N/E Stars thrilled to meet Eve's Rangers… but not for all the right reasons

North East Stars star midfielder Keron Cummings (left) shields the ball from W Connection’s Aaquil Campbell during last season’s 2015 FA Trophy final.
Monday 26 October 2015

North East Stars head coach Roland Clarke says his players are fired up to meet the club’s former coach Angus Eve when they host St. Ann’s Rangers from 4 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Tuesday in Round One Match Day Three of the Digicel Pro League (DPL) 2015-16.

Clarke, now in his first stint as a head coach of a Pro League team, said, “For me personally, it isn’t a grudge match. But it is like a personal vendetta for some of the players. Their mind-set is that the game is an avenue for them to express their feelings for how they felt in the past three (seasons).”

Clarke, who replaced Eve, at the end of the latter’s three-year contract, said he only learnt of the “grouse” after he took over the team for pre-season.

In 2012, Eve, a former assistant coach to Terry Fenwick at San Juan Jabloteh and to Michael Mc Comie at the now defunct Ma Pau SC, entered his first stint as head coach of a club on a three-year agreement.

Eve, during his stint, led the Sangre Grande club to the 2012 Toyota Classic and 2015 TTFA FA Trophy, while finishing the club in fourth, fifth and fourth in the 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 DPL season’s, respectively.

Clarke, although relatively unknown, believes he’s “no Johnny-come-lately.”

The 50-year-old is former assistant coach at North East Stars, and also had time as technical director of the club’s youth programme, coach of the Reserve and Under-17 teams. He was also an assistant coach at Joe Public’s first team and head coach of the Eastern Lions’ Super League and East Zone teams.

At present, both North East Stars (4 points) and Rangers (2 points) are unbeaten after two DPL games, occupying second and seventh positions respectively.

North East Stars defeated Club Sando 2-0 and were held to a 4-4 draw with Police, while Rangers tied both their matches 1-1 and 2-2 against Defence Force and Club Sando, respectively.

“It’s about taking it one game at a time,” explained Clarke. “I have some work to do still. As I got deeper into it I realised there are certain weaknesses in the team. Already I am hearing the critics saying that North East Stars bring an exciting brand (of football). But it’s a long season and the players all know we need to continue working and improving.”

Also on Tuesday, defending DPL champions and current leaders Central FC (4 points) will tackle season newcomers Club Sando, for a second time in five days, from 6 pm at the Mahaica Oval.

This after the "Couva Sharks" defeated the former Super League champions 4-0 to reach the final of the First Citizens Cup on Friday 30 October against Couva-rivals W Connection.

W Connection will also make the trip south and will face home side Point Fortin Civic from 8 pm at Mahaica Oval.

And in a simultaneous double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Morvant Caledonia United and Police FC will face each other from 6 pm and Defence Force are against San Juan Jabloteh from 8 pm.

Digicel Pro League 2015-16

Round One Match Day Three
Tuesday 27 October 2015
Larry Gomes Stadium
North East Stars vs St. Ann's Rangers—4 pm

Mahaica Oval
Club Sando vs Central FC—6 pm
Point Fortin Civic vs W Connection—8 pm

Ato Boldon Stadium
Morvant Caledonia United vs Police FC—6 pm
Defence Force vs San Juan Jabloteh—8 pm