North East Stars joined winners’ row on the weekend by defeating rivals Caledonia AIA 3-0 in the second match of a Digicel Pro League Round One Match Day One double header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Saturday night.
Forward Anthony Wolfe, returning to North East following last season’s stint with Central FC, rewarded Head Coach Angus Eve with a second half double following Micah Lewis’ opening goal in the first period.
It was a generally praiseworthy performance by the Sangre Grande based club boasting the likes of former Caledonia players Trevin Caesar, Aquil Selby and Lewis, while it was clearly evident that the Morvant/Laventille club needs to lift its game in time for Tuesday’s Concacaf Champions League second leg Group 6 match against Mexico’s Deportivo Toluca at the very same Port of Spain venue.
The Stars were close to opening the scoring against Caledonia in the 6th minute when left-back Kevon Villaroel flashed a header just over-bar off a left-side Kaashif Thomas corner, and in the 9th minute Wolfe was wide of the target.
But by the 14th minute North East Stars took a 1-0 advantage on the run of play from a set piece.
Micah Lewis was well positioned at the top of the area to comfortably blast past Caledonia’s Grenadian goalie Shemel Louison, after the home side was unable to clear a free-kick into the area to safety.
In the 25th minute it looked as though Caesar had earned himself a goal when his strike hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced just inside the goal and back out. However there was no signal for a goal by the officials or an appeal by any of the Stars’ players.
Caledonia, which had a Tyrone Charles free-kick across the face of goal in the 10th minute and a Jamal Gay effort wide in the 26th minute, had a very good opportunity to level the score a minute before the break—a rare opportunity against the no-nonsense approach of Stars’ centre-backs Kareem Moses and Selby.
It was from a Stephan David effort from outside the area that goalkeeper Cleon John gloved onto his cross-bar with the rebound falling to Keyon Edwards at the edge of the six yard area. But to the disappointment of many, Edwards directed his effort onto the upright.
Teammate Nathan Lewis troubled John in the 53rd minute but was just wide with a right footed effort from the left of the area. And despite having the class of Densill Theobald off the bench following the break, Caledonia only forced John in action again in the 69th minute when a Kareem Joseph attempted cross had to be rooted out by the Stars’ goalie.
North East Stars doubled its advantage, 2-0, in the 55th minute from another set piece when Wolfe, free at the back post, headed in a free-kick swung in by Kennedy Hinkson.
Louison later made a miraculous recovery save in the 71st minute to cancel a Wolfe strike which had goal written all over it, after Ceasar on a counter-attack outraced defender Akeem Thomas to provide the Wolfe with the pass inside the area.
But Wolfe found retribution three minutes from time, for the 3-0 finish, hitting into the far netting a rebound effort by Lewis which came off the crossbar.
Caledonia AIA 0—3 North East Stars
Micah Lewis 14’ Anthony Wolfe 55’, 87’
Caledonia AIA—1.Shemel Louison, 7.Stephan David (capt) (Yellow Card), 2.Aubrey David (20.Noel Williams 66th), 3.Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, 5.Akeem Thomas, 9.Keyon Edwards, 12.Kareem Joseph, 16.Tyrone Charles (11.Abdallah Phillips 76th), 23.Jamal Gay, 8.Keron Bethlemy (21.Densill Theobald 46th), 27.Nathan Lewis.
Unused substitutes—33.Glenroy Samuel, 6.Marcus Ambrose, 17.Akim Armstrong, 22.Miguel Alejandro Romeo.
North East Stars—22.Cleon John (capt), 2.Kareem Moses, 3.Kevon Villaroel, 5.Aquil Selby, 6.Jeromie Williams, 8.Micah Lewis, 11.Anthony Wolfe (17.Andres Cabrero Gomez 90th), 18.Kaashif Thomas, (12.Jayson Joseph 76th), 20.Trevin Caesar (7.Elijah Manners 80th), 23.Kennedy Hinkson, 25.Keryn Navarro.
Unused substitutes—1.Stefan Berkley, 9.Akiel Guevara, 19.Glenton Wolfe, 36.Marcus Gomez.