Host team Terminix La Horquetta Rangers shot to the top of the Ascension Football League on Friday night with an exciting 4-2 triumph over Police FC in front of their fans at the La Horquetta Recreation Ground, but previous leader Cunupia FC had the opportunity to retain their advantage on Saturday against Central FC at the Arima Velodrome.
After a 1-1 stalemate with defending champions and close rival Defence Force in their opening match last week, Rangers made amends with a classy display that left even their opponents in shocking admiration.
Yesterday, Police coach Richard Hood said Rangers were well organised and disciplined. They stuck to their game plan and they executed well, congrats to them.
Playing in the feature match of a doubleheader at the La Horquetta venue from 8 pm, former national striker Ataullah Guerra fired the easterners in front from the penalty spot in the 24th minute which sparked wild celebrations among the fans. However, the celebrations lasted just 16 minutes before Gabriel Nanton skilfully curled a freekick beyond Rangers' goalkeeper Jabari Brice in the 40th minute.
Both teams went to the half-time interval with the score levelled at one apiece but the level of fitness among the players decided the match thereafter.
Within the space of eight minutes, Rangers got goals from Junior Assoon in the 72nd, Kadeem Corbin in the 74th and Ross Russell Jr in the 76th to seal the win, despite an item from Mickel Gordon in the 90+4 minute for the Lawmen.
The win took Rangers to four points ahead of Cunupia FC who led with three points after their 4-1 victory over Real West Fort United, last week.
Hood said his team lacked movement in their build-up, thereby playing right into the hands of Rangers.
"Police did not execute well on their game plan. Another problem is that we have a lot of new young players who have not yet understood the Police style of football. However it is something that can be worked on at training," Hood explained.
Police will next meet Cunupia FC on April 10 at the St James Barracks.
Meanwhile, AC Port of Spain and Deportivo Point Fortin (PF) played to a 2-2 tie in the opening game. Mark Ramdeen (15th) and Akinola Gregory (55th) found the nets for the Point Fortin men but they were respectively cancelled out by items from Anthony Charles (43rd) and Kyle Bartholomew (67th).
AC Port of Spain have now drawn their two matches and looks forward to maximum points when they face Central Soccerworld.
Technical director Gilbert Bateau said: "We went wrong in a few areas in terms of closing down and playing the ball too long in one area of the field without moving it.
"One of the things is that the players don't trust their fitness level as a team and that is one of the biggest breakdowns because of the pandemic.
"It was a fitness factor because when the guys fitness level started to leave them, what we had was fragment running in the field of play, where they would play in spurts until they feel like their energy levels came back up.
"After we played Central FC we went back to the drawing board and started to work on the transition of play needing to be faster. We had two draws so hopefully within the week leading up to that game, the guys would focus on getting the job done."
Rangers 4 (Ataullah Guerra 24th, Junior Assoon 72nd, Kadeem Corbin 74th, Ross Russell Jr 76th) vs Police 2 (Gabriel Nanton 37th, Mickel Gordon 90+4).
Deportivo PF 2 (Mark Ramdeen 15th, Akinola Gregory 55th) vs AC Port-of-Spain 2 (Anthony Charles 43rd, Kyle Bartholomew 67th)
Real West Fort FC vs Moruga FC, St James Park Barracks, 5 pm.
Cunupia notch second straight win in Ascension League.
By Joel Bailey (T&T Newsday).
CUNUPIA FC notched their second straight win in the Ascension Football League on Saturday, with a 3-1 result over Central FC in the first game of a second round double-header at the Arima Velodrome.
Veteran striker Kevon "Showtime" Woodley scored a hat-trick for Cunupia FC, who sit atop the ten-team table with six points.
In the other game on Saturday, former Trinidad and Tobago striker Jamille Boatswain netted twice as Defence Force cruised past Central Soccer World 2-0.
The weekend's round of matches began with a double-header at the La Horquetta Recreation Ground, Arima.
Terminix La Horquetta Rangers got items from Ataullah Guerra, Junior Assoon, Kadeem Corbin and Ross Russell jnr as they whipped Police 4-2. Gabriel Nanton and Mickel Gordon were the goal-getters for the lawmen.
In the latter contest on Friday, Deportivo Point Fortin and AC Port of Spain battled to a 2-2 draw. Mark Ramdeen and Akinola Gregory were on target for Deportivo Point Fortin, while Anthony Charles and Kyle Bartholomew got their names on the scoresheet for AC Port of Spain.
There was one game which was staged on Sunday at the Police Barracks, St James, with Real West Fort FC ekeing out a 1-0 win over Moruga FC.
Round Three action will take place from April 8-10.
Points Tally –
1.Cunupia FC 6;
3.Defence Force 4;
5.Central Soccer World 3;
6.Real West Fort FC 3;
7.AC Port of Spain 2;
8.Central FC 1;
9.Deportivo Point Fortin 1;
10.Moruga FC 0.