Category: Ma Pau Stars F.C

Stars, Connection lock horns at Arima Velodrome in crucial Pro League clash

​File Photo: W Connection midfielder Hughtun Hector, right, is tackled by then North East Stars utility player Anthony Wolfe during a 2016/17 Pro League clash in Couva.

W Connection, last season’s Pro League runners-up by a point behind then three-peat champions Central FC, will attempt to narrow the gap to goal-difference at the top of the 2017 standings when they visit current leaders North East Stars from 6pm at the Arima Velodrome on Friday.

Connection (27 points) are three points adrift of the Stars (30 points) and five points ahead of third-positioned Club Sando (22 Points), which means a win at the iconic Arima venue will put coach Stuart Charles Fevrier’s side behind only on goal-difference and within better striking distance.

But a loss on their first ever Pro League visit to the Arima Velodrome will spell danger with four league games left.

Pro League 2017 standings

#

Team

MP

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

Pts.

 

1

North East Stars

13

9

3

1

28

11

18

30

 

2

W Connection

13

8

3

2

26

14

12

27

 

3

Club Sando

13

6

4

3

20

14

6

22

 

4

Defence Force

13

5

3

5

17

18

-1

18

 

5

San Juan Jabloteh

12

5

2

5

13

13

 0

17

 

6

Morvant Caledonia

13

4

4

5

11

12

-1

16

 

7

Central FC

12

3

4

5

14

19

-5

13

 

8

Police FC

12

2

5

5

14

18

-4

11

 

9

St. Ann’s Rangers

13

2

3

8

10

22

-12

9

 

10

Point Fortin Civic

12

2

3

7

8

20

-12

9

 

Meanwhile the Stars, coached by Arima native and ex-Connection defender Derek King, are undefeated at the iconic venue since calling it home at the start of the 2017 season with five wins and one draw.

“It will be tough but we have to give all,” said W Connection winger Neil Benjamin Jr. “It is their (Stars) home ground and they had most of their wins at that venue.

“But we are both professional teams playing on the same pitch and once we (W Connection) give it our all and do the right things, then we can come away with the desired result.”

The Stars, although recently knocked out of the FA Trophy and First Citizens Cup at the Round-of-16 and quarter-final stages respectively, have won their last four league games, hence their stay at the summit.

However, Connection, undefeated in their last 10 games in all competitions, are rich in form and the talented Benjamin points to improved motivation.

“We are focused, something we needed to work on earlier in the season,” added the 23-year-old Connection star. “Even the younger players, some of whom have never won a title, are trying their best to help the team push for this season’s league title.

“It wasn’t easy for us (Connection) watching on in the [previous] three seasons as Central won title after title.

“Now we have to give all that is in us to go and get the required results in our remaining matches to be on top again, to be champions again.”

Connection, five-time league champions, have not had their hands on the crown since relinquishing it to bitter Couva rivals Central at the end of the 2013-14 season.

“I am motivated more than ever now and it has to do with the birth of my son,” shared Benjamin, who celebrated the birth of Jason Benjamin last April. “With this motivation I want to give my all to my club.”

Benjamin, who leads the current 2017 league scoring chart with 10 goals, had opened the scoring against North East Stars when both sides met in Round One on Jul. 14. Marcus Joseph made it two-nil before the break back then at Ato Boldon Stadium, but the Stars fired back late with a goal each from Jameel Neptune and Kordell Samuel to tie the game at 2-2.

Both Benjamin and Neptune were on the scoresheet on Tuesday in Connection and North East’s 2-1 and 3-2 league wins over Police FC and Morvant Caledonia United respectively.

Police and Point Fortin Civic, both coming off losses, will kick off the weekend from 5pm on Friday at Barataria Oval.

Morvant Caledonia must renew their rivalry against the in-form Defence Force from 3:30pm on Saturday at Hasely Crawford Stadium. And, on Sunday at separate venues from 3:30pm, Central are to visit St. Ann’s Rangers at St. Augustine Secondary and Club Sando will host San Juan Jabloteh at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.

Trinidad and Tobago Pro League 2017
Round Two Match Day Five fixtures
(Friday 27 October 2017)
Police FC vs Point Fortin Civic, 5pm, Barataria Oval;
North East Stars vs W Connection, 6pm, Arima Velodrome.

(Saturday 28 October 2017)
Morvant Caledonia United vs Defence Force, 3:30pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium main field.

(Sunday 29 October 2017)
Club Sando vs San Juan Jabloteh, 3:30pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers vs Central FC, 3:30pm, St. Augustine Secondary School Ground.