W Connection (22 points), chasing an unprecedented sixth league title since the turn of the professional era in 1999, defeated San Juan Jabloteh 4-1 to temporarily go eight points clear at the top when both sides met Tuesday in a top-of-the-table Pro League clash at Ato Boldon Stadium.
Marcus “Lobo” Joseph, the leading Golden Boot contender, scored his 10th and 11th league goals of the season, and one each from wingers Jomal Williams and Neil Benjamin Jr. was more than enough to see off Jabloteh, the second most successful team with four league titles since the forerunner of the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League, the Professional Football League was formed in 1999.
But with three-time former champions Central FC (16 points) edging the most successful T&T club of all-time, Defence Force FC, 1-0 courtesy a Duane Muckette strike in the second game of the Couva double-header, Connection’s lead – albeit remaining a satisfactory one – was later trimmed to six points while the “Couva Sharks” climbed two spots into second with the competition one match day from the midway mark.
Defeated Jabloteh (14 points) and Defence Force (13 points) slipped a spot to occupy third and fourth, respectively, while Club Sando hurdled Police FC for fifth spot after whipping Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers 5-0 in the first of two games at Hasely Crawford Stadium as the bottom six places remained unchanged.
Joseph, redeemed himself after missed chances on either side of the half, first put Connection ahead on 24 minutes by taking advantage of a slip-up by Jabloteh’s Elijah Manners and Nical Stephens, before slotting in his 18th goal in all competitions this season after rounding goalkeeper Christopher Biggette following a wonderful team move involving Jomal and Corbin in the 67th minute.
Jomal, on his third attempt from distance, cushioned the “Savonetta Boys” 2-0 in the 34th minute before defender Triston Hodge later rattled the Jabloteh crossbar.
Jomoul Francois had halved the Jabloteh deficit ten minutes into the second half with his sixth league goal but Joseph later restored Connection’s lead 3-1 before Benjamin, announcing his “Savonetta Boys”’ return off the bench, completed the comfortable 4-1 win with a goal to his name in stoppage time.
Tuesday’s results also saw Morvant Caledonia snap the four-game winning streak of Police FC after holding the “Lawmen” to a 1-1 draw in the second game of the Hasely Crawford Stadium double-header.
Aikim Andrews levelled Morvant Caledonia in the 19th minute for his first goal since joining the “Eastern Stallions” in August, four minutes after Kareem Perry had fired Police in front.
Elsewhere, Point Fortin Civic celebrated their first league win of the campaign after eight attempts with a 4-1 come-from-behind win over holders North East Stars.
The table-propping North East Stars were ahead early when Adrian Noel silenced the home supporters after 16 minutes. But Civic, thanks to a double from Judah Garcia (53 & 76) and one each from his brother Nathaniel Garcia (65) and Akinola Gregory (72), earned themselves a confidence booster ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Ato Boldon Stadium against Defence Force from 6pm.
Club Sando will host Morvant Caledonia from 8pm in the second game at the Couva venue on Saturday, while North East Stars face arguably their biggest challenge against Connection when they host the undefeated “Savonetta Boys” from 4pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium.
The weekend excitement kicks off with a double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday with Rangers against Jabloteh from 6pm and Police taking on Central from 8pm.
Pro League 2018
Round 1 Match Day 8 results
(Tuesday 18 September)
Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers 0 vs Club Sando 5 (Shackiel Henry 5’, Jabari Mitchell 15’, Keron Cornwall 27’, Tyrone Charles 43’, Akeem Humphrey 71’), 6pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
Police FC 1 (Kareem Perry 14’) vs Morvant Caledonia United 1 (Aikim Andrews 19’), 8pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
W Connection 4 (Marcus Joseph 24’, 67’, Jomal Williams 34’, Neil Benjamin Jr. 90’+2) vs San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Jomoul Francois 55’), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Defence Force FC 0 vs Central FC 1 (Duane Muckette 45’+2), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Point Fortin Civic 4 (Judah Garcia 53’, 76’, Nathaniel Garcia 65’, Akinola Gregory 72’) vs North East Stars 1 (Adrian Noel 16’), at Mahaica Oval.
Round One Match Day Nine
(Friday 21 September)
Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers vs San Juan Jabloteh, 6pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
Police FC vs Central FC, 8pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
(Saturday 22 September)
North East Stars vs W Connection, 4pm at Larry Gomes Stadium;
Defence Force FC vs Point Fortin Civic, 6pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Club Sando vs Morvant Caledonia United, 8pm at Ato Boldon Stadium.
Pro League 2018 standings
# Team MP W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 W Connection 8 7 1 0 24 4 20 22
2 Central FC 8 5 1 2 19 12 7 16
3 San Juan Jabloteh 8 4 2 2 9 8 1 14
4 Defence Force FC 8 4 1 3 21 10 11 13
5 Club Sando 8 4 1 3 14 10 4 13
6 Police FC 8 4 1 3 15 13 2 13
7 Morvant Caledonia Utd 7 1 4 2 11 11 0 7
8 Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers 8 2 0 6 3 31 -28 6
9 Point Fortin Civic 8 1 2 5 8 15 -7 5
10 North East Stars 7 0 1 6 7 17 -10 1
Teams at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald (GK), 3.Gerard Williams (Capt.), 5.Triston Hodge, 7.Jomal Williams, 8.Jameel Antoine (16.Alvin Jones 55th minute), 9.Kadeem Corbin, 13.Caleb Sturge, 23.Kennedy Hinkson (17.Neil Benjamin Jr. 74th minute), 26.Isaiah Garcia, 27.Kierron Mason, 99.Marcus Joseph (15.Otev Lawrence 87th minute).
Unused substitutes: 33.Jason Belfon (GK); 11.Adan Noel, 20.Daniel Diaz, 32.Salas Cannonier.
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier
San Juan Jabloteh: 1.Christopher Biggette (GK); 3.Travis Joseph (23.Jodel Brown 73rd minute), 4.Nical Stephens (5.Kevon Villaroel 46th minute), 7.Elijah Manners (27.Jamal Creighton 46th minute), 8.Jason Marcano, 10.Jomoul Francois, 14.Tyrese Bailey, 16.Jamal Spencer, 18.Jevon Morris, 19.Joel Lewis, 20.Elton John (Capt.).
Unused substitutes: 30.Shemel Louison (GK); 9.Jaydon Prowell, 11.Kishon Hackshaw, 26.Akeem Benjamin,.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
Referee: Marlon Peruse
Assistant Referee 1:
Assistant Referee 2:
Fourth Official: Keilon Bacchus
Defence Force FC: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK); 6.Rodell Elcock, 7.Jelani Felix, 9.Devorn Jorsling (Capt.) (8.Brent Sam 61st minute), 10.Hashim Arcia, 15.Shaquille Bertrand, 17.Curtis Gonzales, 26.Justin Garcia, 27.Aaron Lester, 45.Dylon King (23.Kerry Joseph 38th minute), 77.Kendell Hitlal (24.Shaquille Holder 72nd minute)
Unused substitutes: 4.Dave Long, 5.Jerome Mc Intyre, 16.Kellon Serrette, 80.Aaron Enil.
Coach: Marvin Gordon.
Central FC: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 3.Ewan Grandison, 8.Akim Armstrong (11.Xavier Rajpaul 90th minute), 10.Leston Paul, 12.Taryk Sampson, 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 18.Densill Theobald (Capt.), 19.Jared London, 22.Jameel Neptune, 24.Duane Muckette (13.Rhondel Gibson 85th minute), 29.Russell Alfred (5.Dwight Pope 82nd minute).
Unused substitutes: 30.Zane Coker (GK); 7.Hakim Baird, 23.Andell Brown, 40.Gibbs Braxton, 41.Ronaldo Alexander.
Coach: Stern John
Referee: Rashby Mc Phie
Assistant Referee 1: Kirt Charles
Assistant Referee 2: John Barkley
Fourth Official: Joel Cox
Match Commissioner: Cassie Moore