Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 forward Akeem Garcia scored twice and set up another as defending Digicel Pro League champions DIRECTV W Connection enjoyed a late 4-0 win over rock bottom St. Ann's Rangers on Saturday at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium.
The result kept Connection (23 points) second and three points shy of leaders Central FC (26 points), who must face fifth placed Police FC from 6 pm on Sunday 01 February at the Ato Boldon Stadium to complete Round Two Match Day Four.
Saturday's result for the Stuart Charles Fevrier-coached "Savonetta Boys" is a duplicate of the Round One meeting between both teams last November, however this time around, Rangers kept the score line goalless against the second placed Connection for just over an hour.
However the Jason Spence-coached Rangers – who had two early misses in the first half by Joshua Sylvester and Nicholas Dillon – caved in during the final twenty-five minutes.
Connection’s closest to an opening item before the hour mark came in the 52nd minute when an Alvin Jones' 30-yard free kick cannoned off the cross bar before Rangers scrambled to clear the ball to safety. Jones also had an early try from a similarly placed free kick but goalkeeper Christopher Biggette made a comfortable take.
Then in the 61st minute Rangers had an excellent opportunity from inside the area but Nicholas Dillon, who was denied by goalkeeper Julani Archibald in the first half, dragged his effort wide from a right side Seon Thomas cross.
Connection stormed back and finally broke Rangers open in the 65th minute, to take a 1-0 lead, following some neat exchanges in the area then midfielder Jomol Williams hitting low towards goal.
But Rangers goalkeeper Christopher Biggette made a mess of what should have been an easy take. Biggette spilled Williams’ strike before his desperate attempt to recover the ball only knocked it over the line.
Three minutes later substitute Garcia handed Connection a 2-0 cushion, beating Biggette at the near post from the right of the area on his own rebound for his first.
Rangers, at the bottom of the table with just one point, didn’t throw in the towel just yet, and finally had the ball into the back of the Connection net when January transfer window signing and former standout Devon Modeste directed in Dillon's pass. But the goal was ruled out with an offside call.
But by the 83rd minute Garcia was celebrating his second goal and Connection a 3-0 lead.
Garcia latched onto substitute Shirvone St. Prix’s pass into the box then took one touch past Biggette, left beaten outside the six yard area, and hit into an exposed.
Connection weren't done yet. Garcia became provider in the 86th minute with a perfectly placed cross behind the defence from the right, allowing Britto – who was denied by the legs of Biggette in the 81st minute – to slide in to hit past the hapless Rangers ‘keeper for the 4-0 finish.
Round Two Match Day Four Results
St. Ann's Rangers 0 vs W Connection 4 (Jomal Williams 65', Akeem Garcia 68', 83', Jerrel Britto 86')
St. Ann's Rangers: 22.Christopher Biggette; 3.Al Davidson, 4.Jelani Peters (C), 8.Sedale Mc Lean (11.Josh Toussaint 80th), 9.Keron Cornwall, 15.Seon Thomas, 16.David Williams (45.Kadeem Corbin 62nd), 26.Nicholas Dillon, 33.Devon Modeste, 31.Joshua Sylvester (Sayid Freitas 62nd), 38.Ryan O'Neil
Unused substitutes: 44.Shaquille Williams, 6.Shaquille Moses, 1.Junior Granger (GK)
Coach: Jason Spence
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald; 11.Tremain Shayn Paul, 5.Mekeil Williams (C), 12.Jerrel Britto (34.Jabari Mitchell 88th), 48.Stiven Lopez Concha (29.Akeem Garcia 62nd), 14.Hashim Arcia, 20.Christian Rodriguez, 39.Alvin Jones, 40.Jomal Williams (43.Shirvone St. Prix 74th), 2.Kurt Frederick, 26.Maurice Ford
Unused substitutes: 13.Devaughn Elliot, 27.Shannon Gomez, 22.Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 36.Triston Hodge
Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier