Striker Conrad Smith scored a late double as Joe Public rallied to an inspired and nail-biting 2-1 win over Defence Force at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya in Tuesday’s quarter-final stage of the Toyota Classic competition.
The 28-year-old Smith, who has a five-goal tally over a chequered 18-match international career, has been consigned to the Joe Public bench during his first season, since transferring from Caledonia AIA earlier this year.
But Smith proved to all and sundry that he is still worth his salt as he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for his team, who struggled to break down their opponents for the majority of the encounter.
Jerwyn Balthazar rose above the defence to head home a right-sided corner from Devon Jorsling, in the fourth minute, to put Defence Force ahead.
But Hayden Tinto could have levelled the scores in the 25th, but he dragged his right-footer wide of Kevin Graham’s right-post, following a low freekick by Trent Noel.
The veteran Noel was at the heart of a promising move by Joe Public two minutes later – after dispossessing midfielder Anton Joseph, Noel picked out his captain Kerry Baptiste to his left. The striker’s initial chance (which was poorly controlled) was thwarted by Graham but Baptiste pounced on the rebound and fed Gorean Highley who sent his left-footer sky-high.Jorsling failed to put Defence Force 2-0 ahead at half-time, as he missed the mark with his left-footer after good work on the right-flank by Kerry Joseph, while, in first-half stoppage time, Baptiste got a cross by Highley but sent his right-footed lob overbar.
Baptiste was well-patrolled by the Defence Force defence, but he could have tied the scores in the 47th, however he headed Seon Power’s right-sided cross wide; while Noel’s curling freekick, on the right, narrowly went overbar in the 51st.
Nine minutes later, Noel led a counter-attack and released a goal-bound Highley, but Graham did well to produce a right-handed save.
In the 62nd, Defence Force’s striker Kevon Carter, to his surprise, allowed Anton Joseph’s left-sided cross to hit his head and sail overbar, with only goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa to beat.
Defence Force started to dictate terms, and possession, to such an extent that Joe Public were forced to make three quick substitutions, including Baptiste (replaced by Micah Lewis) and Tinto (replaced by Smith).
But Defence Force, all of a sudden, allowed complacency to creep into their game and resorted to a number of fouls and bad passes. Those lapses in concentration proved fatal as Smith, out of the blue, collected a pass from Noel on the left, turned on his marker Dexter Pacheco, skipped past Balthazar and defender Rawle Fletcher and drilled a right-footed bullet to the right of Graham.
With the seconds ticking away, Highley gave Smith a pass on the right flank and the forward evaded Anton Joseph and sent his left-footer goal-bound. Smith, and the entire Joe Public team, erupted in elation as the ball deflected off Graham’s outstretched right-boot and trickled over the goal-line.
The joy was too much to handle for the team’s technical staff, as coach Derek King and his assistant Ralph “Arab” Nelson rushed onto the field to celebrate, while Smith, who was later booked by referee Gregory Gouveia for removing his shirt, suffered a cut above his left eye by his jubilant team-mates.
From the subsequent kick-off, Gouveia signalled the end of the match ushering the 2007 champs into the last four of the tournament.In the double-header at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, the first two winners of the Toyota Classic, W Connection (2005) and United Petrotrin (2006) were eliminated by Ma Pau and reigning champs San Juan Jabloteh respectively.
Striker Trevin Caesar notched a 54th minute goal as Ma Pau ousted Connection 1-0 while Jabloteh needed kicks-from-the-penalty spot to knock out an unimpressive Petrotrin outfit 3-2, after a goalless score-line at the end of regulation time.
The only dramatic period in the match was the penalty shootout, with veteran Gary Glasgow, who needed to score to keep Petrotrin in the match, hitting his shot wide.
Brazilian Luis Lima and the evergreen Nigel Pierre scored for Petrotrin while Stephan Campbell and captain Makan Hislop saw their efforts blocked by keeper Cleon John.
Even though Petrotrin’s goalie Glenroy Samuel denied Noel Williams’ try, Jabloteh prevailed courtesy successful kicks from Ataullah Guerra, Josh Johnson and Cyrano Glen.
The last semi-finalist was determined last evening, with last year’s runners-up St Ann’s Rangers due to battle 1976 FC Phoenix (the lone bmobile National Super League team remaining in the contest) at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. The semi-finals will take place tomorrow while the final is scheduled for November 13.
Jabloteh in Toyota semis following 3-2 penalty win over Petrotrin.
By: Rando Bando (ttproleague).
Cleon John made two brilliant saves on kicks from the spot to help defending Toyota Classic champions San Juan Jabloteh to a 3-2 penalty victory over United Petrotrin on Tuesday night and a place in the semifinals of this year's tournament.
John denied kicks from Stephan Campbell and Makan Hislop before United Petrotrin striker Gary Glasgow missed the entire target handing Jabloteh the 3-2 penalty win following a 0-0 draw in the first of a quarterfinal double header at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.
Jabloteh's semifinal opponent on Friday will be the winners between St. Ann's Rangers and 1976 Angostura Phoenix which plays on Wednesday afternoon from 5pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in their quarterfinal clash.
It was a tight contest between Jabloteh and Petrotrin with both sides having a fair share of opportunities.
In the 7th minute Stephan Campbell unleashed a leftfooted strike from distance, after intercepting a Sheldon Bateau pass and knocking a one-two with Jamal Clarence before testing Cleon John who wrapped the effort comfortably.
And less than a minute later United Petrotrin goalie Glenroy Samuel made a brilliant tip to deny Ataullah Guerra's effort from inside the area.
As the match progressed Campbell tried another leftfooted shot from distance at the Jabloteh goal in the 20th minute and the low drive was inches wide of John's upright.
Jabloteh had a much better opportunity in the 24th minute after Samuel failed to gather a Travis Mulraine cross from the right but he recovered brilliantly to blockout Guerra's tame shot.
The second half saw fewer chances at goal as the deadlock dragged till the fulltime whistle forcing the match to be decided on penalties.
Petrotrin started poorly when Cleon John thwarted Stephan Campbell's kick from the spot.
Ataulla Guerra, Josh Johnson and Cyrano Glen registered Jabloteh's first three kicks to stay ahead after Luis Andre Lima and Nigel Pierre netted their kicks for Petrotrin.
But failure to score by Makan Hislop and Gary Glasgow handed Jabloteh the semifinal spot despite a Noel Williams' failure to beat Glenroy Samuel.
San Juan Jabloteh (3) 0-0 (2) United Petrotrin
Kicks from the penalty spot
Stephan Campbell (saved)
Andre Luis Lima (scored)
Nigel Pierre (scored)
Makan Hislop (saved)
Gary Glasgow (missed)
San Juan Jabloteh
Ataullah Guerra (scored)
Josh Johnson (scored)
Cyrano Glen (scored)
Noel Williams (saved)
San Juan Jabloteh--Cleon John, Karlon Murray, Noel Williams, Marvin Oliver (capt), Travis Mulraine, Ataullah Guerra, Glenton Wolfe, Josh Johnson, Joel Leslie Russell, Robert Primus, Sheldon Bateau.
United Petrotrin--Glenroy Samuel, Makan Hislop (capt), Lyndon Diaz, Gary Glasgow, Nigel Pierre, Ghymo Harper, Kennedy Hinkson, Luis Andre Lima, Jamal Clarence, Stephan Campbell, Akeem Adams.
Other 2009 Toyota Classic quarterfinal results
Defence Force 1--2 Joe Public
Jerwyn Balthazar 4' ; Conrad Smith 86', 90'+
Ma Pau SC 1--0 W Connection
Trevin Caesar 53'
Joe Public, Ma Pau clash in Toyota semis.
By: Rando Bando (ttproleague).
Conrad Smith scored a late double to rescue Bmobile Joe Public to a 2-1 comeback victory over Defence Force in the quarterfinals of the Toyota Classic at the Marvin Lee Stadium on Tuesday.
And down at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium Ma Pau SC played brilliantly to hold on to a 1-0 win over W Connection in the second match of a double.
Trevin Caesar's 53rd minute strike, some terrific defending and continuous instructions by coach Michael McComie proved to be the winning mixture for Ma Pau against W Connection.
McComie will next meet his former club Joe Public in the semifinals on Friday.
Joe Public were trailing a 4th minute strike by Jerwyn Balthazar for Defence Force before being rescued by a double by Smith who netted in the 86th minute and injury time.
At the Marabella venue Ma Pau broke Connection's heart in the 53rd minute through Caesar's strike which left Miguel Lloyd beaten on his right for a 1-0 score, only moments after Shandell Samuel was denied twice.
Samuel made a huge impact with Caesar up front coming off the bench at the restart. The Vincentian saw his on-target volley crash off a defender and over for a corner in the 51st minute. And from the resulting corner Samuel directed a shot past Lloyd only to be denied by the far upright.
W Connection also saw an effort crash onto the upright through American striker Jose Carlos Diaz in the first half.
In the second half Connection's Hughtun Hector tried his luck from distance but the on target attempt was parried away by an alert Shane Mattis.
The Stuart Charles Fevrier coached side ended their hopes of a comeback three minutes from time when Brazilian Igos Santos turned a rebound wide of an exposed net after Mattis spilled what should have been a comfortable take.
Ma Pau SC--Shane Mattis, Lyndon Andrews (capt), Marc Leslie, Rennie Britto, Anthony Wolfe, Sayid Freitas, Kerry Noray, Curtis Gonzales, Kevin Molino, Mekeil Williams, Trevin Caesar.
W Connection--Miguel Lloyd, Elijah Joseph (capt), William Da Silva Oliveira, Kern Cupid, Jose Carlos Diaz, Romauld Aguillera, Eder Gilmar Arias, Hughtun Hector, Keryn Navarro, Igor Santos, Christian Viveros.
Coach--Stuart Charles Fevrier.