Central slam five past 10-man Civic to keep grip on 2014-2015 Digicel Pro League crown

    Connection edge Caledonia but face a mountain of a challenge
    Rangers hold N/E Stars for second point in 23 matches

Central FC midfielder Ataulla Guerra, left, celebrates scoring his team’s fifth goal in a 5-2 Digicel Pro League Round Three win over Point Fortin Civic on 24 April 2015 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. At right is teammate Darren Mitchell. (Photo: Allan V. Crane / www.ttproleague.com)
Friday 24 April 2015

Leaders Central FC (52 points) are now within one point of eliminating all uncertainties and lifting their maiden Digicel Pro League crown, which carries with it a $1 million prize, after a hard-fought 5-2 win over 10-man Point Fortin Civic on Friday night at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

And even if the “Couva Sharks” were to lose their final 2014-2015 league match against North East Stars from 8 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday 28 April, they can still win the DPL crown if second placed defending champions W Connection were to lose or draw in the earlier Tuesday match from 4 pm against Police FC or, are unable to better Central’s superior goal-difference which currently stands at 43, sixteen more than the second placed “Savonetta Boys”, in their remaining two fixtures.

It’s a mountain to climb for Connection (46 points), who, earlier in the day on Friday, were only able to edge Caledonia AIA 2-1 at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium despite recently tallying 14 goals and conceding three in their two Group stage matches in the Caribbean Club Championship.

Jomal Williams opened the scoring for the Connection in the 14th minute against the eight-placed Morvant/Laventille club but needed a 59th minute winner from Jerrel Britto – netting his 12th league goal of the season – after veteran Caledonia player Conrod Smith had levelled the scores in the 54th minute.

As for Central, the Terry Fenwick led side did the necessary, pulling off a top-drawer performance against a gritty 10-man Point Fortin Civic.

Jamal Jack, Kaydion Gabriel, Willis Plaza, substitute Dwight Quintero, and Ataulla Guerra each scored a goal for the “Couva Sharks”, who were desperate for a win to restore a six-point gap on bitter Couva rivals W Connection.

Central proved on Friday night how badly they want to lift the DPL crown, in just their third year of existence, with Jack opening the scoring against Civic in just the third minute of play.

The defender-turned-midfield-muscle towered at the back post to head across goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and into the far netting for a 1-0 advantage off a well-placed Sean de Silva free kick after Plaza was pulled down 20 yards out by Weslie John.
Referee Rodphin issues Point Fortin Civic captain and defender Andre Ettienne, hidden at left, a direct red card following a foul on Central FC midfielder Ataulla Guerra in the ninth minute of their Digicel Pro League Round Three match on 24 April 2015 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. (Photo: Allan V. Crane / www.ttproleague.com)
Civic’s troubles doubled in the 9th minute after referee Rodphin Harris, who had already shown cautions to the Point Fortin club’s Glen Sutton and Andre Toussaint, ejected defender and captain Andre Ettienne with a direct red card for a late two-legged tackle on Guerra near the touchline.

But Civic were resolute, netting on either side of the break to take a 2-1 lead.

Shackiel Henry, unchallenged at the edge of the six-yard box, levelled the scores 1-1 in the in the 18th minute when a perfectly placed Toussaint cross fell to his feet to beat a helpless goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.

Williams was beaten again in the 49th minute when a deflected Marcus Joseph strike from 20 yards out flew into the bottom left corner. The Civic forward celebrating his 15th league goal this season, four behind leader Devorn Jorsling of Defence Force, with the help of defender Elton John’s leg.
Central FC defenders Akeem Benjamin, left, and Elton John, right, are forced to chase as Point Fortin Civic forward Marcus Joseph makes a run towards goal during his team’s 5-2 loss in their Round Three match of the Digicel Pro League on 24 April 2015 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. (Photo: Allan V. Crane / www.ttproleague.com)
That lead however, lasted only three minutes after Kaydion Gabriel struck a laser from the right to find the back of goalkeeper Marvin Phillip’s far netting.

Civic spectated as a patient build-up above the area by Central finally had Guerra play the ball into the right of the box, allowing for a run-on by Gabriel and the fullback executing his strike perfectly to level the scores 2-2.

Central took the lead again in the 80th minute for the first time since Jack’s opening goal when Plaza let off a rocket from inside the right of the area, after combining with substitute Quintero and getting ahead of defender Weslie John, to beat Phillip at his near post for a 3-2 score.

Civic caved in from there on, after a number of brilliant saves by Phillip throughout the match.

Quintero made it 4-2 in the 86th minute after evading his marker inside the box and curling a right footer past a Phillip at the end of a counterattack.

Goalkeeper Williams’ early release to Guerra, allowed the midfielder to capitalise on space all the way into the attacking third before finding Quintero at the edge of the box.

Then in the 91st minute Guerra wrapped up the scoring for a 5-2 finish with his 14th league goal of the season.

Latching onto substitute Darren Mitchell’s pass at the edge of the box, the talented midfielder effortlessly placed a low curling strike past Phillip and into the far corner as if it was child’s play.

Central’s second half comeback coupled with thier chanting and drumming supporters failed to remind all present that cellar placed Rangers had earlier managed only their second point of the season after 23 matches, and that North East Stars were the victim of the 1-1 draw.

Stars, with assistant coach Travis Mulraine holding charge in the technical area with head coach Angus Eve absent, had taken a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute when midfielder Keron Cummings swooped in to hit a Kennedy Hinkson rebound past goalkeeper Christopher Biggette.

But Sayid Freitas levelled the Ron La Forest coached-Rangers 1-1 in the 44th minute by guiding a low Jelani Peters feed through the legs of goalkeeper Cleon John.

North East Stars remained fifth on the standings, tied with 33 points as fourth placed Civic, while third placed Defence Force (36 points) and sixth placed San Juan Jabloteh (28 points) will meet on Sunday 26 April from 4 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium.

Digicel Pro League 2014-2015
Round Three Match Day Seven results
Friday 24 April 2015
Mannie Ramjohn Stadium
W Connection 2 (Jomal Williams 14', Jerrel Britto 55') vs Caledonia AIA 1 (Conrod Smith 59')

Hasely Crawford Stadium
North East Stars 1 (Keron Cummings 26') vs St. Ann's Rangers 1 (Sayid Freitas 44')

Central FC 5 (Jamal Jack 3', Kaydion Gabriel 52', Willis Plaza 80', Dwight Quintero 86', Ataulla Guerra 90'+1) vs Point Fortin Civic 2 (Shackiel Henry 18', Marcus Joseph 49')

Upcoming matches
Sunday 26 April 2015
Round Three Match Day Seven
Larry Gomes Stadium
Defence Force vs San Juan Jabloteh—4 pm

Rescheduled Round Three Match Day Seven fixtures
Tuesday 28 April 2015
Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs Police FC—6 pm
Central FC vs North East Stars—8 pm

Round Three Match Day Nine

Defence Force vs St. Ann’s Rangers

San Juan Jabloteh vs W Connection

North East Stars vs Caledonia AIA

Point Fortin Civic vs Police FC

Teams at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday
North East Stars: 8.Duane Muckette (9.Xae-Pierre De Fou 54th minute), 10.Keron Cummings, 12.Jayson Joseph (14.Dwane James 79th minute), 15.Glenton Wolfe, 18.Kaashif Thomas (42.Taryk Sampson 70th minute), 22.Cleon John (GK), 23.Kennedy Hinkson, 25.Keryn Navarro, 38.Jesus Perez, 41.Neveal Hackshaw, 44.Keon Joseph

Unused substitutes: 1.Stefan Berkeley (GK), 6.Jeromie Williams, 35.Jordan Devonish, 60.Shaquille Thomas

Assistant Coach: Travis Mulraine

St. Ann's Rangers: 3.Al Davidson, 4.Jelani Peters (6.Shaquille Moses 46th minute), 7.Sayid Freitas, 8.Sedale Mc Lean, 9.Keron Cornwall, 13.Jameel Antoine (10.Kennedy Isles 80th minute), 16.David Williams, 22.Christopher Biggette (GK), 26.Nicholas Dillon, 33.Devon Modeste (11.Josh Toussaint 65th minute), 35.Ryan O'Neil

Unused substitutes: 1.Junior Granger (GK), 15.Seon Thomas, 31.Joshua Sylvester, 42.Kevon Goddard

Coach: Ron La Forest

Match Referee: Dave Daniel

Central FC: 5.Akeem Benjamin, 45.Ataulla Guerra (Yellow Card), 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 15.Kaydion Gabriel (Yellow Card), 12.Jamal Jack (6.Leston Paul 66th minute), 2.Elton John, 33.Willis Plaza, 7.Jason Marcano (11.Darren Mitchell 58th minute), 8.Sean de Silva (99.Dwight Quintero 58th minute), 10.Marvin Oliver, 3.Keion Goodridge

Unused substitutes: 1.Javon Sample (GK), 14.Jean-Luc Rochford, 17.Marcelle Francois, 19.Nathaniel Garcia

Coach: Terry Fenwick

Point Fortin Civic: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 4.Weslie John (Yellow Card), 5.Andre Ettienne (Red Card), 6.Akeem Redhead (3.Steven Joseph 64th minute), 7.Kelvin Modeste, 10.Marcus Joseph, 11.Andre Toussaint (Yellow Card), 12.Glenn Sutton (Yellow Card), 15.Rondell Paul (Yellow Card) (23.Kevin Rouse 75th minute), 19.Andrei Pacheco (Yellow Card), 99.Shackiel Henry

Unused substitutes: 9.Matthew Bartholomew, 13.Tevin Belfor, 20.Jamille Boatswain, 27.Bevon Bass, 52.Akini Adams (GK)

Coach: Leroy De Leon

Match Referee: Rodphin Harris