College in St. Clair.
Last season’s runners-up were, theoretically, weakened this year without Ronaldo McIntosh, Rushawn Murphy, Rondell Payne and Judah St. Louis. But coach Angus Eve was adamant on working with what he had (with a few additions) to chase this season’s title.
Naparima’s tactics were similar to what was seen in the last campaign — there was emphasis on congesting the middle of the pitch when defending and utilizing the wide areas in attack.
It took just 20 minutes for Naps to break the deadlock through Seon Shippley. But the “Saints” responded 10 minutes later when winger Tyrese Spicer directed his right-footed volley past Levi Fernandez from the edge of the area.
With the scores level at the break, Naparima needed to do more to make their opponents more uncomfortable on their home turf — and up stepped Mark Ramdeen to do the dirty work. The diminutive winger worked well in tandem with Isa Bramble on the transition, once the midfield pair of Kodel Frontin and Shoaib Khan took care of their defensive responsibilities.
Upon 53 minutes, Ramdeen clinically placed his right-footed shot into the bottom corner after a remarkable counter-attack to put the visitors back in front.
Photo: Mark Ramdeen celebrates his goal with an acrobatic flip.
Naparima wrapped up the victory with a towering header from Isa Bramble in the 76th minute and ensured that their season got off to a good start.
Angus Eve, Naparima College Head Coach
“I thought it was a good test. Credit to St Mary’s, they had about seven of their starters from last season when I went through the team sheet because we did our homework on them. I think they’ll give a lot of people problems in the League. They had a good strong structure and they played good football.”
1.Levi Fernandez (GK) (captain); 17.Nathaniel Perouse (9.Ezekiel Kesar 83), 13.Jeron Pantor, 4.Tyrike Andrews, 15.Marvin Waldrop; 8.Kodel Frontin, 6.Shoaib Khan; 7.Mark Ramdeen (24.Asukile Christopher 73), 10.Decklan Marcelle, 20.Seon Shippley (14.Molik Khan 61); 19.Isa Bramble.
25.Keane Subero (GK), 3.Chakim Guy, 11.Kern Cedeno, 24.Jabari Lee.
Man of the Match: