Akim Armstrong and Densill Theobald, with his first goals of the season, were hat-trick heroes on Tuesday when Central FC proved a blood thirsty bunch against North East Stars by defeating the Pro League holders 6-1 in the second game of a double-header at Ato Boldon Stadium.
W Connection (26 points), minus star attackers Marcus Joseph and Jomal Williams, first put heat to a cold wet night at the Couva venue with a 4-0 drubbing of Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers despite an early missed penalty by skipper Gerard Williams to later maintain a seven-point lead on the 2018 standings with eight games left and Central and Police FC (both on 19 points) in hot pursuit.
Caleb Sturge (32) scored his first goal for Connection, the club he joined in the August transfer window following a brief stint at Police, to put the Savonetta Boys ahead before a double from winger Adan Noel (36 & 80) separated by the half had Stuart Charles-Fevrier’s men well on their way to a comfortable victory following last Saturday’s shock 1-1 result against the cellar-placed North East Stars.
Alvin Jones (90), who was thrusted up front in the closing stages, completed the 4-0 rout in stoppage time after brilliantly turning his marker at the top of the box to fire past Rangers goalkeeper Jabari St. Hillaire.
St. Hillaire, though, had his moments of shine, denying Kadeem Corbin on either side of the break with his second save matching a wonderful volley attempt by the Connection winger three minutes into the second half.
But it would not match a fine save from Connection’s No.1 Julani Archibald, who, at full stretch to his left, kept out a Dominic Douglas strike that looked destined for the far netting in the 57th minute.
Connection could have hit the Rangers for six, at least, had Jones, moments before scoring, not hit overbar off a cross from substitute Isaiah Garcia before setting up Kevon Goddard who also struck high.
Central weren’t as merciful coming off last Friday’s 3-0 defeat against Police.
Armstrong, who was denied by the post early on, broke the floodgates after 19 minutes by putting away a free header off a cross from Russel Alfred, whose cracker two minutes later was saved onto the post by Stars ‘keeper Glenroy Samuel.
Theobald, 36, then rolled back the years by adding two more goals before the break. The 2006 World Cup midfielder made it 2-0 by the 24th minute when at the back post he volleyed a Kaydion Gabriel cross into the back of the net of his former club. Then with an identical strike in stoppage time of the first half he made it 3-0 when a free kick was played into the box.
Armstrong was the first to complete his hat-trick with a quick-fire double just over the hour mark to raise his tally to nine goals in all competitions this season. Like his first, Armstong’s second was a headed goal but with Samuel stranded out on 63 minutes after being stripped by Gabriel who left the goalie beaten near the corner flag before floating a cross to pick out his striker.
Armstrong tucked in his third on the night four minutes later to make it 5-0 before Dareem Daniel pulled one back for North East Stars with his first top-flight goal by way of a fine volley past Trinidad and Tobago and Central number one Marvin Phillip off a cross from Keithen Carter.
But Theobald lashed home a rebound, which came off a save from Samuel in the 72nd minute, to complete his trick and Central’s 6-1 win before being replaced at the sounds of applauds.
Central climbed three spots to now occupy second position, only ahead of Police by goal difference, while Defence Force FC (17 points) and Club Sando (16 points) slipped to fourth and sixth respectively.
Police defeated Sando 2-0 in the first of two matches at Hasely Crawford Stadium before Defence Force were held to a 0-0 draw by Morvant Caledonia United.
Elsewhere, San Juan Jabloteh (17 points) ended a three-game slide with a 2-0 win at Point Fortin Civic to hurdle Sando for fifth spot.
Jamal Creighton celebrated his first top-flight goal when he put Jabloteh ahead after just four minutes at the Mahaica Oval. But it was not until fifteen minutes from time that Sean Bonval, on his second bite after a penalty save from goalkeeper Akini Adams, ensured the visitors left with maximum points with his third league goal.
The bottom four of, in descending order, Morvant Caledonia United, Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers, Point Fortin Civic and North East Stars remained unchanged.
League action continues on Friday with North East Stars taking on Morvant Caledonia and Jabloteh against Central in a double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
On Saturday, Police and Defence Force will meet in a battle-of-the-armed forces at the Ato Boldon Stadium before Sando and W Connection lock horns in the second game of the Couva venue, while Civic must host Rangers at Mahaica Oval.
Pro League 2018
Round Two Match Day One results
(Tuesday 25 September)
Police FC 2 (Christian Thomas 7’, Josiah Trimmingham 12’ Own Goal) vs Club Sando 0, at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
Morvant Caledonia United 0 vs Defence Force 0, at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers 0 vs W Connection 4 (Caleb Sturge 32, Adan Noel 36’, 81’, Alvin Jones 90’+2), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Central FC 6 (Akim Armstrong 19’, 63’, 67’, Densill Theobald 24’, 45’+1, 72’) vs North East Stars 1 (Dareem Daniel 68’) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Point Fortin Civic 0 vs San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Jamal Creighton 4’, Sean Bonval 75’), at Mahaica Oval.
Round Two Match Day Two
(Friday 28 September)
North East Stars vs Morvant Caledonia United, 6pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
San Juan Jabloteh vs Central FC, 8pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium.
(Saturday 29 September)
Police FC vs Defence Force FC, 6pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Club Sando vs W Connection, 8pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Point Fortin Civic vs Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers, 6pm at Mahaica Oval.
Teams at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday
St. Ann’s Rangers: 22.Jabari St. Hillaire (GK); 4.Lukeman Brooks, 53.Chadley David (54.Fedric Commissiong 40th minute), 60.Tyrese Williams (79.Rondell Austin 75th minute), 64.Dominic Douglas, 65.Jalino O’Rosco, 66.Kerry Baptiste (Capt.), 67.Anthony Charles (55.Alexis Blackwell 87th minute), 69.Keyon Edwards, 77.Shaquille Thomas, 78.Xae-Pierre Defou.
Unused substitutes: 56.Taje Commissiong, 58.Cedric Commissiong, 61.Dejon Waldropt, 72.Anthony Kallicharan.
Coach: Dave ‘Hog Head’ Quamina
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald (GK), 3.Gerard Williams (Capt.), 5.Triston Hodge, 6.Kevon Goddard, 9.Kadeem Corbin, 11.Adan Noel, 13.Caleb Sturge, 16.Alvin Jones, 17.Neil Benjamin Jr. (27.Kierron Mason 77th minute), 19.Briel Thomas, 23.Kennedy Hinkson (26.Isaiah Garcia 77th minute).
Unused substitutes: 33.Jason Belfon (GK); 8.Jameel Antoine, 15.Otev Lawrence, 32.Salas Cannonier, 34.Cephas St. Rose.
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier
Referee: Joel Cox
Assistant Referee 1: Kirt Charles
Assistant Referee 2: Noel Moore
Fourth Official: Dave Daniel
Referees’ Assessor: Cindy Mohammed
Central FC: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 3.Ewan Grandison, 7.Hakim Baird, 8.Akim Armstrong (11.Xavier Rajpaul 69th minute), 10.Leston Paul (13.Rhondel Gibson 66th minute), 12.Taryk Sampson, 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 18.Densill Theobald (Capt.) (23.Andell Brown 75th minute), 19.Jared London, 24.Duane Muckette, 29.Russel Alfred.
(32th minute), (46th minute).
Unused substitutes: 30.Zane Coker (GK); 5.Dwight Pope, 9.Gibbs Braxton, 17.Renaldo Alexander, 22.Jameel Neptune.
Coach: Stern John
North East Stars: 1.Glenroy Samuel (GK) (21.Javon Sample 75th minute); 2.Jabari Brathwaite, 7.Hayden Tinto (22.Allister Bernard 57th minute), 8.Saleem Henry, 11.Kyle Bartholomew, 14.Keithen Carter, 15.Lashawn Roberts, 20.Dareem Daniel, 23.Sherwyn Williams, 27.Ross Dowden, 29.Stephen Punnette (33.Terrell Roberts 28th minute).
Unused substitutes: 6.Adrian Noel, 13.Jankeon Alexander, 18.Josiah Daniel, 24.Rakim Cabie.
Coach: Zoran Vranes
Referee: Crystal Sobers
Assistant Referee 1: Ainsley Rochard
Assistant Referee 2: Keron Mayers
Fourth Official: Dennis Changiah