Digicel Pro League leaders DIRECTV W Connection and Point Fortin Civic were in winners row on Tuesday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium, extending their winning ways to three in three matches in the 2013-2014 championship. But weren’t dominating by way of results.
Point Fortin (9 points), sitting just behind Connection (9 points) by a lesser goal difference, only managed to pull off a slim 1-0 win over bottom of the table St. Ann’s Rangers (0 points) in the first match of the Round One Match Day Three double-header at the Couva venue.
Andre Alexis’ 16th minute strike from the right of the area and into the far netting after meeting an Andre Toussaint pass, separated both teams in a match that later produced some excellent saves by Rangers’ goalkeeper Terrence Lewis.
And in the second contest, Connection, which featured the return of midfielder Joevin Jones—back as captain—and defender Daneil Cyrus in the starting lineup, had to hold on for a 3-2 win over fifth positioned San Juan Jabloteh (3 points).
Simultaneously at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Police FC scored in the third minute of time-added-on to hold last season’s runners-up Caledonia AIA to a 1-1 draw in the first match of that venue’s double-header.
Jasimar Ashers’ 93rd minute strike handed Police its first point of the season, while Caledonia which produced a number of terrible misses and a goal from winger Nathan Lewis, now stand with an 8-match winless streak in all competitions this season and two points in sixth position on the league standings.
Former Caledonia forward Trevin Caesar, however, was in his glee on Tuesday night with new club North East Stars.
The 24 year-old Tobagonian forward registered a spectacular second half hat-trick to lift the third positioned Stars 3-1 over defending champions and eight positioned Defence Force in the second match at the Port of Spain venue.
The former Trinidad and Tobago Under 23 footballer scored in the 51st, 81st and 88th minutes, and was only interrupted by a 66th minute item by Defence Force’s Josimar Belgrave.
Connection, meanwhile, scored all of its three goals within the first 14 minutes of play with Colombian striker Camilo Ortega Andres Diaz hitting past goalkeeper Keston Malchan from inside the area in the 8th minute for a 1-0 advantage.
Jabloteh weren’t allowed to come to their senses as Connection doubled its advantage, 2-0, by the 10th minute when defender Mekeil Williams blasted in an untidy clearance from the San Juan club.
Striker Hashim Arcia, who fed Diaz the pass for the opening item, then made it 3-0 by the 14th minute when he guided a Jerrel Britto cross into the back of the net, beating Malchan.
Malchan later produced a save in the 30th minute when he got glove to a Diaz effort, keeping it out, and in the 49th minute the Jabloteh goalie cleared a Kurt Frederick effort for a corner.
And Jabloteh, led by captain Kerry Baptiste and the energy of former Connection player Rennie Britto and midfielder Kerry Daniel, showed good resilience late in the match.
Rennie Britto pulled a goal back in the 69th minute for a 1-3 score when he pounced on a giveaway by Connection at the top of the area and let off a crack at goal, giving a fully stretched goalkeeper Julani Archibald very little chance.
Jabloteh further reduced the deficit 2-3 in the 81st minute when Britto’s corner from the left snuck past the Connection defense, and Baptiste was alert at the back post to earn his 7th goal from four matches in all competitions.
In the earlier match between Rangers and Point Fortin, the southerners which defeated Police FC 4-1 in Match Day One and edged North East Stars 1-0 in Match Day Two, didn’t reward the traveling Point Fortin posse multiple goals, but left the Couva venue with the valuable 3 points.
Prior to Alexis’ item in the 16th minute, Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Marcus Joseph had an ambitious left footed attempt just overbar in the first minute of play, and another wide effort in the 21st minute after teaming up with Alexis.
Teammates Matthew Bartholomew and Toussaint combined earlier in the 7th minute, with the later striking overbar.
Toussaint was on target in the 22nd minute, after picking up a neat Joseph pass above the area, and having a crack at goal, however Rangers goalie Lewis produced a diving save to push the effort behind.
Toussaint, a seasoned Pro League campaigner with clubs such as W Connection, Joe Public, T&TEC FC and Caledonia, later curled a 35th minute free-kick inches overbar. And in the 44th minute an Andrei Pacheco free-kick was deflected wide, and from the resulting corner goalkeeper Lewis miraculously stopped a low blast from Bartholomew on the goal line.
Rangers too had a dangerous free-kick by veteran footballer Conrad Smith, two minutes inside the second period, which crashed onto the frame after winning a foul just outside the area.
Talented Rangers midfielder Keron Cummings, who forced a save out of goalkeeper Marvin Phillip in the 17th minute, executed good skill above the area in the 56th minute and unleashed a crack at goal but was inches too high of Phillip’s crossbar.
And while Rangers did everything in their ability against Point Fortin, the Reynold Carrington coached southerners failed to beat Lewis a second time.
Goalscorer Alexis headed just wide of the near upright in the 49th minute after beating Lewis to a Bartholomew cross, then in the 65th minute Joseph was denied by an excellent save from the Rangers’ goalie.
Lewis was brilliant again in the 67th minute, first blocking out an Alexis effort from close range following a Garyl Doldron cross from the right, and was quick to his feet to keep out the rebound effort by substitute Bevon Bass.
St. Ann’s Rangers 0—1 Point Fortin Civic
; Andre Alexis 16’
St. Ann’s Rangers—25. Terrence Lewis, 7. Clevon McFee (C), 6. Kareem Davidson, 8. Joel Whiteman (Yellow Card), 9. Conrad Smith, 10. Kerron Cummings (Yellow Card), 12. Tevin Gilkes (Yellow Card), 14. Michael Yaw Darko (5. Duran Dilworth 46th), 16. Kennedy Isles, 18. Jemel Berot (2. Marcus Roberts 83rd), 23. Dwane James.
Unused substitutes—22. Kern Caesar (GK).
Point Fortin Civic FC—1. Marvin Phillip, 6. Kelvin Modeste (C), 2. Garyl Doldron, 4. Wesley John, 5. Andre Ettienne, 19. Andrei Pacheco (Yellow Card), 10. Marcus Joseph, 9. Matthew Bartholomew, 11. Andre Toussaint (Yellow Card) (18. Akeem Redhead 85th), 20. Sylvester Teesdale (14. Bevon Bass 61st), 21. Andre Alexis
Unused substitutes—26. Miguel Payne (GK), 3. Lyndon Diaz, 23. Kelvin Hernandez, 29. Kevin Rouse, 27. Jared Bennet.
W Connection 3—2 San Juan Jabloteh
Camilo Ortega Andres Diaz 8’, Mekeil Williams 10’, Hashim Arcia 14’ ; Rennie Britto 69’, Kerry Baptiste 81’
W Connection—18. Julani Archibald, 10. Joevin Jones (C), 2. Kurt Frederick, 3. Gerard Williams, 4. Daneil Cyrus, 12. Canilo Ortega Andres Diaz (27. Yefer Steven Lozano 65th), 14. Hashim Arcia (28. Yhon Stiven Lopez 71st), 15. Mekeil Williams (Yellow Card), 24. Joao Ananias Jordao Jr., 31. Jerrel Britto (65. Neil Benjamin Jr. 74th), 40. Jomal Williams.
Unused substitutes—22. Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 17. Jamal Clarence, 19. Leslie Joel Russell, 39. Alvin Jones.
Coach—Stuart Charles Fevrier.
San Juan Jabloteh—1. Keston Malchan, 10. Kerry Baptiste (C) (Yellow Card), 6. Dario Holmes (25. Alphie James 60th) (Yellow Card), 26. Keino Goodridge, 12. Jamal Spencer, 18. Jevon Morris, 16. Nyron Jones, 17. Kerry Daniel (5. Daryl Mark 80th), 9. Jelani Felix, 20. Kevon Piper (14. Shaquille Bertrand 65th), 7. Rennie Britto.
Unused substitutes—22. Shane Hospidales, 11. Akel James, 19. Dillon Kirton, 30. Jesse Peters.