Debutant Daniel Diaz rescues Connection to a draw against Police

Debutant Daniel Diaz rescues Connection to a draw against Police

Wednesday October 12, 2016

Substitute Daniel Diaz marked his W Connection debut with a spectacular volley to earn the Savonetta Boys a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Police FC in Digicel Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on Tuesday night.

The 20-year-old Diaz—with his first professional touch of the ball and only one minute onto the field after replacing Anselm Jackson in the 61st minute—smashed a right-footed volley into the Police net to level the scores at 2-2.

It was the second time on the night that Police, 5-1 winners over Ma Pau Stars in their opening game a week ago, allowed the advantage to slip after taking the lead twice through forward Keion Wilson and an own goal credited to Connection full-back Kurt Frederick.

Wilson headed the Lawmen 1-0 in front on 21 minutes for his second goal in as many matches this season when he beat Connection second choice goalkeeper Terrence Lewis off a Kadeem Riley cross.

However midfielder Kevon Goddard pulled Connection level at 1-1 eight minutes later with Police ‘keeper Theon Browne hung out to dry after Andre Toussaint won back the ball in contest with defender Elijah Belgrave at the right top corner of the six-yard box. Toussaint then served up a juicy offer for an onrushing Goddard, who made no mistake in beating a hapless Browne from the middle of the penalty area.

Browne, occupying the position between the sticks in absence of first choice ‘keeper Adrian Foncette currently on international duty with the Trinidad and Tobago national team, had made a double-save early on to deny Connection and Grenada international forward Jamal Charles.

Browne also defied gravity in the 20th minute to push over a headed attempt by Connection pre-season forward signing Shackiel Henry, who, moments earlier, was denied by the base of the upright after smashing in a low drive from the top of the box. 

Connection, however, fell behind again on 49 minutes when Frederick headed past his own goalkeeper Lewis in an attempt to clear a dangerous right side corner whipped in by Police pre-season left-back acquisition Nequan Caruth. Police led 2-1. 

But from what turned out a masterstroke Connection coach Stuart Charles Fevrier and his technical staff to summon Diaz, and a touch of brilliance by for former Siparia Spurs midfielder, Connection were level again at 2-2. 

Diaz hammered his perfectly timed volley into the Police net from just inside the area with Browne stranded outside the six yard area after attacking a dangerous Frederick following a flowing move by Connection. Browne’s punch, however, only put the ball as far as an enthusiastic Diaz.

“We wanted to give him an opportunity because he has been working well in training,” said W Connection assistant coach Earl Jean after the game. “It was a matter of ‘let’s see what he have’.”

Diaz failed to add another in the 77th minute when he skied the ball overbar on a less difficult offer from Toussaint. And four minutes from time Connection’s Dominican midfielder Briel Thomas squandered a chance at the back post after he was picked out by substitute Shaquille Bertrand.

Diaz was among a handful of newcomers this season including Bertrand and Shaquille John as Connection stood without a total of six regulars; defender Daneil Cyrus (Trinidad and Tobago national team), goalkeeper Julani Archibald and defensive midfielder Gerard Williams (St Kitts/Nevis national team) and Dimitrie Apai (Suriname) due to Caribbean Gold Gup qualifiers while Hughtun Hector (heel) and Alvin Jones (on trial at Toronto FC) were unavailable.

Jean said the plan is to develop the young players within this season’s shortened calendar with the view of preparing for next season as the club expects moves by a number of players.

Pleased with a point, Connection’s first after two attempts, Jean said it was a good contest by both teams. He added that Police, a team with a good fighting spirit, have been improving over the years under coach Richard Hood.

Hood also settled with a point saying it was a fair result based on the balance of play. But the Police coach expressed dissatisfaction over his side’s failure to protect the lead twice.

“I was disappointed really,” Hood said. “…particularly the first goal. The second goal was a bit unlucky on the goalkeeper’s part. I thought he (Browne) had a really good game for us and I am happy about that. But disappointing that we gave away the lead on two occasions.

“They (Connection) played well but we didn’t play our game, particularly in the first half. We were a bit slow in closing them down; allowing them time and space with the ball. And of course they are quality players and they will hurt you once given that space and time.”

Hood said after the half time talk his side, who were without a few key players including last season's league leading goalscorer Makesi Lewis who is out for the season with a broken leg, showed improvement in their energy and aggression.

Police, like Connection, were left ruing missed chances, especially after substitute Joshua Leach failed to meet a low Kareem Freitas’ cross whipped across the face of the Connection goal with a minute left.

Meanwhile Police midfielder and captain Todd Ryan—arguably the hardest working player for the Blues—would consider himself unlucky not to add to a double he scored against Ma Pau after he was denied twice—a rocket in the 22nd minute and a 68th minute volley after controlling the ball off his chest—by Connection shot-stopper Lewis.

Nonetheless Police remains unbeaten after two matches and are now second behind leaders and two-time defending champions Central (6 points) on the 2016/17 standings and tied on four points with, in descending order, Morvant Caledonia United and St. Ann’s Rangers. While Connection, who were edged 2-1 by rivals Central last week, remains eight with one point and only ahead of bottom positioned Club Sando and Point Fortin Civic.

Connection returns to play on Friday against Club Sando at the Ato Boldon Stadium while Police will take on Point Fortin Civic at the same venue next Tuesday.

Digicel Pro League 2016/17
Full Round One Match Day Two results
(Tuesday’s results)
W Connection 2 (Kevon Goddard 29’, Daniel Diaz 62’) vs Police FC 2 (Keion Wilson 21’, Own Goal - Kurt Frederick 49’), at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

(Sunday’s results)
St. Ann’s Rangers 1 (Devon Drayton 48’) vs Morvant Caledonia United 1 (Jameel Neptune 42’), at Barataria Recreation Ground;

San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Willis Plaza 75’) vs Defence Force 2 (Jerwyn Balthazar 22’, Devorn Jorsling 88’), at Barataria Recreation Ground.

(Friday’s results)
Central FC 2 (Darren Mitchell 59', 90') vs Club Sando 1 (Kemuel Rivers 46'), at Mahaica Oval;

Point Fortin Civic 0 vs Ma Pau Stars 2 (Elton John 30', Jason Scotland 69'), at Mahaica Oval.

Upcoming fixtures
Round One Match Day Three
Friday Oct. 14, 2016
Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs Club Sando—6pm
Central FC vs Defence Force—8pm

Sunday Oct. 16, 2016
Morvant Recreation Ground, Park Street, Morvant
San Juan Jabloteh vs Morvant Caledonia United—4pm

Tuesday Oct. 18, 2016
Ato Boldon Stadium
Ma Pau Stars vs St. Ann’s Rangers—6pm
Point Fortin Civic vs Police FC—8pm


Digicel Pro League 2016/17 standings

#

Team

GP

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

1

Central FC

2

2

0

0

4

2

2

6

2

Police FC

2

1

2

0

7

3

4

4

3

Morvant Caledonia Utd

2

1

1

0

4

2

2

4

4

St. Ann’s Rangers

2

1

1

0

3

1

2

4

5

San Juan Jabloteh

2

1

0

1

2

2

0

3

6

Defence Force FC

2

1

0

1

2

3

 -1

3

7

Ma Pau Stars

2

1

0

1

3

5

-2

3

8

W Connection

2

0

1

1

3

4

-1

1

9

Club Sando

2

0

0

2

1

3

 -2

0

10

Point Fortin Civic

2

0

0

2

1

5

 -4

0



Teams at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday

W Connection: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 2.Kurt Frederick, 4.Maurice Ford, 8.Briel Thomas, 9.Shackiel Henry (26.Shaquille Bertrand 70th minute), 12.Anselm Jackson (37.Daniel Diaz 61st minute), 14.Andre Toussaint (Capt.), 17.Aikim Andrews, 20.Jamal Charles (30.Shaquille John 80th minute), 23.Kevon Goddard, 27.Jelani Peters.

Unused substitutes: 21.Ronell Paul, 28.Mickell Charles, 33.Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 46.Anfernee Frederick

Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier

Police FC: 22.Theon Browne (GK), 3.Ryan O’Neil (Yellow Card), 6.Jibri Mc David, 10.Kareem Freitas, 12.Kadeem Riley (29.Kadeem Hutchinson 79th minute), 16.Keon Wilson (39.Joshua Leach 74th minute), 19.Christon Thomas (23.Micah Lewis 65th minute), 20.Elijah Belgrave, 21.Todd Ryan (Capt.), 25.Kenaz Williams, 38.Nequan Caruth, 

Unused substitutes: 2.Akim Thomas, 5.Anton Hutchinson, 8.Kurdell Brathwaite, 14.Kaaron Foster.

Coach: Richard Hood

Referee: Kevin Smart
Assistant Referee 1: Glen Kevin Charles
Assistant Referee 2: Oladele Thomas
Fourth Official: Keilon Bacchus

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