Apai and Plaza tricks as Connection and Central registers huge wins

Goals galore as million-dollar Pro League intensity rises

W Connection's Suriname forward Dimitrie Apai shows his speed against Police winger Vernell Ramirez on Tuesday 8 April at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Round Three Match Day Six of the Digicel Pro League. Apai scored a hat-trick in his team's 6-1 win

Strikers Dimitrie Apai and Willis Plaza both grabbed hat-tricks in separate instances at the Ato Boldon Stadium (ABS) on Tuesday night as longstanding Digicel Pro League leaders W Connection and unyielding title contenders Central FC flattened Police FC 6-1 and Caledonia AIA 5-1 respectively.

While simultaneously at the Marvin Lee Stadium, San Juan Jabloteh came from behind to hold cellar positioned St. Ann’s Rangers to a 2-2 draw in a bottom of the table clash, and Point Fortin Civic edged North East Stars 1-0 thanks to Marcus Joseph’s 13th league goal this season.

Civic, up a spot into third with 36 points, and the hurdled Stars (33 points) are both out of the title race, which can be considered a two-team race, although defending champions Defence Force with 7 games to play still stands within a mathematical chance of retaining the title.

Connection, with three matches left, continues to lead the standings with 45 points – seven points ahead of bitter rivals Central (38 points), who have four games left and have extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches while boasting a 7-match winning streak.

Both Connection and Central are also looking ahead to Friday’s Lucozade Sport Goal Shield (LSGS) semi-final at the ABS against Point Fortin Civic (6 pm) and North East Stars (8 pm) respectively, and have surely boosted their confidence with Tuesday’s league results.

Connection hammered a 10-man Police with 19-year-old Suriname striker Apai registering his hat-trick in the second half for Connection. But the “Lawmen” were already somewhat deflated by two early penalty strikes from Joevin Jones and a second yellow card sending off to Ariei Mc David, all happening before the half hour mark.
Police FC goalie Adrian Foncette (#18) stretches in vain at a Joevin Jones (#10 partially blurred at right) penalty during W Connection 6-1 win on Tuesday 8 April at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Round Three Match Day Six of the Digicel Pro League
The Stuart Charles Fevrier-coached Connection were celebrating a 1-0 lead by the 13th minute when Joevin smashed his strike from the spot and out of Foncette’s reach towards the upper netting after Mc David’s foul on Kurt Frederick well inside the area.

Then on the 22nd minute Connection led 2-0 with another Joevin left-footed penalty, emulating his earlier strike, after referee Cecil Hinds pointed to the spot when Joevin’s brother, Alvin Jones went to ground against Jasimar Ashers just outside the six-yard area.

Joevin taking his league tally this season to 12 goals, joining North East Stars forward Trevin Caesar in second on the goal-scorer’s list behind Marcus Joseph.

It got worse for coach Richard Hood by the 26th minute when a second yellow card awarded to Mc David by Hinds for a foul on Apai near the touch-line reduced the “Lawmen” to ten men.

Hood’s side pulled back a goal in the 29th minute from a cool Jameel Perry finish against goalkeeper Julani Archibald, reducing the deficit 1-2, following an errant back-pass by Frederick, while Connection were still grousing over a dismissed penalty shout seconds earlier after Apai went to ground against Ashers.

Perry got close to a second item five minutes from the half hitting the base of the upright from a tight angle, and three minutes inside the second period the Police striker failed to take full advantage of a ricocheted Todd Ryan attempt when he tamed the ball to Archibald.

But despite the hard work and sleek midfield runs and passing by Trent Noel, Perry hitting the frame, and a deflected Elijah Belgrave swooshing inches high of the crossbar, Police failed to hold it together and conceded four goals in the second period.

By the 53rd minute Dimitrie Apai restored Connection’s two-goal advantage with a 3-1 score with his first on the night off a low Neil Benjamin Jr. cross.

Substitute Hashim Arcia made it 4-0 in the 72nd minute with a deft volley and two minutes from regular time Joevin, who troubled the side netting in the 15th minute and had a wide audacious chip on the hour mark, was blanked by the legs of Foncette after a squared pass by Gerard Williams. And from the rebound Apai curled wide of the far post.

But the diminutive Apai popped up, within the same 88th minute, to hammer substitute Jomol Williams’ pass past Foncette for his second and a 5-1 Connection lead.

Williams was also close to an item of his own when his stoppage time free-kick shaved Foncette’s side netting.

And to the further disappointment of Foncette, who also had a save against Benjamin Jr. in the 58th minute, Apai later completed his hat-trick and Connection’s 6-1 routing of Police in the third and final minute of stoppage after he was set free into the area by a Frederick pass.

However Apai and Connection weren’t the only ones celebrating a hat-trick and impressive score-line.
Central FC forward Willis Plaza in motion during one of his attempts at goal against Caledonia AIA on Tuesday 8 April at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Round Three Match Day Six of the Digicel Pro League. Plaza scored a hat-trick in his team's 5-1 win
Central’s mid-season talisman signing Willis Plaza also grabbed three goals on the night, and was denied a fourth by the frame in stoppage time.

The Trinidad and Tobago international opened the scoring in the 17th minute when he turned in a Jamal Jack cross, beating goalkeeper Kevin Graham from inside the six yard area for a 1-0 advantage.

Three minutes later he missed out on another after his header off a hard-worked Rundell Winchester cross took a deflection to sail wide.

As for Caledonia, coming off last Friday’s 4-0 defeat against the “Sharks” in the quarter-final round of the LSGS, the Morvant/Laventille outfit failed to capitalize on an excellent buildup six minutes into the match when winger Pernell Schultz’ pass found Jameel Neptune inside the area, but the latter’s teed pass to Dylon King above the area was struck over-bar.

And in the 13th minute Central goalie Jan-Michael Williams was forced to parry a strike by Densill Theobald from within the area.

The Jamaal Shabazz-coached Caledonia did find the back of the net in the 23rd minute however, with Montserrat international Julian Wade leveling the score 1-1 by slapping low past Williams.
Central FC defensive hard-man Jamal Jack adding value in an advance role. Jack had three assists in his team's 5-1 win over Caledonia on Tuesday 8 April at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Round Three Match Day Six of the Digicel Pro League
But Central were back in front 2-1 by the 29th minute after Plaza, who was set free behind the defence by a Jack through-ball, struck low to beat a hapless Graham.

Central then made off to the dressing room with a 3-1 half-time lead following a 45th minute set piece involving a number of stopovers and Mitchell’s chip over the top.

Jack, the receiver inside the area, was involved in yet another goal after his pass across the six-yard area found its way to Ataullah Guerra who hit home.

Plaza, slipped through by a Darren Mitchell pass, added his third in style in the 57th minute after he rounded an advanced Graham and scored from a tight angle for a 4-1 score and putting his rapidly climbing tally to 10 league goals this term.

The hard-working forward was denied a fourth by the crossbar in stoppage time after his lofted try sailed over Graham.

But by then Central were already leading 5-1 with the fifth item scored by substitute Samuel Delice in the 75th minute.

Digicel Pro League 2013-2014
Round Three Match Day Six
W Connection 6—1 Police FC, at the Ato Boldon Stadium
Joevin Jones 15’(pen), 23’(pen), Dimitrie Apai 53’, 88’, 90’+3, Hashim Arcia 72’  ; Jameel Perry 29’

Central FC 5—1 Caledonia AIA, at the Ato Boldon Stadium
Willis Plaza 16’, 29’, 57’ Atuallah Guerra 45’, Samuel Delice 75’  ;  Julian Wade 23’

San Juan Jabloteh 2—2 St. Ann’s Rangers, at the Marvin Lee Stadium
Neil Mitchell 88’, 90’+2  ;  Keron Cornwall 63’, Kadeem Corbin 66’

North East Stars 0—1 Point Fortin Civic, at the Marvin Lee Stadium
Marcus Joseph 54’

W Connection—18. Julani Archibald (GK), 3. Gerard Williams (C), 2. Kurt Frederick, 4. Daneil Cyrus, 7. Silvio Spann (40. Jomol Williams 66th minute), 10. Joevin Jones, 15. Mekeil Williams, 17. Jamal Clarence (14. Hashim Arcia 64th minute), 32. Dimitrie Apai, 39. Alvin Jones, 65. Neil Benjamin Jr. (11. Tremain Shayn Paul 72nd minute)

Unused substitutes—19. Leslie Joel Russell, 20. Stefano Rijssel, 22. Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 25. Christian Viveros

Coach—Stuart Charles Fevrier

Police FC—18. Adrian Foncette (GK), 21. Todd Ryan (C), 2. Jasimar Ashers, 6. Kenaz Williams, 8. Akiba Peters, 10. Trent Noel (Yellow Card) (11. Kareem Perry 72nd minute), 12. Vernell Ramirez (39. Joel Kevin Lewis 64th minute), 15. Jameel Perry, 20. Elijah Belgrave, 24. Ariei Mc David (Yellow + Yellow = Red Card), 25. Kemron Purcell

Unused substitutes—1. Errol Charles, 5. Anton Hutchinson, 13. Elijah Roberts, 26. Wendell Joseph, 34. Keston Mata (GK)

Coach—Richard Hood

Central FC—21. Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 1. Willis Plaza, 2. Elton John, 3. Keion Goodridge, 10. Marvin Oliver (C) (6. Leston Paul 76th minute), 11. Darren Mitchell (4. Sean de Silva 73rd minute), 12. Jamal Jack, 17. Rundell Winchester (27. Samuel Delice 67th minute), 24. Akeem Benjamin, 45. Atuallah Guerra, 50. Yohance Marshall

Unused substitutes—9. Dwight Quintero, 15. Kaydion Gabriel, 22. Keon Trim, 25. Javon Sample (GK)

Coach—Terry Fenwick

Caledonia AIA—34. Kevin Graham (GK), 4. Raymond Alleyne, 5. Akeem Thomas (Yellow Card), 7. Stephan David (C), 12. Kareem Joseph, 13. Julian Wade, 20. Noel Williams, 21. Densill Theobald, 22. Jameel Neptune (18. Denron Frederick 79th minute), 28. Pernell Schultz (3. Nuru Abdullah Muhammad 60th minute), 31. Dylon King (27. Nathan Lewis 60th minute)

Unused substitutes—1. Shemel Louison (GK), 6. Marcus Armbrose, 19. Nical Stephens, 24. Conrod Smith

Coach—Jamaal Shabazz