W Connection keeps pace after edging Rangers and Caledonia stun 10-man N/E Stars
Central FC cruised to a 5-0 win over San Juan Jabloteh on Wednesday night to slice the six-point lead of Digicel Pro League 2015/16 leaders Defence Force in half.
But a first minute goal from winger Darren Mitchell sent the Couva Sharks on their way to maximum points in the second game of a double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Wednesday.
Granting the sixth-positioned Jabloteh (20 points) only tipped over when flood gates opened beyond the hour mark as Central FC forward Marcus Joseph (65th minute) and midfielders Nathaniel Garcia (66th minute), Ataulla Guerra (73rd minute) and Sean De Silva (75th minute) each got on the scoresheet.
The win improved Central, now on a seven-game unbeaten run and led by interim coach Dale Saunders, on 28 points—three points ahead of third positioned W Connection (26 points), who edged cellar-positioned St. Ann's Rangers 2-1 earlier at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Wednesday.
Jomal Williams scored one and set up another for the Savonetta Boys before an improved Rangers side, since both sides last met on Dec. 12, pulled a goal back through Trevin Latapy.
Jomal, who scored a hattrick in a 5-0 win over Rangers in their last meeting, notched his 8th league of the season and 13th goal in all competitions on 27 minutes after he was fed in the area by Andre Toussaint.
The 21-year-old star Connection midfielder later picked out Triston Hodge with a cross from the left on 52 minutes and Hodge was clinical in heading past Rangers goalie Christopher Biggette.
Two minutes later Connection goalkeeper Terrence Lewis was forced into an excellent save when he pushed behind a powerfully-struck Sayid Freitas free-kick to preserve the Savonetta Boys’ two-goal cushion.
That was until Trevin Latapy sliced Connection’s lead 2-1 with a powerful blast in the 65th minute off a rebound to find the back of Lewis’ net from inside the area.
Lewis was unable to recover after pulling off a superb save to deny Kadeem Hutchinson following an initial effort from Argentine midfielder Miguel Romeo was blocked out by a Connection defender.
The item, though, came as redemption for Rangers after a handball shout in the Connection area went ignored on 57 minutes.
Connection had a late attempt after Jomal made little work of right-back Jameel Antoine before unleashing substitute Jamal Charles into the area on 90 minutes, but Biggette provided a low save to deny the Savonetta Boys a third.
In Wednesday’s other result, Morvant Caledonia United continued their rise off the bottom with a 3-1 win over 10-man North East Stars.
Midfielder Akim Armstrong put Caledonia ahead in the first minute of play before Jomoul Francois equalised on 19 minutes for North East Stars.
Longstanding Caledonia captain Kareem Joseph made it 2-1 on 25 minutes which took the stallions into the break on top and on their way to a fourth league win this season.
North East Stars chances of a second comeback-goal was dampened in the 73rd minute when forward Gorean "Ratty" Highley was issued a direct red card by referee Crystal Sobers for violent conduct.
And eight minutes from time Pernell Schultz completed the 3-1 Caledonia win from the penalty spot after a handball in the area by Stars.
The win, Caledonia’s second in a row, moved Stallions up a spot into eight-position on the 10-team table with 13 points, while North East Stars remain fourth with 22 points.
Caledonia will next face Club Sando from 6 p.m. at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Friday, followed by an 8 p.m. kick-off between Central FC and Police FC.
Also on Friday, Point Fortin Civic will welcome leaders Defence Force from 6 p.m. at the Mahaica Oval.
The action continues over the weekend with Rangers against Jabloteh from 3:30 p.m. at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Saturday, and on Sunday, with the same kick-off time and venue, North East Stars will welcome W Connection, currently on a five-game unbeaten stretch.
St. Ann’s Rangers 1 (Trevin Latapy 65’) vs W Connection 2 (Jomal Williams 27’, Triston Hodge 52’); at the Larry Gomes Stadium
Morvant Caledonia United 3 (Akim Armstrong 1’, Kareem Joseph 25’, Pernell Schultz 82’ penalty) vs North East Stars 1 (Jomoul Francois 19’); at the Ato Boldon Stadium
Central FC 5 (Darren Mitchell 1’, Marcus Joseph 25’, Nathaniel Garcia 66’, Ataulla Guerra 73’, Sean De Silva 75’) vs San Juan Jabloteh 0; at the Ato Boldon Stadium
St. Ann’s Rangers: 22.Christopher Biggette; 2.Shakiyl Phillip, 5.Miguel Romeo, 7.Sedale Mc Lean, 8.Kevon Piper, 9.Kevon Cornwall, 16.Richard Williams, 17.Kadeem Hutchinson (6.Shaquille Moses 87th minute), 18.Trevin Latapy, 23.Sayid Freitas, 29.Jameel Antoine
Unused substitutes: 21.Keon Peters, 25.Stephon Seepersad, 30.Chevon Legendre
Coach: Angus Eve
W Connection: 1.Terrence Lewis; 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams, 4.Maurice Ford (23.Kevon Goddard 76th minute), 5.Triston Hodge, 8.Briel Thomas, 10.Jomal Williams, 16.Alvin Jones (Capt.), 19.Dwight Quintero (20.Jamal Charles 69th minute), 34.Jabari Mitchell (12.Dimitrie Apai 64th minute), 14.Andre Toussaint
Unused substitutes: 21.Shannon Gomez, 32.Isaiah Hudson, 35.Keston Julien, 22.Aquelius Sylvester (GK)
Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier
Match Referee: Keilon Bacchus