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Dimitrie Apai scored in stoppage time to level Digicel Pro League leaders DIRECT W Connection to a 2-2 come-from-behind draw against bitter rivals Central FC on Tuesday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
The 19-year-old Suriname forward, who joined Connection during the mid-season transfer window, dived in at the back of the defence to bury Shahdon Winchester's cross past goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, with a powerful equalizing header, in the third minute of five minutes stoppage time played by referee Michael London.
Earlier, London, who made a number of questionable calls, had spectators most confused in the 86th minute and Central head coach Terry Fenwick boiling at the touchline, when he awarded Connection a penalty.
London blew and pointed to the spot confidently when Connection midfielder Joevin Jones went to ground after colliding with Central substitute Leston Paul, who was in the process of heading clear a dangerous ball played back across the area by teammate Jamal Jack.
Jones then stepped to the spot, and reduced the deficit 1-2 when his powerfully struck kick proved slightly better than Central goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, who read the penalty kick well and creditably had some glove to the ball.
Connection, now 33 points at the top and 10 points clear of second positioned Point Fortin Civic (23 points), in the end, overcoming a two-goal deficit and some back luck to finish a very entertaining contest with a point.
Behind them in third are Police FC (21 points) who edged a determined cellar-positioned St. Ann's Rangers 1-0 in the first match at the Couva venue.
Jameel Perry broke the deadlock on 74 minutes when he directed in a dangerous cross by former Rangers utility player Clevon Mc Fee to beat goalkeeper Terrence Lewis.
Rangers had a late chance to level the scores from the penalty spot after referee Dennis Changiah spotted defender Josimar Ashers' pulled down of Josh Toussaint inside the area. But forward Michael Yaw Darko wasted the opportunity when he struck the upright.
While at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, North East Stars and San Juan Jabloteh played to a 0-0 draw.
The feature match of Round Two Match Day Seven, however, lived up to derby expectations.
Seconds into the contest Connection goalie Julani Archibald had to brilliantly measure Willis Plaza effort, rooting it out at the low corner, following errant clearance by Daneil Cyrus which fell to the Central forward at the top of the area.
And in the 22nd minute Central midfielder Darren Mitchell, who was involved in the opening minute opportunity, struck the far upright after he was played inside by Plaza.
Fenwick was forced to make a premature change in the 31st minute, replacing an injured Ataullah Guerra (shoulder) with Rundell Winchester and got immediate success.
Seconds onto the pitch, R. Winchester raced down the right and slipped a pass inside the six yard area to find onrushing Plaza, who poked a strike between the legs of Archibald for a 1-0 lead.
Joevin Jones, who landed the tackle that eventually forced Guerra out of the match, tried pulling his team level from distance in the 41st minute but Williams produced a diving save to keep the effort out.
On the other end Archibald also had to make a stop just before the halftime whistle, charging down a Samuel Delice strike after Mitchell slipped a pass wide instead of the going for goal himself.
Two minutes inside the second period Archibald produced another stop, when he kept out a R. Winchester strike and the rebound was spilled wide by the Tobagonian, all after Plaza had disposed Cyrus of the ball.
Connection, who had winger Neil Benjamin Jr. wrongfully adjudged offside in the 12th minute by second assistant Ezra Bartholomew after Central midfielder and captain Marvin Oliver last touch backwards, failed to score two great chances in a space five minutes.
Striker Hashim Arcia was the culprit on both occasions, first guiding a brilliant low Alvin Jones' cross onto the crossbar in the 56th minute with only goalkeeper Williams to beat, and from another A. Jones cross in the 60th minute the lanky forward placed his effort wide.
Arcia's efforts were separated by Plaza's on target effort in the 58th minute, which Archibald saved, and a wide attempt moments later.
But from a play involving R. Winchester, Plaza and Leston Paul, who rounded Archibald, Jason Marcano had the simple task of slapping the ball into an open net for a 2-0 Central cushion by the 74th minute.
However Central's decision to sit back defensively, and rely on the counterattacks, failed to secure maximum points. And Connection defender Mekeil Williams heading onto the crossbar after goalkeeper Williams had block out his initial effort, was a warning of what was to follow.
In the end, Central, now positioned sixth on the standings with 17 points, recording it's sixth consecutive draw and their chances of a top-two finish is drifting further and further away.
Digicel Pro League 2013/2014
Round Two Match Day Seven results
North East Stars 0—0 San Juan Jabloteh, at Marvin Lee Stadium
Police FC 1(Jameel Perry 74') ; St. Ann’s Rangers 0, at Ato Boldon Stadium
Central FC 2 (Willis Plaza 31’, Jason Marcano 74’) ; W Connection 2 (Joevin Jones 87’ penalty, Dimitrie Apai 90’+3)
Police FC—18. Adrian Foncette (GK), 21. Todd Ryan (C), 2. Jasimar Ashers (Yellow Card), 5. Anton Hutchinson, 6. Kenaz Williams (26. Wendell Joseph 79th minute), 8. Akiba Peters, 11. Kareem Perry, 15. Jameel Perry, 20. Elijah Pelgrave, 22. LJ Mitchell (12. Vernell Ramirez), 27. Clevon Mc Fee
Unused substitutes—4. Karlon Murray, 7. Brendon Christopher, 13. Elijah Roberts, 30. Keston Mata (GK), 35. Kurdell Braithwaite
St. Ann’s Rangers—25. Terrence Lewis (GK) (C) (Yellow Card), 4. Jelani Peters, 10. Kennedy Isles (Yellow Card), 14. Michael Yaw Darko, 16. Keron Alexander (49. Chad Clinton 79th minute), 18. Jemel Berot, 26. Josh Toussaint, 28. Kadeem Corbin, 33. Isaiah Mc Intyre, 41. Kevin Carter, 43. Shomarie Antoine
Unused substitutes—5. Keon Peters, 22. Christopher Biggette (GK), 30. Rickyl Morris, 31. Jameel Antoine, 32. Joshua Sylvester, 39. Shaquille Moses
Central FC—21. Jan-Michael Williams (GK) (Yellow Card),1. Willis Plaza (9. Dwight Quintero 81st minute), 2. Elton John, 3. Keion Goodridge, 7. Jason Marcano, 10. Marvin Oliver (C) (Yellow Card), 11. Darren Mitchell, 12. Jamal Jack, 27. Samuel Delice (6. Leston Paul 53rd minute), 45. Ataullah Guerra (17. Rundell Winchester 31st minute), 50. Yohance Marshall
Unused substitutes—4. Sean de Silva, 13. Johan Peltier, 22. Keon Trim, Javon Sample (GK)
W Connection—18. Julani Archibald (GK), 3. Gerard Williams (C), 4. Daneil Cyrus, 7. Silvio Spann, 10. Joevin Jones, 13. Devaughn Elliot (40. Jomol Williams 67th minute), 14. Hashim Arcia (12. Jerrel Britto 87th minute), 15. Mekeil Williams, 16. Shahdon Winchester, 39. Alvin Jones, 65. Neil Benjamin Jr. (32. Demitrie Apai 76th minute)
Unused substitutes—11. Tremain Shayn Paul, 19. Leslie Joel Russell, 22. Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 25. Christian Viveros
Coach—Stuart Charles Fevrier
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