Stars, Central, Police, and Jabloteh unbeaten ahead of First Citizens Cup semis
Defending Digicel Pro League champions DirecTV W Connection got off to a disappointing start to their 2014-2015 league campaign on Tuesday when coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier’s men finished on the wrong end of a 1-0 score against North East Stars at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Round One Match Day Three.
While Stars, Central FC, Police FC, and San Juan Jabloteh celebrated unbeaten league outings ahead of Friday 24 October’s First Citizens Cup semi-final round.
Defending First Citizens Cup champions Central will take on Police FC from 6 pm and North East Stars against two-time winners San Juan Jabloteh from 8.15 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium for a place in the Final on Friday 31 October towards the title and $100,000 winners' prize.
One month ago Connection edged Central FC 1-0 to successfully defend the Digicel Charity Shield, in the curtain raiser, for a third in a row, but were on the bye in Round One Match Day One of the league while its Round One Match Day Two fixture against rivals Central was postponed.
But on Tuesday when the “Savonnetta Boys” finally took to the field to begin defence of their title – one of five titles won last season – it was North East Stars that grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute and never lost grip of the advantage.
Forward Tyrone Charles had the simple task of controlling, with time and space in the six yard area, before hitting past a hapless goalkeeper Jelani Archibald, who initially made a low block-out against an ambitious Kion Joseph strike from distance.
Just as the early period, the Sangre Grande based-North East Stars absorbed every raid by the Connection side that were booted out of the First Citizens Cup by a 2-0 loss against Jabloteh in the quarterfinal round last weekend.
The Stars failed to double the advantage on the hour mark when defender Dwane James, with the goal at his mercy, spilled wide when substitute Keron Cummings’ corner fell to him near the back post. And in stoppage time goal-scorer Charles evaded his marker but was only able to force a low save out of Archibald, who did enough to put the Stars’ effort behind for a corner.
But before that, in the 73rd minute to be exact, Connection’s second half midfield substitute Yefer Steven Lozano was shown a direct red card by referee Rodphin Harris on the advice of first assistant Joseph Bertrand to eject the Columbian for a dangerous play against a Stars’ player.
North East Stars climbed to third on the standings, joining second positioned Defence Force and new leaders Central FC with 6 points each.
Central, led by head coach Zoran Vranes, in the second match at the Couva venue pulled off a hard-fought 3-1 win over Caledonia AIA.
The “Couva Sharks” went ahead in as early as the 16th minute when midfielder Sean de Silva’s deflected strike from just inside the area left little chance to goalkeeper Shemel Louison, who was wrong-sided for the 1-0 score.
Louison, Grenada’s national team ‘keeper, then pulled off a superb one-handed save in the 43rd minute to put behind an Ataullah Guerra free-kick from 22 yards out after a handball was called against Haitian defender Pierre Hitner.
However Hitner found the back of the Central net in the 57th minute, leveling the score 1-1, after heading in a Kareem Joseph cross from the left.
Caledonia got close to the lead in the 74th minute but Hayden Tinto's effort was acrobatically kept out by Central second choice goalie and summer signing Akel Clarke.
Moments later Caledonia again failed to take the lead when Clarke charged down Keyon Edwards’ try before Pernell Schultz struck wide off the rebound.
Those misses haunted Caledonia as they later conceded two goals to surrender to a 3-1 defeat.
Central substitute forward Dwight Quintero, free inside the area, controlled a Darren Mitchell cross before blasting into the roof of Louison’s netting to restore his side's lead, 2-1.
Then another second half substitute Nathaniel Garcia weaved his way past three Caledonia shirts in the 87th minute before having a go at goal himself, causing problems for Louison who failed to hold but was rescued by his defence.
But it was in stoppage time that Central found its third item when at the end of counter-attack involving Kaydion Gabriel and Darren Mitchell, Jason Marcano was supplied a pass inside the area and the attacker, after a couple touches, defeated Louison for the full-time score.
Simultaneously at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Police were celebrating a 3-2 win over St.Ann's Rangers.
Utility player Noel Williams scored twice for Police and attacker Marcus Chandool had one to better a goal each by Rangers' Kennedy Isles and Shabaka Mahluli.
Police also had a late penalty but forward Hector Sam was denied by the upright.
In the earlier game of the double header at the Macoya venue Jabloteh, undefeated this season, had to settle for a share of the spoils against Point Fortin Civic in a 2-2 draw.
Andell Noray and Jamaican Newton Sterling got the goals for Jabloteh while Andre Toussaint and Marcus Joseph were the scorers for Civic.
Digicel Pro League 2014-2015
Round One Match Day Three
San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Andell Noray 23’, Newton Sterling 75’) vs Point Fortin Civic 2 (Andre Toussaint 48’, Marcus Joseph 72’)
St. Ann’s Rangers 2 (Kennedy Isles 69’, Shabaka Mahluli 84’) vs Police FC 3 (Noel Williams 50’, 79’, Marcus Chandool 58’)
W Connection 0 vs North East Stars 1 (Tyrone Charles 37’)
Central FC 3 (Sean de Silva 16’, Dwight Quintero 78’, Jason Marcano 90'+) vs Caledonia AIA 1 (Pierre Hitner 57’)
W Connection: 18. Jelani Archibald (GK), 3. Gerard Williams (C), 2. Kurt Federick (13. Devaughn Elliot 71st minute), 5. Mekeil Williams, 11. Tremain Shayn Paul, 14. Hashim Arcia, 17. Jamal Clarence (10. Yefer Steven Lozano 46th minute) (RED CARD), 26. Maurice Ford, 29. Akeem Garcia, 39. Alvin Jones, 65. Neil Benjamin Jr. (32. Dimitrie Apai 46th minute)
Unused substitutes: 19. Leslie Joel Russell, 22. Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 28. Aikim Andrews, 36. Triston Hodge
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier
North East Stars: 22. Cleon John (GK) (C), 5. Aquil Selby, 8. Adrian Noel (6. Jeromie Williams 79th minute), 9. Tyrone Charles, 12. Jayson Joseph, 14. Dwane James, 15. Glenton Wolfe, 25. Keryn Navarro, 35. Jordan Devonish (10. Keron Cummings 55th minute), 36. Anthony Diaz (3. Kareem Richardson 65th minute), 44. Kion Joseph
Unused substitutes: 1. Stefan Berkeley (GK), 40. Jomoul Francois, 42. Taryk Sampson, 43. Reon Moore
Coach: Angus Eve
Central FC: 30. Akel Clarke (GK), 6. Leston Paul (C) (19. Nathaniel Garcia 77th minute), 5. Akeem Benjamin, 45. Ataullah Guerra (99. Dwight Quintero 61st minute), 11. Darren Mitchell, 7. Jason Marcano, 14. Jean-Luc Rochford, 15. Kaydion Gabriel, 17. Marcelle Francois, 10. Marvin Oliver, 8. Sean de Silva (18. Kevon Goddard 88th minute)
Unused substitutes: 23. Denzil Daniel, 1. Javon Sample (GK), 27. Shaquille Williams, 13. Seon Thomas
Coach: Zoran Vranes
Caledonia AIA: 1. Shemel Louison (GK), 21. Densill Theobald (C), 2. Taylor Benjamin, 9. Keyon Edwards, 10. Hayden Tinto (32. Kyle Bartholomew 75th minute), 12. Kareem Joseph, 14. Keon Russell (8. Keron Bethelmy 46th minute), 16. Pierre Hitner, 22. Jameel Neptune, 27. Nathan Lewis (13. Julian Wade 84th minute), 28. Pernell Schultz
Unused substitutes: 4. Conrod Smith, 15. Franz Husbands, 33. Zane Coker (GK)
Coach: Jerry Moe