Having played a match less, Joe Public (21 points) moved into second, just two points adrift of defending Digicel Pro League champions San Juan Jabloteh, following a 3-1 victory over Tobago United yesterday at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya.
But champs Jabloteh (23 points/11 matches) stayed ahead of a closing pack by scoring a similar 3-1 victory yesterday at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, over the young Ma Pau team who had upset them 1-0 on Tuesday.
There was no such drama yesterday. Jabloteh led 1-0 through Lester Peltier in the 32nd minute, before extending their advantage with second-half goals from central midfielder Marvin Oliver (77th) and an extra-time item from striker Cyrano Glen (90th).
Ma Pau got a consolation in added-on time from Sherron Joseph.
However, Joe Public's stay in second position might only be temporary as Caledonia AIA (19 points) were due to meet Defence Force in the late match at the Ato Boldon Stadium last night.
And fourth-placed W Connection were level with Joe Public going into this weekend's round, but had no chance to impact on the standings since the Super Friday double-header at Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre was washed out by heavy rain which left the ground in an unfit condition.
At Macoya, Tobago United actually had the better first half chances at the Marvin Lee Stadium before home team Joe Public took over in the second session.
Striker Jason Cudjoe had about three chances to put the Tobagonians ahead but could not produce a clinical finish. The best chance in the 28th minute saw Cudjoe a bit unlucky as he had already pushed the ball around Joe Public's Colombian keeper Alejandro Figueroa, before being clipped by the custodian's outstretched leg. But he got no love from match referee Lee Davis.
Later, Cudjoe's indecisive finishing at the back post on the stroke of half-time allowed returning defender Seon to head away his shot as the ball reached the Joe Public goal.
He was also hesitant to take on the imposing figure of defender Thomas near the Joe Public penalty area and hit a hurried shot wide of the far post early in the match.
Joe Public's Kerry Baptiste showed no such hesitation when giving the Eastern Lions the lead in the 32nd minute, although he did miss a penalty early in the second half.
Baptiste took his league-leading season's tally to 14 goals when collecting a low diagonal pass, which a defender's outstretched leg failed to cut out, and struck a low shot across goalkeeper Ronny Aloema.
But, known penalty-saving keeper Aloema came to Tobago United's rescue when pushing away Baptiste's attempt in the 47th minute.
Micah Lewis had won the penalty when taken down on the right of the penalty area.
In the 49th, Lewis scored to make it 2-0 to Joe Public when stabbing in Hayden Tinto's square pass to the top of the penalty area. And with the Eastern Lions then in full flow, Akiel Guevara made it 3-0 in the 57th when finishing off a well-constructed play with a side-foot finish onto Lewis' low cross.
Tobago United scored in similar fashion in the 63rd to make it 3-1 when Sean Cooper finished at the back post after a flick on from Collie Hercules. And Kayode McKinnon thought he had won a penalty after being chopped down by two Joe Public defenders when racing down the centre of the penalty area. But, again, referee Davis gave no penalty, despite protests from the Tobago players.
Digicel Pro League Resutls:
Joe Public 3 (Kerry Baptiste 32nd; Micah Lewis 49th; Akeil Guevara 57th) Tobago United 1 (Sean Cooper 63rd)
San Juan Jabloteh (Lester Peltier 32nd; Marvin Oliver 77th; Cyrano Glen 90th) Ma Pau 1 (Sherron Joseph 90th)
W Connection vs Police FC, Guaracara Park (Washed out)
FC South End vs United Petrotrin, Guaracara Park (Washed out)
Jabloteh turn tables on Ma Pau.
By: Nigel Simon (T&T Guardian).
Clico San Juan Jabloteh ended its two-match losing streak with a convincing 3-1 win against Ma Pau in the first match of a Digicel Pro League double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, yesterday. Following a 4-0 loss to rivals bmobile Joe Public and a 1-0 shock defeat to Ma Pau on Tuesday, Jabloteh, the two-time defending league champions saw it once healthy lead at the top of the table dwindled to a mere point.
However at Couva, yesterday, the “San Juan Kings” rediscovered their winning formula with a determined display to avenge its defeat earlier in the week against the “Casino Boys” who were without the duo of Curtis Gonzales and Mekeil Williams due to T&T Under-20 team duties in Venezuela. Lester “Corn Curls” Peltier opened the scoring for Jabloteh in the 31st minute which it carried into the interval. Jabloteh captain, Marvin Oliver doubled the lead in the 77th minute while substitute, Cyrano Glen, the brother of national striker, Cornell Glen made it 3-0 on the stroke of full-time.
However, the Woodbrook-based Ma Pau managed to get a consolation item within minutes of the restart via Under-20 midfielder, Sherron “Tiney” Joseph to dash Jabloteh goalkeeper, Cleon John hopes of a clean sheet . With the win, Jabloteh pushed its points tally to 23 from 11 matches, two ahead Joe Public whole Caledonia slipped to third. Also yesterday, Defence Force surprised Caledonia 1-0 in the second match at Couva with Sean Narcis, the scorer in the 52nd minute. Any hopes Caledonia had of mounting a comeback was dealt a blow six minutes later when striker, Keyon Edwards, with 12 goals so far this season was red carded after receiving his second yellow-card.
At the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya, Joe Public whipped Ma Pau 3-1 with a goal each from Gorean Highley, Micah Lewis and Akiel Gueverra. The ‘Eastern Lions” ended the match with ten men after utility player Carlyle Mitchell picked up his second yellow midway through the second-half. Friday’s scheduled double header at Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre was postponed due to a waterlogged playing surface.