Central move five points clear with Akeem Adams Trophy in hand

File photo: Central FC forward Marcus Joseph (right) during the Concacaf Champions League 2015/16 group stage second-leg clash with MLS club LA Galaxy in Trinidad on Sep. 23, 2015.

Sunday 21 February 2016

Central FC’s excellent run of form has reached a new high—five points clear at the top of the Digicel Pro League standings with an 11-game undefeated streak and the Round Two Akeem Adams Trophy in hand—after defeating cellar-placed St. Ann’s Rangers 3-1 on Saturday.

Marcus Joseph and Kadeem Corbin both scored in the second half to seal Central’s fifth consecutive win after new Rangers’ signing Johan Peltier had made it 1-1 on 28 minutes following Leston Paul’s opening item in the 15th minute at the Larry Gomes Stadium.

Joseph, now with 10 league goals this season, netted in his fifth consecutive game to return Central’s lead on 56 minutes before Corbin snatched his first ever Couva Sharks goal in the 90th minute.

The victory improved Central’s place at the top of the league standings to 40 points, while hurdling rivals W Connection, who were defeated 2-0 by Club Sando simultaneously at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, by one point to retain the Akeem Adams Trophy which is awarded to the team with the highest points tally from Round Two in the league.

“In open play it’s really hard to beat us,” said Central FC director of operations Kevin Harrison prior to Saturday’s win over Rangers. “…unless there is a lack in concentration. While people may think it’s not the best squad we have, it’s the best system that we have played since the club was formed.

“The concept of our performances are based on high intensity play, and closing down the opponents quickly. We aspire towards the system of Bayern Munich.”

Central are unbeaten since sacking Ross Russell as coach in mid-December and installing assistant coach Dale Saunders as interim head coach, while managing director Brent Sancho and his Trinidad and Tobago 2006 World Cup teammate Stern John serves as assistant coaches.

Harrison added, “Brent, and Stern, coming in voluntarily, are assisting Dale with the wealth of knowledge and experience they have. But there are underlying factors under the new regime. They had a look into the squad and the moral of the players to get a better understanding. There is now a great level of respect on the training ground with every player working hard and the team is now gelling better.”

Connection’s prior two-point lead in the race for the Akeem Adams Trophy was reduced to nothing in their final Round Two game after Sando scored twice in a four-minute spell to inflict a second league upset over the Savonetta Boys on Saturday.
​File photo: Club Sando forward Devon Modeste (left) challenges Defence Force defender Marvin Jones.
Devon Modeste, scorer in a 1-0 win over Connection in Round One on Jan. 9, converted from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute to put Sando ahead 1-0.

Referee Keilon Bacchus pointed to the spot after Sando midfielder Ryan Frederick, in an attack towards goal, was tripped in the area by Briel Thomas. A minute later Thomas tried to redeem himself with a header off a Shahdon Winchester cross but Sando goalkeeper Jason Belfon—one of four Grenada national team signings made by Sando in the mid-season transfer window—did well to clear the ball away from goal.

However Sando doubled the advantage 2-0 in the 56th minute through Kevon “Showtime” Woodley.

Woodley smashed a low Jesse Downing right-side cross beyond goalkeeper Julani Archibald and into the net after the cross had beaten the legs of defender Daneil Cyrus in his first game back for Connection after a loan stint with MLS outfit Chicago Fire last year.

Ten minutes later Archibald made a brilliant save to equal a lob-attempt from distance by Modeste.

But Connection were left reeling in frustration after being denied three times by the frame in the second half.

Not long after the break, a Kurt Frederick cross skidded off Belfon’s crossbar and in the 78th minute substitute Akeem Garcia rattled the bar from inside the area.

Garcia tried his luck again with a curling attempt from above the area but was just wide of the top corner eight minutes from time.

Connection finally conceded snapping their eight-game undefeated streak after Winchester headed onto the crossbar in stoppage-time before gifting Belfon an easy take off the rebound.

Connection, second on the league standings with 35 points, will shift their focus to the quest of a fifth Concacaf Champions League qualification this week, when they host CS Moulien (Guadeloupe), Inter Moengotapoe (Suriname), and Atletico San Cristobal (Dominican Republic) in Group One of the opening round of the 2016 Caribbean Club Championship.

Defence Force (33 points) are third on the DPL standings and will face eight-placed Morvant Caledonia United (16 points) from 3:30 today (Sunday) at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, while simultaneously at the Larry Gomes Stadium North East Stars, sixth with 23 points, will welcome fifth-placed San Juan Jabloteh (26 points) in a mid-table clash.

Police FC sits in fourth, one point ahead of Jabloteh, after a late Glenn Sutton goal gave ninth-placed Point Fortin Civic a 2-1 win over the Lawmen at the Mahaica Oval on Saturday.

Sylvester Teesdale fired Civic ahead in the 31st minute and Jameel Perry equalised for Police on 79 minutes, before Sutton grabbed the winner for the home side with five minutes left.

Digicel Pro League 2015/16
Round Two Match Day Nine
Saturday 20 February 2016
W Connection 0 vs Club Sando 2 (Devon Modeste 53’ penalty, Kevon Woodley 56’), at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;

St. Ann’s Rangers 1 (Johan Peltier 28’) vs Central FC 3 (Leston Paul 15’, Marcus Joseph 56’, Kadeem Corbin 90’), at Larry Gomes Stadium;

Point Fortin Civic 2 (Sylvester Teesdale 31’, Glenn Sutton 85’) vs Police FC 1 (Jameel Perry 79’), at Mahaica Oval.

Today’s fixtures
Sunday 21 February 2016
Larry Gomes Stadium

North East Stars vs San Juan Jabloteh—3:30 pm

Mannie Ramjohn Stadium
Morvant Caledonia United vs Defence Force—3:30 pm

W Connection 0 vs Club Sando 2 (Devon Modeste 53’ penalty, Kevon Woodley 56’)

Teams at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on Saturday
Club Sando: 1.Jason Belfon (GK), 3.Shanon Phillip, 6.Kemuel Rivers, 9.Jesse Downing, 10.Kevon Neaves, 15.Amrit Gildharry, 16. Kevon Woodley, 17.Jared London, 19.Ryan Frederick (35.Bradley Nestor 66th minute), 22.Corneal Thomas, 24.Devon Modeste (4.Moron Phillip 85th minute)

Unused substitutes: 12.Jack Weedon, 20.Rickson Phillip, 33.Alexei Julien (GK), 26.Shaquille Holder, 34.Kelvin Henry (GK)

Coach: Anthony Streete

W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald (GK), 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams (29.Akeem Benjamin 60th  minute), 5.Triston Hodge, 8.Briel Thomas, 9.Shahdon Winchester, 10.Jomal Williams (12.Dimitri Apai 70th minute), 16.Alvin Jones (Capt.), 14.Andre Toussaint, 34.Jabari Mitchell (20.Jamal Charles 46th minute), 25.Daneil Cyrus

Unused substitutes: 4.Maurice Ford, 35.Keston Julien, 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 46.Anfernee Frederick

Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier

Match Referee: Keilon Bacchus