Morvant-Caledonia steer Phoenix’s flight back to Tobago after 8-goal thriller and Santa Rosa edge Super League counterpart Defence Force to advance into quarters.
The Toyota Classic 2015 got off to an exciting start on Wednesday night with former champions North East Stars crushing Super League opponents Siparia Spurs 8-0 and Morvant Caledonia United outscoring 1976 FC Phoenix 5-3 at separate venues.
Also scoring for North East Stars on either side of the half was current T&T Senior Team midfielder Keron Cummings, who ended with a double after finding the back of Siparia’s net in the 14th and 47th minutes.
Former T&T youth player Gorean Highley had opened the scoring for the Roland Clarke-coached North East Stars in the 9th minute of the match which also had Dillon Jaggasar on the scoresheet for the Sangre Grande-based Pro League outfit in the 71st minute.
Earlier at the Ato Boldon Stadium, it wasn’t as easy for Morvant Caledonia United (MCU) despite dominating the opening stages and having a three-goal lead within the first 22 minutes.
Phoenix made a surprising comeback to level the scores, before MCU finally ended the Tobagonians effort with two additional goals in the second half.
Eugine Kirwan handed MCU a 1-0 lead by the 3rd minute. The Antigua forward buried the ball past Phoenix goalkeeper Joel Sampson from inside the area following a left side move by Jameel Neptune which was initiated by midfielder Densill Theobald.
Akeem Roach then extended MCU’s lead 2-0 by the 12th minute. The 19-year-old former Defence Force attacker’s strike off Kareem Joseph’s effort which cannoned off the upright was too much for Sampson and a desperate attempted clearance on the line by defender Simon Nedd.
MCU veteran midfielder Theobald joined in on the fun by scoring in the bottom left corner of Sampson’s net for a 3-0 lead following a flowing move then feed by St. Kitts/Nevis international Kennedy Isles.
But Phoenix leveled the scores 3-3 after firing back with three uninterrupted goals—all from excellent plays—scored Stefano Wright in the 31st minute, Dominic Mc Dougall in in stoppage time of the first half and Lejandro Williams, the son of Phoenix’s coach Terry Williams, in the 53rd minute against T&T goalkeeper Marvin Phillip in goal for MCU.
However as both sides heaped the chances in the second half, MCU made better use with Roach completing his double in the 67th minute with a solo effort to put his side back in front 4-1.
Four minutes earlier, MCU veteran fullback and captain Kareem Joseph struck the upright a second time on the night.
Phoenix also had frame involved three minutes from time, but it was a superb low save by Phillip that saw Williams’ free-kick clip the base of the upright before heading out for a corner.
MCU finally completed the 5-3 victory in stoppage time when Isles, who went close in the 47th and 60th minutes, made no mistake in hitting past Sampson off substitute Sheldon Holder’s pass.
Round of 16 action continues on the weekend, beginning with a double-header at the Mahaica Oval on Friday. Former champions W Connection will take on 2013 finalists Club Sando from 5:30 pm before home side Point Fortin Civic welcomes Central FC from 8 pm.
On Saturday St. Ann’s Rangers will meet Pro League counterpart Defence Force from 3 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium.
Then on Sunday, the Guayaguayare Recreation Ground will come alive when home side Guaya United welcomes Police FC from 3 pm, and simultaneously at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Super League side Marabella Family Crisis Centre will take on defending Toyota Classic champions San Juan Jabloteh.
Pro League team whip Super League Phoenix 5-3.
By Ian Prescott (Express).
Pro League outfit Morvant/Caledonia United let a three-goal lead slip before rallying to whip Tobago 1976 Phoenix of the semi-professional National Super League 5-3 at the Ato Boldon Stadium, as the 2015 Toyota Classic kicked off on Wednesday with round of 16 matches.
The knockout football competition offers a $75,000 first prize and matches 10 professional teams against the top six semi-pro team sides from the National Super League.
At Marvin Lee Stadium, FC Santa Rosa won 1-0 over Defence Force (Super League). Despite having most of the possession, Defence Force succumbed to a 72nd minute goal from former Joe Public striker Devon King who scored from close range after Jean-Paul Aqui-Blanc re-directed Nicholas Armstrong's cross into his path.
Later, in the second match of a double-header, North East Stars made a meal of Super League Siparia Spurs, winning 8-0. Jomoul Francois, the 20-year-old former St Anthony's College player scored four times in the rout. Trinidad and Tobago international Keron “Ball Pest” Cummings netted a double, while Gorean “Ratty” Highley and Dillon Jaggasar also scored.
Down at Couva, it looked plain sailing for Morvant/Caledonia when the Pro League team took a 3-0 lead against second tier Phoenix. Eugine Kirwan, an Antiguan striker, netted from inside the penalty area in the third minute after combining with Jameel Neptune.
Morvant/Caledonia led 2-0 with less than a quarter-hour gone when Akeem Roach, the 19-year-old former Defence Force attacker put in a rebound in the 12th minute. Morvant captain Kareem “Tiny” Joseph, made his usual overlapping run from right-back and smacked his shot off the crossbar, before Roach followed up to score.
And well before the half hour mark, veteran midfielder Theobald beat goalkeeper Joel Sampson with a shot into the bottom left corner for a 3-0 lead in the 22nd minute, after combining with Kennedy Isles, the former St Ann's Rangers and St Kitts/Nevis international.
But the Morvant team have struggled to put together a total game this season. In their 4-2 loss last Friday to Club Sando in the First Citizens Cup third-placed playoff, they only came to life in the second half.
Against Phoenix, the Tobagonians were allowed back into the match as Marvin Phillip, the Trinidad and Tobago international goalie was beaten three times.
Phoenix scored twice in the final quarter of the first half through Stefano Wright (31st), and Dominic Mc Dougall (45th). Going in trailing 3-2 at the half, the Super League team rallied further and were level at 3-3 in the 53rd minute through the prolific Leandro Williams.
Both teams had the chance to win thereafter, although the Morvant team looked the more likely winners.
Forward-running Joseph struck the woodwork a second time, before Roach ended a solo run with his second goal of the match in the 67th minute, giving the Pro League club a 4-3 lead. Phoenix again threatened in the dying stages of regulation time, when Williams' free-kick forced goalie Phillip to push the ball onto the woodwork. Having escaped, Caledonia made sure in added-on time with Isle putting Sheldon Holder's pass into Sampson's goal.
Toyota Classic Results
1976 Tobago Phoenix 3 (Stefano Wright 31, Dominic McDougal 45, Lejandro Williams 53) v Morvant Caledonia United 5 (Eugine Kirwan 3, Akeem Roach 12, 67, Densill Theobald 22, Kennedy Isles 90)
North East Stars 8 (Jomoul Francois 13, 63, 64, 75, Keron Cummings 14, 47, Gorean Highley 9, Dillon Jaggasar 71) v Siparia Spurs 0
Defence Force (Super League) 0 v FC Santa Rosa 1 (Devon King 72)
Upcoming Games (Today)
5.30 p.m, W Connection v Club Sando, Mahaica Oval
8.00 p.m, Point Fortin Civic v Central FC, Mahaica Oval
3.00 p.m, St. Ann’s Rangers vs Defence Force (Pro League), Larry Gomes Stadium
3.00 p.m, Guaya United vs Police FC, Guayaguayare Recreation Ground
3.00 p.m, Marabella Crisis Centre vs San Juan Jabloteh, Manny Ramjohn Stadium