Last season’s defeated finalists and three-time former winners Defence Force FC made their 2018 First Citizens Cup intensions clear with an opening 4-0 win over San Juan Jabloteh in the second game of an Immortelle Group double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium yesterday.
Dylon King bagged two goals separated by a Reon Moore item and the break before debutant Brent Sam arrived off the bench to slap home the soldiers’ fourth item against his ex-club.
Earlier, Akim Armstrong scored twice on his domestic debut for two-time former champions Central FC to give the Stern John-coached Couva Sharks a 2-0 win over MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers who must next face the fury of Defence Force on June 18.
Central, boasting the likes of Densill Theobald, Anthony Wolfe, goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, Jared London and Duane Muckette, were the more experienced of the two sides but for the opening moments looked nothing of a team keen on shaking off disappointments of the 2018 Caribbean Club Championship finals in Jamaica last month when they failed to qualify—after three chances—for this season’s Concacaf League.
It was not until the stroke of the half-hour mark that Muckette and Keron Cummings tested Rangers number one Cleon John who made two excellent saves.
John, though, was unable to rescue coach Adrian Romain’s side four minutes from the half when as Central grabbed a 1-0 lead. Armstrong’s angled a shot (which flew into the far bottom corner) came at the end of a Couva Sharks’ move that involved no less than a dozen passes as they ran circles around Rangers.
Rangers, five minutes earlier, had created an excellent scoring opportunity through an ambitious move down the right by Kristian Meloney whose low cross across the six yard box should have been met by forward Jamal Gay.
Meloney, one of a handful of Pro League debutants in the Rangers side, later had a chance himself on the hour mark but goalkeeper Phillip was quick to smother the midfielder’s effort.
Eight minutes later on the other end Armstrong, who two months ago moved to Central from Club Sando, was celebrating a double after he got the better of defender Holan Joseph to lift the ball over John and into the back of the Rangers net to put the score at 2-0.
Armstrong was denied a third from point blank range with fifteen minutes left when John pushed the Central forward’s half volley behind.
But John’s younger brother, Christopher Biggette, had to fetch the ball out of the Jabloteh net twice in quick succession early on and four times in total in the second game against Defence Force.
King led the Defence Force rout with the opening goal on 12 minutes when he climbed in the Jabloteh box to meet a floated right side cross from debutant Kathon St. Hillaire after veteran forward Devorn Jorsling failed to make contact to a low feed from the left by Moore.
Moore then quickly cushioned the Marvin Gordon coached-soldiers 2-0 two minutes later after he dispossessed defender Jamal Spencer of the ball and made a solo run into the box before sending a shot into the Jabloteh net.
King, who flashed an effort just wide before the break, would finally get to his double in the 67th minute to make it 3-0, burying the ball past Biggette who had denied Hashim Arcia a second time on the night, but the latter attempt only landed the ball as far as the eventual double scorer.
Substitute Sam made it 4-0 in the 73rd minute, blasting the ball past a hapless Biggette after picking up a short feed from Arcia. Sam however failed to complete a double against his ex-club when he rolled a shot onto the upright in the final minute of regular time.
“If you remember [during] the (First Citizens Cup) launch I talked about playing Jabloteh in the pre-season and dominating them and it was just a matter of coming tonight and getting the business [done],” Gordon said after his side’s win.
“[The result] wasn’t strange for me,” added the Defence Force coach. “I know what I have in my dressing room and I thought [my] players were brilliant tonight.
“I thought we could have scored some more goals but Jabloteh didn’t come and lie down. They have a young squad, they tried to work hard and be competitive, but tonight you saw the quality that I have in my dressing room and the work me and my staff have been doing over the last two months.”
Next Saturday the First Citizens Cup action will resume when defending champions W Connection meet North East Stars, the side they crushed 7-1 in the Charity Shield, for a second time in three weeks from 4pm, and Morvant Caledonia United kicking off their 2018 campaign against Point Fortin Civic from 6pm in an Abercrombie Group double-header at Ato Boldon Stadium.
The Couva venue will come alive again on Monday 18 June with an Immortelle Group double-header with Club Sando taking on Jabloteh from 8:30pm following the Defence Force versus Rangers clash from 6:30pm.
First Citizens Cup 2018 - Match Day One results
North East Stars 1 ( Kyle Bartholomew 66’) vs Police FC 5 (Kareem Freitas 16’, 29’, Kadeem Riley 17’, Jameel Perry 53’, 85’), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Point Fortin Civic 2 (Ronell Paul 2’, Jabari Mitchell 9’ pen.) vs W Connection 3 (Marcus Joseph 22’, 32’, Kurt Frederick 86’), at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Sunday 10 June 2018)
MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers 0 vs Central FC 2 (Akim Armstrong 41’, 68’), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
San Juan Jabloteh 0 vs Defence Force FC 4 (Dylon King 12’, 67’, Reon Moore 14’, Brent Sam 73’), 6pm, at Ato Boldon Stadium.
Morvant Caledonia United & Club Sando (Bye).
Rank Team MP W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1 Police FC 1 1 0 0 5 1 4 3
2 W Connection 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 3
3 Morvant Caledonia United 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Point Fortin Civic 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0
5 North East Stars 1 0 0 1 1 5 -4 0
Rank Team MP W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1 Defence Force FC 1 1 0 0 4 0 4 3
2 Central FC 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3
3 Club Sando 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0
5 San Juan Jabloteh 1 0 0 1 0 4 -4 0
St. Ann’s Rangers: 1.Cleon John (GK) (Capt.); 2.Lukeman Brooks (9.Keon Peters 78th minute), 3.Andel Brown, 6.Saleem Henry, 7.Jamal Gay (21.Jerome Cyrus 62nd minute), 8.Shem Alexander, 10.Kristian Meloney, 14.Jabari Mayers, 19.Rushawn Murphy, 28.Marvin Springer (27.Collin Wheeler 58th minute), 29.Holan Joseph.
Unused substitutes: 22.Jabari St. Hillaire (GK), 11.Gerald Meloney, 16.Maliq Gumbs, 24.Ethan Bonaparte.
Central FC: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 5.Dwight Pope, 8.Akim Armstrong, 10.Keron Cummings (9.Tyrone Charles 69th minute), 11.Duane Muckette (7.Hakim Baird 89th minute), 12.Tyrik Sampson, 15.Kaydion Gabriel (13.Rhondel Gibson 82nd minute), 17.Anthony Wolfe, 18.Densill Theobald (Capt.), 19.Jared London, 22.Jameel Neptune.
Unused substitutes: 30.Keinol Paul (GK); 29.Kerry Baptiste, 27.Anthony Charles.
Coach: Stern John
Referee: Kwinsi Williams
San Juan Jabloteh: 1.Christopher Biggette (GK); 4.Nical Stephens (13.Kristoff John 62nd minute), 7.Elijah Manners (Capt.), 10.Jomoul Francois, 11.Kadeem Hutchinson, 15.Dellon Jagessar (12.Keron Bethelmy 58th minute), 16.Jamal Spencer, 17.Sean Bonval, 18.Jevon Morris, 19.Shane Sandy, 20.Kareem Baptiste (14.Tyrese Bailey 70th minute).
Unused substitutes: 30.Shemel Louison (GK); 5.Raymond Alleyne, 8.Xae-Pierre De Fou, 24.Kareem Eastman.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
Defence Force FC: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK); 3.Jamali Garcia, 4.Dave Long (99.Jerwyn Balthazar 70th minute), 9.Devorn Jorsling (Capt.) (16.Kellon Serrette 76th minute), 10.Hashim Arcia, 12.Jemel Sebro, 14.Kathon St. Hillaire, 18.Reon Moore (8.Brent Sam 66th minute), 21.Aklie Edwards, 26.Justin Garcia, 45.Dylon King.
Unused substitutes: 1.Andre Marchan (GK); 6.Rodell Elcock, 11.Dwight Quintero, 15.Shaquille Bertrand.
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Referee: Nicholai Nyron
Upcoming matches - Match Day Two
(Saturday 16 June 2018)
W Connection v North East Stars, 4pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Morvant Caledonia United v Point Fortin Civic, 6pm at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Monday 18 June 2018)
Defence Force FC v MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers, 6:30pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Club Sando v San Juan Jabloteh, 8:30pm at Ato Boldon Stadium.
Police FC & Central FC (Bye).
Match Day Three
(Friday 22 June 2018)
Central FC v Defence Force FC, 6:30pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Police FC v W Connection, 8:30pm at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Saturday 23 June 2018)
North East Stars v Morvant Caledonia United, 5pm at Arima Velodrome.
(Sunday 24 June 2018)
MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers v Club Sando, 4pm at St. Augustine Secondary.
Point Fortin Civic & San Juan Jabloteh (Bye).
Match Day Four
(Friday 29 June 2018)
San Juan Jabloteh v MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers, 6pm at Baraataria Oval;
Point Fortin Civic v North East Stars, 6pm at Mahaica Oval.
(Sunday 01 July 2018)
Morvant Caledonia United v Police FC, 4pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Club Sando v Central FC, 6pm at Ato Boldon Stadium.
W Connection & Defence Force FC (Bye).
Match Day Five
(Friday 6 July 2018)
Central FC v San Juan Jabloteh, 6:30pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Defence Force FC v Club Sando, 8:30pm at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Sunday 8 July 2018)
Police FC v Point Fortin Civic, 4pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
W Connection vs Morvant Caledonia United, 6pm at Ato Boldon Stadium.
North East Stars & MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers (Bye).
(Friday 13 July 2018)
(Friday 20 July 2018)