Kerry Baptiste scored a beaver-trick while Conrad Smith chipped in with a hat-trick as Joe Public stayed ahead of the rest in the Digicel Pro League after a 7-0 demolition of cellar-placed Police in their Round Two Match Day Ten contest at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella on Saturday.
Second-placed Caledonia AIA eked out a 1-0 win over Tobago United, but Joe Public widened their lead, by virtue of goal difference (plus-25 to Caledonia’s plus-18), even though the top two teams each have 37 points. Baptiste, who started the day with a tally of 25 goals, pushed his tally to 27 with a pair, in the 15th and 18th minutes, before completing his treble in the 37th.
The Joe Public’s captain got his third after an exchange of passes with national midfielder Trent Noel before tucking home his right-footer past the outstretched goalkeeper Adisa Alleyne.
Smith, a half-time replacement for Hayden Tinto, got a through-ball from Baptiste, rounded Alleyne and, despite the presence of the retreating Randy Harris, placed his shot to the left of the defender. Two minutes later (51st), Smith got Joe Public’s fifth goal, with a thunderous right-footer after the Police defence were unable to deal with a ball in the box.
Defender Todd Ryan, Police’s best player in the match, had their closest chance at goal, with a powerful drive from distance as he was given space by the Joe Public backline.
Eight minutes afterwards (79th), Baptiste notched his fourth goal, and 29th overall, with a nifty scoop over Alleyne after good work on the right by substitute Kaashif Thomas, while Smith completed his hat-trick in the 84th, taking a through ball from Baptiste, getting around the goalie and placing his left-footer into the vacant net.
At the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, national midfielder Keon Daniel converted a 72nd minute penalty as Caledonia got the better of a short-handed Tobago United outfit.
W Connection shock off their recent disappointments in the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League, with a 5-2 hammering of United Petrotrin, in the second match of Saturday’s double-header at Marabella, courtesy of a hat-trick from utility player Andrei Pacheco.
National Under-17 striker Shahdon Winchester missed three early chances at goal before central defender Renato Perreira, one of three starters from Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Guatemalan club CSD Comunicaciones, broke the deadlock in the 17th, rising above the defence to head home a free-kick, from the left, by his fellow Brazilian Igor Santos. Pacheco, who have struggled to find any consistency this season, justified his inclusion with a fantastic goal in the 29th, drilling home a left-footed blast from 25 metres out, after weaving his way past Kennedy Hinkson and veteran Cyd Gray.
Early in the second half, Devon Caseman produced a good save from Jan-Michael Williams with a right-footed freekick but Petrotrin’s misery worsened when Makan Hislop was sent off by referee Rashby McPhie in the 49th for his second bookable offence, a two-footed tackle on his opposing centre-back Eder Gilmar Arias, ten minutes after a body-check on Winchester. Petrotrin, fielding the oldest line-up in the league, seem to be a team in freefall, and that was clearly evident moments later when ex-TT captain Aurtis Whitley stormed off the field after he was replaced by defender Anthony Noreiga, as coach Marcos Tinoco jostled his back-line.
The Petrotrin defence, especially Colombian-born Edgar Ospina, had no answer to an audacious lob from Pacheco, within his own half, which sailed over the bemused keeper and into the back of the net in the 54th.
The floodlights went out three minutes later, causing a ten-minute delay, but two minutes after the resumption, Ospina was again caught off his line, this time by right-back Nickcolson Thomas, a goal which ignited laughter from Connection’s coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier.
The St Lucian had the luxury of introducing Sierra Leone teenaged striker Alusine Bangara, but Pacheco secured his hat-trick, hitting low to Ospina’s right to end a fine breakaway move.
In stoppage time, Petrotrin redeemed themselves with two goals, via deflections – Hinkson held off Arias and his right-footer went into the goal, via Williams’ body, while Lyndon Diaz’s left-footed free-kick was diverted home by the Connection wall.
In Friday’s lone match, Defence Force allowed a lead to slip, but they responded to edge St Ann’s Rangers 3-2 at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. Devon Jorsling gave Defence Force a 40th minute advantage before his opposite striker Josimar Belgrave responded with a pair, in the 51st and 61st, but Jorsling, and his team, had the last laugh, with a late double, in the 81st and 85th.
Ma Pau was on a bye during the weekend while the scheduled encounter between San Juan Jabloteh and FC South End was postponed.