Forward Tyrone Charles was used off the bench with just fourteen minutes left but grabbed a double against wounded lions when defending Toyota Classic champions San Juan Jabloteh triumphed 5-0 over top Super League side Guaya United last night.
Despite the result, it was an electrifying contest and a well-deserved win for the Keith Jeffrey-coached Jabloteh, who had whipped another Super League side, Marabella Family Crisis Centre, 7-0 in the Round-of-16 two weeks ago.
As expected, Guaya turned up at the Port-of-Spain venue with, seemingly, the entire countryside of Guayaguayare in tow, their talented captain and player/coach Ryan Stewart, and a goalkeeper named Erskine Johnson.
Stewart was up to his usual self, dispatching brilliant passes from midfield but it was the talent of Johnson that kept the defending champions, Jabloteh, without a goal until the 50th minute.
Johnson, who denied Kennedy Hinkson, Jevon Morris and a stoppage-time strike from Fabian Reid, all in the first half, was hung out to dry five minutes into the second period when Jabloteh grabbed a 1-0 lead.
In a play kept alive by a defensive error by wingback Leroy Jones, who missed a simple interception, Jabloteh’s Nathan Lewis was able to continue the play before feeding forward Jamal Gay, who held his composure, to hit past Johnson from inside the area.
The cookie crumbled from there on for Guaya, but it was always in the making, particularly from the performance of Lewis, whose speed and usual popping of a few tricks down the flanks proved too much for the Heart of a Lion Guaya United.
Lewis’ constant busts of speed down the flank also forced a premature substitution from Guaya coach Akeno Morgan, who replaced Kendell Campbell for the legs of Russell Alfred with six minutes left in the first half. Maybe if Morgan had a suitably better replacement for the exhausted legs of Jones, he would have made a similar change in the second period.
Jamaican Fabian Reid, who went inches wide of the target in the 10th minute, gave Jabloteh 2-0 cushion on the 60th minute. Reid's strike from an acute angle on the right, following a neat chest down and pass from Hinkson, surprised Guaya’s “Green Army” supporters when it flew past Johnson at near post.
Johnson, however, wasn’t deflated just yet. The Guaya goalie did well to deny Reid (F) a second in the 68th minute then produced consecutive saves a minute later to blank Reid again and a follow-up attempt from Gay.
But there was little Johnson could do for his side in the 75th minute when Jabloteh improved their lead 3-0. Johnson’s teammates had allowed Morris to power his way all the way from his own half and into the Guaya area before he blasted the ball into the far netting from the right.
It was clearly the end for Guaya, who had two missed headers from forward Carlon Hughes moments earlier.
However, Jabloteh weren’t done yet. The San Juan Kings smelt blood and had an appetite for it in the closing stages.
Substitute Tyrone Charles made it 4-0 in the 79th minute with a simple tap in to complete a neat build involving substitute Kaashif Thomas, Lewis and Gay.
Charles, wasted overbar in the 86th minute with substitute Sean Bonval free on goal, but redeemed himself in the 89th minute to complete the 5-0 Jabloteh win as Guaya and their hundreds of "Green Army” supporters made their quiet exit.
In the earlier contest at the Port-of-Spain venue it wasn’t all gloom and doom for Super League’s FC Santa Rosa, who also had their coach Keith Look Loy and substituted goalscorer Devon King ejected from the technical area by referee Rashby Mc Phie for dissent.
Look Loy had told ttproleague.com earlier this week that he anticipated his team’s most difficult game ever in the history of the club and the focus was simply on representing the club and the Super League well – win, lose or draw.
A 2-1 scoreline, although in favour of Defence Force, presumably sufficed.
Defence Force were ahead 1-0 by the 15th minute. Jelani Felix, shifted into the role of creative midfielder in absence of injured regular playmaker Jerwyn Balthazar, had time, lots of it, and space to deliberate before firing into goalkeeper Kitwana Manning’s bottom corner from distance.
However in the only minute of stoppage-time in the first half, Santa Rosa levelled the scores 1-1 when King converted from the penalty spot.
Defence Force had themselves to blame, not only because goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke had given away a penalty just before the break, but because they were miserable in front of goal.
Earlier this week, Defence Force head coach promised an attacking team and a basket of goals against the Santa Rosa, the side that edged the Defence Force Super League side 1-0 in the Round-of-16. To be exact, Gordon targeted 7 or 8 goals.
But had midfielder Kerry Joseph beaten goalkeeper Manning on two clear-cut chances in the 24th and 29th minutes, and defender Rodell Elcock put a free header on target in the 33rd minute for Defence Force during a lopsided first half, maybe it would have set the tone for that desired basket of goals.
Goalkeeper Clarke had clear coverage of an aerial ball played into his box, but recklessly stretched out his leg, fouling King in the process and forcing referee Mc Phie to point to the spot.
King, whose left sleeve was torn by the studs of Clarke’s boot in the incident, clinically rifled the ball into the top corner from the spot.
However, King failed to continue further than two minutes inside the second period due to a suspected groin injury. But his goal, a half-time team-talk by Look Loy, and the fact that they held Defence Force to a 1-1 draw at the break, may have all contributed to an improvement in belief from Santa Rosa.
As the game progressed, Santa Rosa looked an improved side from the first half while Defence Force were again failing to produce after mounting continuous attacks on their opponents, including Joseph spilling overbar from the edge of the six-yard area in the 58th minute.
Coach Gordon had made a bizarre move on the restart, exhausting his three changes at once by replacing ineffective forwards Richard Roy and Kellon Serrette and goalscorer Felix with forward Devorn Jorsling, defender Marvin Jones and midfielder Sean Narcis, respectively.
It was not until the 78th minute that the former Pro League Player of the Year, Jorsling, produced the winner by slotting the ball past Manning after meeting a long diagonal feed from Ross Russell Jr.
Ross Russell senior, the head coach of Central FC, will lead the Couva Sharks into action against Morvant Caledonia United in the first match of quarter-final Day Two double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium today (Sunday 22 November) from 4 pm.
Then from 6 pm, North East Stars, 8-0 winners over Siparia Spurs in the Round-of-16, will meet three-time former champions, W Connection.
Toyota Classic Results
Defence Force 2 (Jelani Felix 15’, Devorn Jorsling 78’) vs FC Santa Rosa 1 (Devon King 45’+1)
Guaya United 0 vs San Juan Jabloteh 5 (Jamal Gay 50’, Fabian Reid 60’, Jevon Morris 75’, Tyrone Charles 79’, 89’)
Defence Force (Pro League): 25.Sheldon Clarke; 8.Curtis Gonzales, 17.Ross Russell Jr., 4.Dave Long, 7.Jelani Felix (18.Sean Narcis 46th), 23.Kerry Joseph, 26.Richard Roy (9.Devorn Jorsling 46th), 30.Kishun Seecharan, 6.Rodell Elcock, 16.Kellon Serrette (13.Marvin Jones 46th), 21.Aklie Edwards (Capt.)
Unused substitutes: 2.Glynn Franklyn, 80.Aaron Enill (GK)
Coach: Marvin Gordon
FC Santa Rosa: 22.Kitwana Manning; 3.Kerron Reid, 5.Alfie James, 8.Shaka Pilgrim, 11.Durwin Ross, 13.Jovan Rochford (Capt.), 15.Osei Sandy, 16.Jacinto Rampersad (14.Avery Cabralis 33rd), 20.Al Davidson, 21.Jean-Paul Aqui-Blanc, 25.Devon King (12.Nicholas Armstrong 48th)
Unused substitutes: 4.Jeremy Mc Meo, 17.Kearn Noel, 19.Gary Bart, 23.Claudius Howard, 30.Darren Shah (GK)
Coach: Keith Look Loy
Guaya United: 1.Erskine Johnson; 2.Kelvin Smith, 4.Kheelon Ferrier, 7.Jody Allsop, 10.Carlon Hughes, 11.Leroy Jones, 14.Sherlon Campbell (8.Kurdell Alfred 48th), 17.Ryan Stewart, 24.Kendell Campbell (5.Russell Alfred 39th), 25.Keston Jordan, 27.Kheelon Mitchell (9.Earlon Thomas 79th)
Unused substitutes: 3.Akeel Paul, 19.Beville Joseph, 20.Kerneal Hagley, 30.Daniel Hagley (GK)
Coach: Akeno Morgan
San Juan Jabloteh: 30.Shemel Louison; 5.Rickcardo Harriott, 7.Jamal Gay, 23.Kennedy Hinkson (10.Tyrone Charles 76th), 27.Nathan Lewis (14.Sean Bonval 80th), 18.Jevon Morris, 24.Adrian Reid, 13.Fabian Reid, 21.Aquil Selby, 11.Damian Williams, 6.Ramone Mc Gregor (16.Kaashif Thomas 73rd)
Unused substitutes: 36.Raheem Belgrave (GK), 8.Keyon Edwards, 4.Garth Thomas, 17.Josiah Trimmingham
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
Sunday 22 November
Morvant Caledonia United vs Central FC—4 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium
North East Stars vs W Connection—6 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium