Match-ups for the all-Pro League semi-final showdown to be drawn on Wednesday
Reigning FA Trophy champions and four-time winners DIRECTV W Connection needed kicks from the penalty mark at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on Sunday to get past lower league side St. Francois Nationals 5-3, following a goalless draw, to reach the semi-final round of the 2015 FA Trophy.
While rivals Central FC, defeated finalists in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, defeated fellow Pro League club Police FC 2-0 at the Police Training Ground in St. James in their quarterfinal round clash to join W Connection, Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh and Defence Force for an all-Pro League FA Trophy semi-final round, carded for Sunday 15 March.
Central FC, the current Digicel Pro League leaders standing five points ahead of second placed Connection, defeated fellow league campaigners and three-time (1975, 1990 & 1994) FA Trophy winners Police FC with second half strikes by Jason Marcano (61st minute) and Willis Plaza (75th minute).
Also on Sunday, Jabloteh and North East Stars were 3-2 winners over Super League champions Club Sando and Defence Force respectively.
Jabloteh, three-time winners (1998, 2005 & 2010-2011), had a goal each from Coneal Thomas (28th minute), Newton Sterling (63rd minute) and Brent Sam (67th minute), while Club Sando – in the waiting for next season’s Pro League calendar – got goals from Kevon Woodley (39th minute) and former Trinidad and Tobago international Nigel Daniel (94th minute) at the Larry Gomes Stadium.
At the Marvin Lee Stadium, first half goals by Neveal Hackshaw (14th minute), Kaashif Thomas (28th minute) and Jomoul Francois (39th minute) earned 2003 winners North East Stars, what turned out to be an unassailable target against six-time winners (1974, 1981, 1985, 1989, 1991 & 1996) Defence Force. Defender Rodell Elcock pulled a goal back in the 45th minute for Defence Force and Ross Russell Jr. further reduced the deficit in the 52nd minute but 3-2 stood the score-line at the end.
In south Trinidad, head coach Stuart Charles Fevrier, winning coach in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2013-2014 with W Connection, fielded a second string team against the Northern Football Association (NFA) side St. Francois Nationals.
But despite taking up residency in the St. Francois half and dominating the possession, Connection failed execute the type of flowing cohesiveness that the full strength team is known for.
Fevrier had even introduced defensive midfielder Gerard Williams and attacking midfielder Jomol Williams following the break to pull the strings but, even against the tired legs of St. Francois, an unconnected W’ failed to find the back of the net before the final regulation time blow of referee Cecile Hinds' whistle.
However, Colombian Yefer Steven Lozano led the scoring on the kicks from the penalty spot with teammates Devaughn Elliot, Jomal Williams, Christopher Rodriguez and Gerard Williams all beating St. Francois goalie Jason Bowen.
St. Francois were matching the reigning Digicel Pro League champions early but by the third kick Shawn Hinds blasted high over bar after Jabari Andall and Marlon Francois had defeated goalkeeper Aquelius Sylvester. And despite Keron Edwards well-executed on the fourth kick, Gerard Williams ended the NFA side’s ride.
“Our players’ attitude wasn’t what it should have been today,” said Fevrier following the match. “It could be because of the opponents but I don’t know for sure. We have been joggling around a lot of the players with all the football that we have but I think today the motivation wasn’t what it should have been. We are now just happy to progress to the semi-final [round] and hopefully we will more motivated then.”
The draw for the semi-final round match-ups will happen on Wednesday and Fevrier admits that whoever his side is drawn to face, the “Savonetta Boys” must improve.
“Whoever we meet we will definitely have to step up to get a better result because today our level wasn’t what I expected. We didn’t have much problems defensively but offensively we were below what we normally play.”
W Connection, Central and North East Stars will return to Digicel Pro League action on Tuesday 10 March in Round Three Match Day Three at the Marvin Lee Stadium. Central are against Caledonia AIA from 6 pm, followed by W Connection versus North East Stars from 8 pm.
On Wednesday St. Ann’s Rangers will meet Police FC from 6 pm at the Marvin Lee Stadium followed by San Juan Jabloteh against Point Fortin Civic from 8 pm to wrap up Round Three Match Day Three of the DPL.
Quarter-Final Round Results
W Connection 0 vs St. Francois Nationals 0
(W Connection won the match 5-3 on kicks from the penalty mark)
San Juan Jabloteh 3 (Coneal Thomas 28’, Newton Sterling 63’, Brent Sam 67’) vs Club Sando 2 (Kevon Woodley 39’, Nigel Daniel 90’+4)
Defence Force 2 (Rodell Elcock 45', Ross Russell Jr. 52') vs North East Stars 3 (Neveal Hackshaw 14', Kaashif Thomas 28', Jomoul Francois 39')
Police FC 0 vs Central FC 2 (Jason Marcano 61’, Willis Plaza 75’)
W Connection: 22.Aquelius Sylvester; 4.Bradley Beaumont, 9.Maleik De Freitas (40.Jomal Williams 46th), 10.Yefer Steven Lozano, 11.Tremain Shayn Paul (3.Gerard Williams 46th), 13.Devaughn Elliot, 16.Anselm Jackson, 20.Christian Rodriguez, 25.Christian Viveros, 30.Aaquil Campbell (Shirvone St. Prix 68th), 34.Jabari Mitchell
Unused substitutes: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 29.Akeem Garcia, 42.Amrit Gildharry, 45.Kori Cupid
Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier
St. Francois Nationals: 1.Jason Bowen; 7.Jessie Alexis, 6.Jabari Andall, 3.Shawn Hinds, 8.Andre Joseph, 14.Rafer Ross (20.Marlon Francois 73rd), 9.Andre Peltier, 10.Marlon Bowen (13.Stephen Moore 86th), 16.Akyl Griffith, 18.Marc Borde, 5.Keron Edwards
Unused substitutes: 12.De’Quan Dyall, 2.Sheldon Baird, 21.Trevor De Silva, 19.Earnest Edwards, 23.Ibrahim Abdullah
Coach: Marc Borde