Overlooked Trinidad and Tobago forward Cornell Glen was in fine form on Friday night when he registered a first half hat-trick to comfortably put North East Stars 3-1 past bottom of the table T&TEC FC.
The ex-LA Galaxy forward opened the scoring in just the 3rd minute with a cheeky finish past goalkeeper Darryl Francis from inside the area for a 1-0 Stars’ advantage and paving T&TEC’s 11th Digicel Pro League defeat from 13 games.
T&TEC’s Tigana Sparks had a chance to level the scores in the 15th minute but disappointingly headed Glen Sutton’s cross wide with the goal at his mercy from the back post.
Glen then handed the Sangre Grande club a second in the 28th minute with some help from T&TEC defender Adarryl John’s body which deflected Glen’s strike perfectly past Francis for a 2-0 cushion.
Glen’s hat-trick was interrupted by an item from T&TEC’s most electrifying player on the night, Daniel Garcia, who unleashed a freekick at goal in the 31st minute which took a deflection to defeat Stars goalie Cleon John and reducing the deficit 1-2.
However Glen squashed any attempted plans of a comeback by T&TEC when he completed his hat-trick in the 41st minute with a brilliant curling effort from distance that left goalkeeper Francis, well off his line, defeated a third time.
Following the match, Stars Head Coach Angus Eve told ttproleague.com that Glen could have easily scored 4 or 5 goals.
Rightfully so, Glen had an attempt cleared off the line after pacing past defender John and goalkeeper Francis in the 20th minute. And from a set piece in the 25th minute he struck just wide.
In the second half, T&TEC resumed with assistant coach Desmond Bailey marching the technical area in absence of regular Head Coach Dexter Cyrus absent, replacing Francis in goal with Akini Adams. The change coupled with some luck saw T&TEC maintain a clean sheet in the second half.
Glen had an opening in the 51st minute when he side footed a Kevon Villaroel cross from the left but only troubled the net support.
And in the 55th minute, Villaroel tried his luck at goal only to be denied by the upper corner to T&TEC’s delight.
Hat-trick goalscorer Glen had a go at goal again in the 76th minute hitting high over-bar before being replaced by Jamaican midfielder Keithy Simpson four minutes later.
However Glen, his teammates and Eve were happy with full points in the end which pushed North East Stars up a spot on the standings into third with 20 points.
Meantime T&TEC who had one second half attempt at goal from goalscorer Garcia in the 65th minute from distance which forced a good save out of John remain slumped at the bottom of the table after Round Two Match Day Six with just 4 points from 13 matches.
T&TEC FC 1—3 North East Stars
Daniel Garcia 31’ ; Cornell Glen 3’, 28’, 41’
T&TEC FC—Darryl Francois (Akini Adams 46th), Angus John, Cebastien Bailey (Husani Thomas 70th), Eustace Darius, Daniel Garcia, Tigana Sparks, Bevon Bass, Givon John (Levi Garcia 68th), Adarryl John (Yellow Card), Glen Sutton, Nathaniel Garcia.
Unused substitutes—Keeron Benito, Brent Garcia, Akiniyel Rouse, Akeem Redhead.
North East Stars—Cleon John (capt.), Kareem Moses, Kerry Baptiste (Elijah Manners 87th), Kevon Villaroel (Yellow Card), Jeromie Williams, Akiel Guevara (Micah Lewis 65th), Cornell Glen (Keithy Simpson 80th), Kaashif Thomas, Glenton Wolfe, Kennedy Hinkson, Keryn Navarro.
Unused substitutes—Adrian Foncette, Gary Glasgow, Jean-Luc Rochford, Jayson Joseph.
Match Referee—Joel Davidson.
Defence Force edges Connection; Glen tricks T&TEC
BY Lasana Liburd (Wired868)
Another weekend, another win for the Defence Force.
It was a close shave but, at the final whistle, Defence Force was celebrating again as the army/coast guard combination edged defending champions, DIRECTV W Connection, 2-1 last night at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya.
It was the tenth successive unbeaten outing for coach Ross Russell’s men and nine of those results were victories. The level of consistency and the unconquerable spirit within this Defence Force squad has been remarkable for much of its League campaign.
There was no master class last night from the men in yellow shirts, though. In fact, Defence Force was there for the taking.
But, at the crucial moments, Connection lacked the nerve and ruthless instinct to finish off a sluggish opponent.
It was Connection’s second defeat from its last three league fixtures and saw the reigning champion slip to fourth place behind North East Stars, who defeated T&TEC FC 3-1 at the same venue earlier yesterday evening.
World Cup 2006 striker Cornell Glen scored a classy first half hattrick to wrap up a straightforward triumph for the Sangre Grande-based club who announced earlier that star defender Seon Power has signed a one-year deal with Thailand Premier League cub, Chainat FC.
The T&TEC defence simply had no answer to Glen who opened the scoring in the third minute with a clipped close ranged finish after finding space in the opposing penalty area to run on to a clever Kerry Baptiste pass. He doubled the Stars’ advantage in the 28th minute with an effort that deflected off opposing defender and T&TEC trainer Adarryl John.
Garcia, a promising teenaged midfielder, pulled a goal back, three minutes later, with a thumping free kick that surprised Stars custodian Cleon John and smashed off the underside of the bar before bouncing over the goalline. It was the second goal from as many games for the Shiva Boys student.
But Glen bettered the young man’s strike with an exquisite lofted finish, four minutes before the interval, that comprehensively beat T&TEC goalkeeper Darryl Francis and nestled into the top right corner.
Glen is understood to have been close to an international recall for the recent friendly against Peru but might have been omitted to facilitate Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones.
Trinidad and Tobago’s joint national head coach Jamaal Shabazz was in attendance yesterday and the talented striker may not have to wait much longer for his chance as the “Soca Warriors” continue their search for a dependable “number nine.”
W Connection could surely do with Glen’s talents as well.
The “Savonetta Boys” have scored 21 goals from 12 Pro League matches with 12 goals conceded, which might not appear too shabby at first glance. But take away their two outings against table proppers, T&TEC, and a different picture emerges.
Connection has scored 11 goals and conceded just as many from 10 games played this season, excluding a 10-1 aggregate league triumph against T&TEC over two matches.
And the absence of a cutting edge upfront again haunted the defending champions last night.
Connection made a storming start to the game and should have gone ahead in the 18th minute when Joevin Jones collected with time and space in the opposing penalty box but outfoxed himself with a tame chip straight into the gloves of Army custodian Kevin Graham.
It proved a costly miss as Defence Force responded to race two goals clear with strikes from Kevon Carter and Devorn Jorsling in the 40th and 43rd minutes respectively.
Nothing if not patient, Russell’s troops bided their time and struck when Connection lost its rhythm in the closing stages of the first half.
The first goal was a beautiful team effort with an exchange at speed between Curtis Gonzales, Jorsling and Josimar Belgrave that ended with Carter tapping home a raking right side Jerwyn Balthazar cross from close range.
The second was an individual gem from a set piece as Connection’s Colombian custodian Alejandro Figueroa stood in the centre of the goal but still could not reach a Jorsling free kick that went over the wall but curled away from his opponent’s despairing dive.
Connection boss Stuart Charles-Fevrier responded quickly by introducing Clyde Leon and Neil Benjamin for Silvio Spann and Andrei Pacheco at the halftime interval. And the Couva-based squad did claw its way back into contention as Jones contorted his body to volley home a left side Stefano Rijssell cross.
But Connection could not turn possession into good scoring opportunities and Defence Force comfortably dealt with the long ranged efforts that came their way. Until, that is, the fourth and final minute of stoppage time.
Central defender Daneil Cyrus was operating as an auxiliary striker by then and he peeled off his marker and into the opposing area. Faced with a tight angle, he sent a pinpoint cross towards the last post.
Hashim Arcia attacked the ball but, from two yards, somehow managed to skew his effort wide at the near post.
Referee Neal Brizan blew his whistle immediately after Arcia’s miss and the 24-year-old attacker remained with his head buried in the turf. Jones, Kurt Frederick, Cyrus and assistant coaches Earl Jean eventually coaxed the young man back to his feet and his tears flowed freely as he headed gingerly towards the dressing room to face his teammates.
Almost certainly, Connection’s chances of retaining its league crown evaporated in that sorrowful moment.
And, defiant and unbowed, Defence Force marches on.
W Connection(4-2-1-3): 21.Alejandro Figueroa; 3.Akeem Benjamin, 4.Daneil Cyrus, 5.Elijah Joseph (captain), 32.Kurt Frederick, 12.Gerrard Williams, 36.Joevin Jones, 20.Silvio Spann (8.Clyde Leon 46), 17.Andrei Pacheco (65.Neil Benjamin 46), 14.Hashim Arcia, 26.Stefano Rijssel (30.Aaquil Campbell 85).
Unused substitutes: 22.Aquelius Sylvester, 6.Kemuel Rivers, 19.Joel Russell, 25.Christian Viveros.
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier.
Defence Force (4-2-3-1): 1.Kevin Graham; 14.Cory Rivers (captain) (9.Richard Roy 74), 5.Devin Jordan, 20.Rodell Elcock, 8.Curtis Gonzales; 3.Keston Williams, 15.Jerwyn Balthazar (21.Aklie Edwards 67); 29.Jemel Sebro, 12.Josimar Belgrave, 11.Kevon Carter (17.Ross Russell Jr 54); 10.Devorn Jorsling (vice captain).
Unused substitutes: 25.Sheldon Clarke, 2.Glynn Franklyn, 18.Sean Narcis, 24.Jahvon Neptune.
Coach: Ross Russell.
Referee: Neal Brizan.