League title chase reaches exciting climax - Connection, T&TEC tussle at the top, Caledonia still within mathematical chance.
W Connection’s chances of lifting the 2011-12 Digicel Pro League Championship was kept alive by an equalizing own goal on Friday night at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium against strong title contender T&TEC FC in what was described a virtual final.
The top of the table clash finished 1-1 with Connection maintaining top spot on the standings with 37 points and faces Police FC on Friday in its final League match, while T&TEC sits one spot behind with 36 points and two games in hand against Police FC (from 5pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium) and against third positioned Caledonia AIA on Friday.
The road to the Championship is a very interesting one with Caledonia, up with 35 points, following a 2-1 comeback win against cross-town rivals Adam’s Construction San Juan Jabloteh at the Hasely Crawford Stadium also within a mathematical chance.
The Morvant/Laventille club’s hopes of the Championship was kept alive by late goals registered by defenders Radanfah Abu Bakr (88th minute) and Kareem Joseph (90th minute) from the penalty spot after handing Jabloteh an own goal in the 28th minute.
And down south, an own goal proved vital for Connection in the 16th minute after Sylvester Teesdale had T&TEC up one goal four minutes earlier.
Rennie Britto, who proved a torn in the T&TEC defence throughout the match, missed out on hitting the mark in the 11th minute spilling just wide after a clinical control on a deep ball forward and facing only goalkeeper Marvin Phillip to beat.
T&TEC then took a 1-0 surprise lead a minute later when Sylvester Teesdale poked a shot past goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams at the back post when Kevon Neaves freekick from the right found a cluster of yellow shirts which was clearly a planned set piece by the “Electric Boys”.
That advantage didn’t last long as Connection leveled the scores 1-1 in the 16th minute after some poor marking against a right side corner saw Jerrel Britto crediting himself after the ball entered the net against goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and the ‘Electric’ defense. It was later revealed that referee Gordon Maloney recorded the item as an own goal.
Phillip was called to action again in the 20th minute and made a comfortable save against a direct shot by Rennie Britto.
T&TEC followed up with a couple efforts off target by Bevon Bass in the 27th minute and in the 40th minute a strong run forward by Akeem Adams ending in left wingback smashing a low effort missing the far upright by inches.
Connection later ended the half without Jerrel Britto who was caught in a hard challenge by Coneal Thomas moments after he was denied by Phillip after heading at goal off Rennie Brittio’s cross. Winger Johan Peltier was introduced following the break for the injured Jerrel.
In the 68th minute Neaves forced a spectacular block-out by goalkeeper Williams from some 24 yards out to add some excitement to the second half.
The hundreds of supporters that turned out at the Marabella venue were off their seats again five minutes from time when T&TEC substitute midfielder Andrei Pacheco unleashed a cracker from a set piece which flew inches wide and high of the upper corner.
From another set piece in the 90th minute, Neaves flashed an effort wide and seconds later Jamal Ayres’ low and powerful cross inside the six yard area was missed out by Vurlon Mills in a play that should have given T&TEC the winning item.
W Connection—Jan Michael Williams (capt), Kemuel Rivers, Elijah Joseph, Andre Quashie, Gerard Williams, Kern Cupid (Keon Quow 69th), Rennie Britto, Jerrel Britto (Johan Peltier 46th), Hashim Arcia (Neil Benjamin 80th), Clyde Leon, Jelani Grosvenor
Coach—Stuart Charles Fevrier
T&TEC FC—Marvin Phillip, Romauld Aguillera (capt), Bevon Bass (Jamal Ayres 70th), Corneal Thomas, Akeem Adams, Kern Peters, Sylvester Teesdale, Kevon Neaves, Kerry Baptiste (Vurlon Mills 60th), Simeon Augustus (Andrei Pacheco 77th), Aubrey David
Police out Stars 2-0, Army pull back late win against Rangers
First half goals by Noel Williams and Kareem Young saw Police FC off the bottom of the standings with a 2-1 win over visiting DIRECTV North East Stars in the first clash of a Digicel Pro League Round Three Match Day Six double header at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on Friday night.
Police FC moved up two spots into sixth on the standings with 21 points and two matches remaining against T&TEC FC (on Tuesday from 5pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium) and against W Connection (on Friday 30), while Stars dropped seventh and St. Ann’s Rangers which suffered a 1-2 defeat against Defence Force at the Hasely Crawford Stadium slipped into the bottom position.
It was from late goals by Michael Edwards (84th minute) and Josimar Belgrave (88th minute) that the fourth positioned Soldiers rebounded after Rangers had the early advantage from striker Cameron Roget in the 12th minute.
Meantime at the Marabella venue, the Kelvin Jones coached Police outfit actually missed out an opening item in the fourth minute when Dexter Alleyne muffed at a chance from inside the six yard, by running what seemed a late attempt wide of the post, after he was played in by a low Noel Williams cross from the right.
The match then had a sudden turn with the Sangre Grande forcing a couple saves out of Police goalie Adisa Alleyne.
In the 20th minute Nathan Regis was denied by Alleyne who pushed behind a right footed strike by the Stars’ forward.
Alleyne then pulled off another save two minutes later palming wide a left footed strike by Gary Glasgow.
And in the 24th minute from a free kick by Jean Luc Rochford from the right after defender Weslie John pulled down Kaydion Gabriel, defender Seon Power headed wide of the Police far upright.
Williams then fired Police ahead 1-0 in the 29th minute with a low powerful strike from the left of the area clipping the upright and into the far netting to leave a fully stretched goalkeeper Andrew Durant beaten.
Police were back on the defensive again in the 35th minute, and yet again Alleyne pulled off a stopper, by wrapping a low powerful effort by Gabriel.
Two minutes from the half the Police goalie made another blockout against a tame effort by Regis before the ball was marshaled out by defender Jevon Morris to safety.
The ‘lawmen’ then made it 2-0 in the 45th minute when after an exchange of passes with Trent Noel, Kareem Young evaded two challenges just outside the area before placing a low shot to the left of goalkeeper Durant.
It wasn’t until the 77th minute that North East Stars pulled back a goal, reducing the deficit 1-2, when second half substitute Darryl Trim welcomed a collision by goalkeeper Alleyne and a defender against a low cross and slammed the ball into an exposed net.
Stars had a late attempt by Glasgow which flew over the crossbar and from a free kick on the left by Rochford, goalkeeper Alleyne made a commanding punch-out.
Then Police FC seemed cheated a goal in the 95th minute when referee David Ramkhalawam blew the final whistle as substitute Jamaal Burke was in motion to shoot into an open net.
Police FC—Adisa Alleyne, Trent Noel, Weslie John, Noel Williams, Errol Mc Farlane (Jamaal Burke 80th), Kareem Young, Errol Charles, Dexter Alleyne (Vernell Ramirez 73rd), Dwight Elliot (Todd Ryan 64th), Jevon Morris, Tyler Scipio
North East Stars—Andrew Durrant, Marc Leslie (capt), Seon Power, Keion Goodridge, Keryn Navarro, Gary Glasgow, Kendall Velox (Daryl Trim 46th), Kaydion Gabriel, Jean Luc Rochford.
2011-12 Digicel Pro League Championship
Full Round Three Match Day Six results
W Connection 1—1 T&TEC FC
(Own Goal) 16’ ; Sylvester Teesdale 12’
Caledonia AIA 2—1 San Juan Jabloteh
Radanfah Abu Bakr (88’), Kareem Joseph (90’penalty) ; (Own Goal) 28’
St. Ann’s Rangers 1—2 Defence Force
Cameron Roget 12’ ; Michael Edwards 84’, Josimar Belgrave 88’
Police FC 2—1 North East Stars
Noel Williams (26’), Kareem Young (45’) ; Darryl Trim 77’