D/Force falls victim to Civic's new-found form

DeLeon steers Civic to third win on the trot; Cale’ held by Jabloteh and Connection win but Central whip Stars to stay atop
Central FC star forward Willis Plaza, left, tries to control the ball as North East Stars defender Dwane James looks on during their Round Two Match Day Seven clash in the 2014-2015 Digicel Pro League on February 20 at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
Friday 20 February 2015

Defence Force became the latest to fall victim to Point Fortin Civic's new-found form, losing 2-1 to the caretaker Leroy De Leon's side at the Mahaica Oval when the Digicel Pro League 2014-2015 resumed on Friday.

While at north and central venues, leaders Central FC and reigning champions DIRECTV W Connection, recorded wins to extend the gap at the top of the table.

Connection edged Police 2-1 at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva while Central whipped North East Stars 3-0, with all goals in the first half, in the second match of a Round Two Match Day Seven double header at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya.
Point Fortin Civic forward Marcus Joseph
In Point Fortin, Civic ace forward and last season’s top scorer, Marcus Joseph, notched his 7th league goal this season on the 45th minute to level the home side at the interval after Defence Force had led from the 9th minute with a goal from veteran midfielder Jerwyn Balthazar.

But in the 58th minute midfielder Akeem Redhead found the winner, with his third league goal of the season, to earn Civic a third consecutive win since De Leon, a Trinidad and Tobago legend, stepped in as interim head coach after Reynold Carrington walked off the job last month.

Since De Leon’s charge, Civic have progressed steadily, recording league wins against reigning DPL champions and second placed DIRECTV W Connection and cellar placed St. Ann’s Rangers, 2-1 and 4-1 respectively, while Friday’s win over the Army kept the Point Fortin club perfect in three.

With the result, Civic leapfrogged Jabloteh for fifth position, but only based on goal-difference as both teams are tied on 20 points. Ahead of them are Defence Force and North East Stars, both tied with 23 points in fourth and third positions respectively, while second positioned Connection improved to 29 points and Central maintain top position with 32 points.

Central, winners of this season’s First Citizens Cup and Rawle Fletcher (Round One) Trophy, also lead the standings for the Akeem Adams (Round Two) Trophy with 15 points, and will wrap up its second round fixtures against Civic on Tuesday from 4 pm at the Mahaica Oval—the home venue that has recently been quite favourable to the Point Fortin club.

Trinidad and Tobago forward Willis Plaza scored one and set up another in the space of three minutes after Jason Marcano had given the "Couva Sharks" an 18th minute lead on Friday night.
Photo: W Connection forward and former Trinidad and Tobago youth standout Jerrel Britto leads the Digicel Pro League 2014-2015 goal scorers' list with 9 goals.
Marcano swooped in to meet a right side Kaydion Gabriel cross and headed past North East Stars second choice goalie Stefan Berkeley from close up.

Berkeley was beaten again in the 37th minute and Central celebrated a 2-0 advantage as drumming Couva supporters taunted the Stars head coach, chanting, “Angus Eve I have a message for you. We are going to win the league”.

Plaza – only an active member of coach Zoran Vranes side from January – was released on the right and had easy passage into the Stars box. Then with little hesitation he drilled the ball into Berkeley’s far netting for a 2-0 cushion and his sixth league goal.

Two minutes later Plaza slipped a pass into the box to set Gabriel free behind the defence, and from a similar scoring position to Plaza’s, the winger blasted past Berkeley for a 3-0 score line.

Marvin Oliver had an opportunity from the penalty spot by Berkeley, who fouled forward Dwight Quintero inside the box for referee Keilon Bacchus to award the kick, redeemed himself by pulling off a superb one-handed save to deny the Central FC star.

Central even had a stoppage time opportunity to add another item but defender Uriah Bentick directed a low Oliver cross just wide of the target.

Nevertheless Central took away maximum points after witnessing Caledonia failing to hold on for a win in the earlier match at the Macoya venue.
 Photo: San Juan Jabloteh forward Tyrone Charles, right, unleashes a low strike to beat goalkeeper Shemel Louison (not pictured) ahead of defender Jamil Joseph, left, to tie their Round Two Match Day Seven match of the 2014-2015 Digicel Pro League 1-1 on February 20 at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
Caledonia’s 21-year-old Guyanese forward Domini Garnett had capitalised on a mistake by Jabloteh defender Caleb Sturge inside the six yard box to hit low past Jamaican goalkeeper Shane Mattis – in his first match in months since being sidelined by a shoulder injury – for a 1-0 lead.

But with three minutes of regular time left, Jabloteh's Tyrone Charles levelled the scores 1-1 for his third goal in two games.

Charles, who joined the "San Juan Kings" during the January transfer window, collected a pass inside the box from substitute Andell Noray and muscled off St. Lucian defender Jamil Joseph before hitting past Grenada national team goalie Shemel Louison to earn this season’s Toyota Classic winners a point.

Caledonia remained seated in eight position with 15 points, two less than seventh positioned Police, while Rangers are rock bottom with just one point.

Police forward Kareem Freitas had only earned his side a consolation item, scoring in the 45th minute against Connection, who led from early with Jerrel Britto notching his 9th league goal of the season in the 21st minute and fullback Alvin Jones scoring in the 27th minute.

Connection, the defending FA Trophy champions, and the rest of Pro League clubs will interrupt their DPL campaign on Sunday to compete in the FA Trophy Round of 32 before returning to league action on Tuesday.

Digicel Pro League 2014-2015
Full Round Two Match Day Seven results
Friday 20 February 2015
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
Point Fortin Civic 2 (Marcus Joseph 45', Akeem Redhead 58') vs Defence Force 1 (Jerwyn Balthazar 8')

Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Police FC 1 (Kareem Freitas 45') vs W Connection 2 (Jerrel Britto 21', Alvin Jones 27')

Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya
San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Tyrone Charles 87’) vs Caledonia AIA 1 (Domini Garnett 59')
North East Stars 0 vs Central FC 3 (Jason Marcano 18', Willis Plaza 37', Kaydion Gabriel 39')

Upcoming matches
Round Two Match Day Eight
Tuesday 24 February 2015
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
Point Fortin Civic vs Central FC—4pm

Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya
St. Ann's Rangers vs North East Stars—6pm

Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Caledonia AIA vs W Connection—6pm
San Juan Jabloteh vs Defence Force—8pm

Police (bye)

Round Two Match Day Nine
Friday 27 February 2015
Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Caledonia AIA vs North East Stars—6pm
W Connection vs San Juan Jabloteh—8pm

Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya
St. Ann's Rangers vs Defence Force—6pm
Police FC vs Point Fortin Civic—8pm

Central FC (bye)

Friday’s teams at the Marvin Lee Stadium
San Juan Jabloteh: 18.Jevon Morris, 22.Calib Sturge, 10.Kerry Baptiste (Yellow Card) (8.Newton Sterling 74th minute), 12.Brendon Boucaud (7.Andell Noray 83rd minute), 17.Fabian Reid, 4.Garth Thomas, 5.Mudassa Howe, 26.Josiah Trimmingham (21.Neil Mitchell 60th minute), 29.Tyrone Charles, 30.Shane Mattis (GK), 24.Adrian Reid

Unused substitutes: 19.Dillon Kirton, 15.Isaiah Mc Intyre, 35.Aaron Enil (GK), 16.Samuel Delice

Coach: Keith Jeffrey

Caledonia AIA: 1.Shemel Louison (GK), 4.Conrod Smith (8.Keron Bethelmy 61st minute), 12.Kareem Joseph, 9.Keyon Edwards, 28.Pernell Schultz (32.Kyle Bartholomew 86th minute), 23.Jamil Joseph, 27.Nathan Lewis, 30.Domini Garnett (22.Jameel Neptune 60th minute), 16.Pierre Hitner, 26.Nicholas Mercano, 51.Mikaeel Gordon

Unused substitutes: 31.Kyle Adams, 19.Julio Noel, 60.D'Eandre Villaroel (GK), 20.Rogelio Robinson

Coach: Jamaal Shabazz

North East Stars: 4.Keithy Simpson (12.Jayson Joseph 46th minute), 5.Aquil Selby (6.Jeromie Williams 46th minute) (Yellow Card), 23.Kennedy Hinkson, 15.Glenton Wolfe (Yellow Card), 10.Keron Cummings, 1.Stefan Berkeley (GK) (Yellow Card), 25.Keryn Navarro, 44.Keon Joseph, 14.Dwane James, 38.Jesus Perez (Yellow Card), 41.Neveal Hackshaw (35.Jordan Devonish 78th minute)

Unused substitutes: 22.Cleon John (GK), 3.Kareem Richardson, 18.Kaashif Thomas, 26.Zavion Navarro

Coach: Angus Eve

Central FC: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 11.Darren Mitchell, 12.Jamal Jack, 7.Jason Marcano, 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 33.Willis Plaza (19.Nathaniel Garcia 76th minute), 4.Uriah Bentick, 2.Elton John (3.Keon Goodridge 82nd minute), 17.Marcelle Francois, 99.Dwight Quintero (14.Jean-Luc Rochford 89th minute), 10.Marvin Oliver

Unused substitutes: 30.Akel Clarke (GK), 29.Upston Edwards, 25.Elijah Manners, 6.Leston Paul

Coach: Zoran Vranes