St Ann’s Rangers clinched third spot in the First Citizens Cup after a narrow 2-1 victory over CLICO San Juan Jabloteh at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella on Friday.
Jabloteh fielded the bulk of their reserves while Rangers kept the majority of their regulars for a game which was a scrappy affair for the majority of the time.
Rangers midfielder Christon Thomas tested Jabloteh goalkeeper Daurance Williams with a left-sided cross in the 14th while Marcano, on the left, sped past Christon’s brother Corneal but struck his right-footer overbar in the 20th.
Three minutes later, Kaashif Thomas dispossessed Corneal Thomas on the right and, after finding Attuala Guerra, the ball was relayed to striker Beville Joseph who blazed his right-footer high.
Moments later, Joseph received a deep ball from the back, shrugged off Corneal Thomas and fellow defender Elijah Belgrave before his shot was parried by Rangers’ goalie Shane Mattis and a retreating Corneal Thomas cleared the ball off the goal-line.
Elijah Manners hit a 20-metre wide in the 34th, while Edwards, after creating space for himself, shot overbar in the 36th.
The second half came to life with a trio of goals which decided the outcome. In the 59th, Corneal Thomas denied Marcano’s run down the Rangers’ right flank and the ball fell for Edwards who ran through the heart of the Jabloteh defence and struck his left-footer past the lunging Williams.
Two minutes later, Jabloteh’s failure to deal with a left-sided corner saw the ball going to Jevon Morris on the left who, in turn, found an unmarked Josimar Belgrave who wrong-footed Williams with a close range right-footer, as the Jabloteh defence appealed in vain for an off-side. Marcano, one of only three first-team players on the Jabloteh starting line-up (Guerra and Nigel Daniel were the others) pulled one back in the 66th.
Guerra forced a mistake by Rangers’ midfielder Ricky Charles and slipped the ball to substitute Willis Plaza who, after a mis-timed challenge from Corneal Thomas, found Marcano on the right and the striker made no mistake from 12 metres out.
Things got worse for Rangers as Charles was sent off seconds later by referee Julien Drayton for dissent, but Jabloteh could not capitalise on the man-advantage, as Daniel narrowly missed the mark with a bending right-footed freekick in the 77th, while Guerra’s right-footer struck the post in stoppage time.
SAN JUAN JABLOTEH: Daurance Williams; Anton Hutchinson, Joel Russell (capt), Kevon Villaroel, Nigel Daniel; Atuallah Guerra, Kaashif Thomas (Mikel Williams 62nd), Jason Marcano, Dennis Williams (Julien Landeau 62nd), Elijah Manners; Beville Joseph (Willis Plaza 62nd).
ST ANN’S RANGERS: Shane Mattis; Corneal Thomas, Jevon Morris, Elijah Belgrave, Devon Modeste; Ricky Charles, Christon Thomas, Josimar Belgrave (capt), Shane Rennie (Abiola Clarence 76th), Shem McFarlane (Marvin James 72nd); Keon Edwards.