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ST FRANCOIS Nationals were stunned into silence at the Brian Lara recreation ground, Santa Cruz, last night.

The Belmont-based team, unbeaten until last night could have lifted the North Football Association Premier League title with one round of matches left, but were beaten 2-1 by Maple, popularly called “The Government.”

Now St Francois have to wait for November 5 when they meet Belmont FC in a home-town derby Victory will give St Francois the title, but defeat or a draw could see the Mapleites snatch the crown at the death if they beat Queen’s Park on Thursday.

Maple’s Lekion Elie converted a penalty on the stroke of half time to send his team into the break ahead.

Sean Hinds scored what he believed to be the equaliser for St Francois only for his effort to be disallowed being ruled offside.

The St Francois men showed some grit in the second half, but against the run of play, Maple got a second goal from Jason Phillip in the 50th minute.

The Belmont club, however, pulled one back in the 65th through Rodwell John.

Following this goal, Maple defended stoutly employing the “offside trap” to good effect, blunting the wave of St Francois attacks.

With the victory, Maple pulled themselves back into title race.

Maple’s final game is against Queens Park on Thursday.

St Francois currently holds a four-goal advantage over Maple at the top of the standings entering the final round.

Winners of the zone will advance to the Champion of Champions and a possible place in the National Super League in 2017.