Central and W Connection resume Digicel Pro League title chase on Friday

Central FC forward Marcus Joseph makes a daring attempt to cut off a strike from Police FC utility player Christon Thomas during the 2015 First Citizens Cup.

Thursday March 31, 2016

Defending champions Central FC will be hoping to extend their lead at the top of the Digicel Pro League 2015/16 standings by nine points clear of rivals W Connection on Friday April 1 when the “Couva Sharks” face Police FC from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

But maximum points for the Dale Saunders-coached Central against the “Lawmen” does not guarantee the 9-point gap at the end of the night with Connection, six points behind in second and facing North East Stars from 8pm in the second game at the Couva venue.

Connection are undefeated in their last six games in all competitions but have only achieved five points from a possible 12 points in their last four league appearances.

The “Savonetta Boys” have captured the two major titles – First Citizens Cup and Toyota Classic – already contested this season but dropping points in the league with six games left could be costly with Central ahead on 46 points and a game in hand.

Central, meanwhile, are on a nine-game winning streak in all competitions and 15 games undefeated in all competitions since installing then assistant coach Saunders as an interim replacement for Ross Russell in mid-December.
Central FC coach Dale Saunders (left) receives his The Fan Club Coach of the Month rewards for January and February from The Fan Club director of operations Mario Singh at TFC’s outlet in Aboutique Mall in Port-of-Spain on March 23, 2016.
It’s now left to see whether or not the three-week league break – to facilitate the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Team’s friendly international against Grenada and back-to-back FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers against St. Vincent and the Grenadines – has had any negative effect on Central’s rich run of form.

Police have never defeated Central this season, although twice making it quite difficult for the “Couva Sharks” under Russell’s charge in October (4-3 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the First Citizens Cup) and in December (4-3 in Round One of the League). But in January, under Saunders’ care, Central were comfortable 3-0 winners over the “Lawmen”.

As for W Connection, the task on Friday could be a difficult one against a North East Stars side rejuvenated by a number of transfer window signings including the return of former TT Pro League Player of the Year and the second all-time top goal-scorer behind Defence Force’s Devorn Jorsling, Kerry Baptiste.

The 34-year-old Baptiste scored just once in the Toyota Classic for Central in a rare feature for the club he joined at the start if the season, but the multiple-time Pro League winner (San Juan Jabloteh and Joe Public) hit the ground running at North East Stars after teaming-up again with coach Russell.

The Stars, seated fifth with 32 points—one point more than Police, are on a four-game league winning streak with Baptiste’s scoring 8 goals by finding the back of the net in each of the four games.

On Saturday Club Sando and Morvant Caledonia United will journey to the Guayaguayare Recreation Ground in the community of Guayaguayare where they will contest each other from 4pm.

Simultaneously at the Barataria Recreation Ground in Barataria, home side San Juan Jabloteh will welcome St. Ann’s Rangers, and from 6pm at the Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin, Point Fortin Civic will host Defence Force from 6pm.

Jabloteh are on a five-game winning streak with the help of attacker Nathan Lewis. The winger has scored 6 goals in his team’s last four outings and is a favourite in Barataria with three of his latest goals scored for adoring home fans.

Digicel Pro League 2015/16
Round Three Match Day Four
Friday 01 April 2016
Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Police FC vs Central FC—6pm
W Connection vs North East Stars—8pm

Saturday 02 April 2016
Guayaguayare Recreation Ground, Guayaguayare
Club Sando vs Morvant Caledonia United—4pm

Barataria Recreation Ground, Barataria
San Juan Jabloteh vs St. Ann's Rangers—4 pm

Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
Point Fortin Civic vs Defence Force—6pm