T&T Pro League
25 Sep 2008
- Written by Lasana Liburd (T&T Express)
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Jabloteh stretched their advantage over Caledonia to 12 points, while second placed W. Connection, who played a game less, trail the leaders by seven points. Fourth-placed Economy North East Stars were moving in the right direction, too, with a 4-1 win over cellar-placed Ma Pau FC.
Tricky striker Sean Cooper became the third player to score a hat-trick in the 2008 domestic competition, while defender John Stewart chipped in as well for the Stars, who are already on their third coach this season, with Miguel Hackett now in the hot seat.
Josimar Belgrave, who captains fifth-placed St Ann's Rangers, scored four times in a league match against Tobago in May, while Joe Public striker Gregory Richardson notched a Champions League treble against New England Revolution and repeated the trick in their FCB Cup quarterfinal win over United Petrotrin.
Petrotrin, who occupy sixth place, are also under new management and got the first point of the Leon Carpette era with a goalless draw against eighth-placed Defence Force at the Palo Seco Recreation Ground on Tuesday evening.
There might be shuffling for positions in the mid and lower regions of the Pro League table but the leaders have remained constant since June 24.
Caledonia would have hoped to prompt a stutter on Tuesday, although they started without 2006 World Cup midfielder Densill Theobald, Guyanese international defender Howard Lowe and holding midfielder Stephen David.
The "Eastern Stallions" did have inspirational St Lucian defender Sheldon Emmanuel, though, who made his debut for Caledonia this season after an ill-fated attempt to join Jabloteh.
Jabloteh have the services of 2007 Pro League MVP and ex-Caledonia star Marvin Oliver, who they signed in the pre-season, and Caledonia supporters might have snickered as, 12 minutes into the encounter, an Oliver error helped his former employers go ahead.
The beanpole playmaker was caught in possession by Caledonia 's teenaged midfielder Akim Armstrong and quickly brought down the player, 25 yards from the Jabloteh goal.
Jabloteh goalkeeper Cleon John could only fend the resulting free kick from Charles Pollard into the path of his Caledonia teammate Kendall Velox, who gleefully converted his tenth league goal this season-the fourth highest aggregate in the competition.
Oliver needed just five minutes to respond, though. Trent Noel miscued his volley from a Lester Peltier cross but, when Noel Williams played the loose ball into Oliver's path, the Rastafarian attacked with a ferocious drive from 22 yards for the equaliser.
And, ten minutes before the interval, Jabloteh went ahead through mid-season signing Jerol Forbes. It was Forbes' fourth league goal in three matches since his move from Petrotrin as the San Juan club make light of Antiguan hitman Peter Byers' departure to Montreal Impact.
Peltier again produced an incisive early cross from the right flank and, this time, Oliver dummied the ball for Forbes, who held off a defender to fire home.
Caledonia still threatened and striker Nigel Codrington was thwarted by a last-ditch tackle from Jabloteh and Trinidad and Tobago full back Cyd Gray, while a Walter Moore item was disallowed for offside before the break.
But the Stallions did not get as close in the second half as Jabloteh defended resolutely and always looked capable of an insurance goal on the counter.
It eventually came, nine minutes from time, courtesy another mid-season capture. When Jabloteh coach Terry Fenwick heads into the transfer market, he probably first checks the whereabouts of striker Cornell Glen.
The Englishman signed the Trinidad and Tobago international for the third time this week and was repaid within seconds of his introduction.
Glen, whose traditional number 13 jersey now belongs to Jason Marcano, sported the number 23 shirt as he replaced Peltier in the 79th minute and, two minutes later, steered a left side Noel cross past Caledonia goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel with his first touch. There was no catching Jabloteh then. It has been that sort of season for them thus far.
Tuesday's T&T Pro League Results:
San Juan Jabloteh 3 (Marvin Oliver 18th, Jerol Forbes 36th, Cornell Glen 81st) v Caledonia 1 (Kendall Velox 13th)
United Petrotrin 0 v Defence Force 0
NE Stars 4 (Sean Cooper 6th, 60th, 87th, John Stewart 44th) v Ma Pau 1 (Lorne Joseph 63rd pen)