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Jamal Gay scored fourteen minutes from time to earn San Juan Jabloteh full points with a 1-0 win over visitors Ma Pau Stars on Sun-Fun-Day at the Barataria Recreation Ground.

The result saw Jabloteh leapfrog St. Ann’s Rangers for second spot and level on nine points with Digicel Pro League leaders and two-time defending champions Central FC, who have a better goal-difference and a game in hand against Morvant Caledonia United on Tuesday from 8pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

Gay towered the Ma Pau defence on 76 minutes to head past Stars goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel off a left side Elijah Manners’ corner; his first goal of the season giving the home supporters something more to cheer about other than the free giveaways and bouncy castle that offered kids a true Sun-Fun-Day.

Samuel, whose crossbar was rattled by a rocket from Tyrone Charles just over the hour mark, denied the hosts a second item ten minutes from time with a reflex save to get to a Brent Sam free-kick which took a wicked deflection off the wall.

Ma Pau Stars coach, Ross Russell, said the contest was evenly matched, but conceded that “not much goalmouth action was produced by both sides to offer enough excitement for the good turnout of supporters” at the Barataria venue.

Russell, a two-time former league champion winning coach with Defence Force, added, “We were pushing to be second after this game, now the result is a setback for us. We did a lot of what we had set out to do but one mistake cost us.”

The Stars (6 points) maintains fourth position, one point behind Rangers, while W Connection (4 points), who faces Point Fortin Civic on Tuesday from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium, and or Morvant Caledonia United could hurdle both sides to occupy third at the end of Round One Match Day Four play.

Jabloteh head coach Keith Jeffrey reiterated that the ambition is to return the San Juan Kingsas one of the dominant forces in Trinidad and Tobago football.

Jeffrey, who led Jabloteh to a runners-up finish last season behind Central to qualify for next season’s CONCACAF Champions League qualifiers, felt his side should have put away the win early against Ma Pau despite being without six regular players.

Winger Sean Bonval, goalkeeper Shemel Louison, defender Aquil Selby, and winger Nathan Lewis, the T&T international who was shot in the shoulder during a drive-by shooting in his native Maloney last September, are all sidelined through injury, while regular captain Damian Williams completed his two-match suspension on Sunday and talented left full-back Keston Julien is with the T&T U20s for Caribbean qualifiers to the U20 World Cup.

Meanwhile Ma Pau had to do without former United Kingdom based forward Jason Scotland due to illness. Other veteran strikers Kerry Baptiste and Collin Samuel were used off the bench, with Russell starting Anthony Wolfe upfront.

Jeffrey, though, was happy to give his team’s supporters—who he hopes to foster as Jabloteh’s 12th-man—a victory.

Willis Plaza had three early misses for the San Juan Kings while winger Noel Williams struck wide with the goal at his mercy – all within the first fifteen minutes.

“As far as I am concerned, we kept them (Ma Pau) in the game,” said Jeffrey. “No disrespect to Ma Pau but they came with a game plan to sit deep and try to beat us on the counter[attack] and I didn’t see that beating us. The possession, in my opinion, was 65/35 in our favour—a one-way contest. If you look at the first 15 minutes we should have been 4 nil and that would have forced them to change their game plan.”


San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Jamal Gay 76’) vs Ma Pau Stars 0, at Barataria Recreation Ground.


San Juan Jabloteh: 35.Andrew Durant (GK), 5.Elijah Manners, 6.Akeem Benjamin, 7.Jamal Gay, 9.Willis Plaza (23.Kennedy Hinkson 81th minute), 10.Tyrone Charles (16.Brent Sam 74th minute), 12.Kion Joseph, 17.Josiah Trimmingham, 18.Jevon Morris, 19.Noel Williams, 24.Adrian Reid (Yellow Card).

Unused substitutes: 36. Raheem Belgrave (GK), 8.Keyon Edwards, 15.Jerome Mc Intyre.

Coach: Keith Jeffrey

Ma Pau Stars: 22.Glenroy Samuel (GK), 2.Carlos Edwards, 7.Kerry Daniel (12.Sayid Freitas 72nd minute), 8.Adrian Noel, 10.Jerrel Britto (18.Collin Samuel 87th minute), 11.Elton John, 14.Chike Sullivan (4.Kerry Baptiste 57th minute), 16.Kareem Eastman, 19.Glenton Wolffe, 23.Anthony Wolfe (Capt.), 25.Keryn Navarro.

Unused substitutes: 1.Shane Mattis (GK), 3.Hakim Baird, 6.Neil Mitchell, 20.Quincy Charles.

Coach: Ross Russell

Referee: Keion Yorke
Assistant Referee 1: Kevin Lewis
Assistant Referee 2: Nicholas Augustus
Fourth Official: Dennis Changiah