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In-form T&T international  Marcus Joseph bagged a pair of goals as Point Fortin Civic FC came-from-behind to edge Caledonia AIA 2-1 at the Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin, yesterday, to close to within seven points of Digicel T&T Pro League leader and four-time champion DirecTV W Connection.

With the win, Pt Fortin stretched its unbeaten run to seven matches (five wins, two draws) for 26 points from 15 matches, six behind W Connection which had the weekend off.

Third is North East Stars with 22 points after a 1-0 win over St Ann’s Rangers on Friday, while Police (21), which was also idle, is fourth followed by Caledonia and Central FC, both with 20. However, it could have all been different on the table had Caledonia, a 2-1 winner over Civic before the host started its unbeaten run, took advantage of its early lead.

Eight minutes into the contest, the Morvant/Laventille-based Caledonia, winner of its previous two matches went ahead through a Noel Williams header from a Kareem Joseph cross which it took into the interval.

On the resumption, Pt Fortin took command, with Joseph scoring the equaliser in the 66th with a close range tap in, and then 13 minutes later he got what eventually turned out to be the decider. It was another stellar performance and match-winning display from striker Joseph, who has now netted ten times in his last six matches.

On Friday, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Willis Plaza also scored a double and provided another, as Central FC ended a run of six straight-drawn matches with a convincing 4-1 thumping of San Juan Jabloteh.

This was in the second match of a double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium where North East Stars also put a halt to a three-match winless streak with a hard fought 1-0 win over St Ann’s Rangers. In the feature match on Friday, the Central “Sharks” got on the scoreboard as early as the fifth minute through former Defence Force player, winger Samuel Delice with a low effort that beat goalkeeper Shane Mattis from close ranger after Plaza had nodged on an Elton John free-kick into the 18-yard box.

It was the perfect start for the revamped Central FC, missing the influential midfield pair of captain Marvin Oliver, through suspension and Atualla Guerra, due to injury. However, for all their dominance, the “Sharks” had to wait until the stroke of half-time before they doubled their lead to 2-0 thanks to Jason Marcano from a Rundell Winchester right-sided centre.

It looked all over for Jabloteh, which for some reason opted to leave the Pro League’s all-time leading goal-scorer Kerry Baptiste, with 120-plus goals on the bench along with Kerry Daniel and Kareem Smith.

But that decision by first-year coach Keith Jeffrey seemed to be a wise one when ten minutes after the restart, midfielder Bradley Welch pulled a goal back for Jabloteh by blasting past goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams off a Nyron Jones cross.

That goal seemed to spring Central FC back into life, as within four minutes the Couva-based second-year club restored its two-goal advantage when Plaza got his first, hammering in a rebound after team-mate Leston Paul’s initial effort was charged down by Jabloteh second-half introduction Rennie Britto.

With nine minutes left in the contest, Johan Peltier almost made it 4-1 to Jabloteh with a strike from distance that just went wide of the goal, but seconds into time added one, Plaza finally made it 4-1 with his second on the night when he slotted into an open net after Paul did all the hard work by eluding a couple defenders and rounding Mattis.

Central FC, will now look ahead to Tuesday’s rescheduled league encounter with defending champion Defence Force at the same venue. In Friday’s early contest, Stars got a 27th minute penalty conversion from the speedy Kennedy Hinkson in a narrow 1-0 win over Rangers, a similar score as in their first round meeting.

The penalty was awarded by referee Cecile Hinds after Rangers defender Jair Edwards brought down Neil Mitchell inside the 18-yard box and Hinkson made no mistake from the spot by rifling his right-footed effort past goalkeeper Terrence Lewis.

Teams

Point Fortin Civic: 1.Marvin Phillip; 8.Steven Joseph, 5.Andre Ettienne (captain), 4.Weslie John, 17.Glen Sutton; 7.Nickcolson Thomas; 8.Kariym Balthazar (29.Kevin Rouse 46th), 19.Andrei Pacheco, 18.Akeem Redhead; 10.Marcus Joseph, 11.Andre Toussaint.

Unused substitutes: 22.Akini Adams (GK), 21.Andre Alexis, 23.Kelvin Hernandez, 27.Jarred Bennet, 30.Akiniyel Rouse, 33.Jamille Boatswain.

Coach: Reynold Carrington

Caledonia AIA: 1.Shemel Louison; 12.Kareem Joseph, 5.Akeem Thomas, 3.Nuru Muhammad, 2.Aubrey David; 7.Stephen David (captain), 21.Densill Theobald; 19.Nical Stephens (18.Denron Frederick 84), 17.Akim Armstrong (16.Tyrone Charles), 20.Noel Williams (10.Ralph Lundy Jr 87th); 9.Keyon Edwards.

Unused substitutes: 34.Kevin Graham (GK), 6.Marcus Ambrose, 8.Keron Bethelmy, 22.Jameel Neptune.

Coach: Jamaal Shabazz

Referee: Gordon Maloney

RESULTS

Yesterday

Pt Fortin Civic 2 (Marcus Joseph 66th, 79th) vs Caledonia AIA 1 (Noel Williams 8th)

Friday

North East Stars 1 (Kennedy Hinkson 27th pen) vs St Ann’s Rangers 0

Central FC 4 (Willis Plaza 59th, 90th, Samuel Delice 5th, Jason Marcano 45th) vs Jabloteh 1 (Bradley Welch 55th).

RELATED NEWS

‘Venomous’ Joseph strikes again as Point Fortin slice Connection’s lead
ttproleague.com.


MAHAICA OVAL, Point Fortin – Local sensation Marcus Joseph scored a second half double on Saturday to lift Point Fortin Civic to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over visiting Caledonia AIA.

The Round Two Match Day Eight result improved Civic’s position in second with 26 points, while slicing the once very-healthy Digicel Pro League lead of W Connection down to 7 points. The “Savonnetta Boys” with a game in hand are with 33 points.

Joseph, now 11 goals at the top of the 2013/2014 league goal-scorers’ list, levelled the scores 1-1 in the 66th minute with a laser finish off the left boot that defeated goalkeeper Shemel Louison.

Caledonia defensive midfielder and captain Stephan David was quickly caged by two opponents in the middle and lost the ball, which was eventually played forward to Joseph, and the 22-year-old was clinical.

“The first goal we gave up trying to play in our style so I can’t blame the skipper,” said Caledonia assistant coach Jerry Moe following the game. “He made a mistake in trying to play in Caledonia style and it happens.”

Caledonia were leading 1-0 in as early as the 8th minute when Noel Williams climbed inside the area to head right-back Kareem Joseph’s cross into goalkeeper Marvin Phillip’s far netting.

Nical Stevens then tried his luck in the 24th minute but was blanked by Phillip.

Phillip, Trinidad and Tobago’s second choice goalkeeper, was lucky not to concede again in the 32nd minute when goal-scorer Williams wasted wide with the Civic goalie at his mercy, after controlling a neat ball over the top by Akim Armstrong.

Some of the estimated 500-plus Point Fortin fans were still making their way into the Mahaica Oval when a M. Joseph cross slammed onto the frame and caused a bit of scare for Louison seconds before the break.

Civic head coach Reynold Carrington was forced to slightly alter tactically following the break, and also replaced the worn-out legs of his step-son Kariym Balthazar, and later got the two important items.

M. Joseph, still on a high following his 66th minute equalising item, turned away neatly from defender Nuru Abdullah Muhammad inside the area in the 79th minute and swung his venomous left boot to hit past Louison for a 2-1 advantage.

“The game was pretty tough and I knew I had to score to bring the team were we wanted to be,” Joseph said. “I’m accustomed scoring plenty goals, so I kept doing what I needed to do in order to reach where I am. Coach knows I can score goals so he puts me there.”

“Our players doubted themselves a little in the first half,” explained Carrington. “…but the break worked in our favour. We made a change in the half because we were allowing their wingbacks too much room to come in our midfield and play. We made the adjustment and it paid off.

“I always know that you would concede goals, but when you concede it early it’s a plus. We conceded early and our players were able to adjust, knowing that we had time on the clock to turn it around. That happened today for us.”

Carrington added that the victory was very significant in his team’s fight top position on the million-dollar league title.

“We want to keep the pressure on,” he said. “Winning today cut Connection’s lead to seven. We are in second, so we have to think about first (position). We can’t think about third and fourth.”

Commenting on Joseph’s recent form, the Civic coach said, “Marcus is now starting to believe in himself a little more. He is working harder off the ball and the players have that confidence in him. It took him some time for catch form but I think he is in the right place now.”

Moe, who admitted that the result is damaging to the fifth positioned-Caledonia’s ambition of a top-two finish this season, said, “Definitely we are going to have to find a way to turn it around because we want to do better on the collective movement offensively and defensively.

Players need to make the decision based on what the gamedemands. In training it’s a controlled environment. In games they aren’t stepping up and take responsibility. Every player is waiting on the other to step up.”

Six minutes inside the second period, Caledonia forward Keyon Edwards fumble at the edge of the six yard area cost his side a good scoring opportunity, while 21-year-old Nical Stevens followed up with three efforts but just couldn’t find the back of the net.

Stevens tested Phillip from outside the area in the 55th minute and was denied by the Civic goalie, and a minute later the midfielder miscued Aubrey David's cross for a tame wide effort.

Stevens’ tried again in the 81st minute, with time and space at his disposal, from the top of the area but sliced substitute Tyrone Charles’ low cross wide.

“It’s a typical situation in what has been happening all season,” a disappointed Moe explained.

“We have been playing well at times. We are getting the chances and not scoring them. And we are giving up easy ones. Typically we weren’t doing enough. We weren’t doing enough defensively and offensively. And when you play that way, you will have problems. Not even set pieces we were doing well today.”

Results

Point Fortin Civic 2—1 Caledonia AIA
Marcus Joseph 66', 79' ;  Noel Williams 8'

Teams

Point Fortin Civic—1. Marvin Phillip, 8. Steven Joseph, 4. Weslie John, 5. Andre Ettienne (C), 17. Glen Sutton, 18. Akeem Redhead, 7. Nickcolson Thomas, 35. Kariym Balthazar (29. Kevin Rouse 46th), 19. Andrei Pacheco, 11. Andre Toussaint, 10. Marcus Joseph

Unused substitutes—22. Akini Adams (GK), 27. Jarred Bennet, 33. Jamille Boatswain, 23. Kelvin Hernandez, 21. Andre Alexis, 30. Akiniyel Rouse

Coach—Reynold Carrington

Caledonia AIA—1. Shemel Louison, 7. Stephan David (C), 3. Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, 2. Aubrey David, 12. Kareem Joseph, 19. Nical Stephens (18. Denron Frederick 83rd), 20. Noel Williams (10. Ralph Lundy 86th), 21. Densill Theobald, 9. Keyon Edwards, 5. Akeem Thomas, 17. Akim Armstrong (16. Tyrone Charles 75th)

Unused substitutes—34. Kevin Graham (GK), 6. Marcus Ambrose, 22. Jameel Neptune, 8. Keron Bethelmy

Coach—Jamaal Shabazz

Marcus sets the marker for Civic; Point downs Caledonia
By Lasana Liburd (Wired868)


“My form is now starting to come,” said Point Fortin Civic attacker Marcus Joseph. “I’m accustomed to scoring plenty goals… (I feel like) it can score anytime I shoot.”

Caledonia AIA led Civic 1-0 at halftime today and seemed to be cruising towards three points and second place in the Pro League standings. But then Joseph removed the safety from his left boot and it was not the same thereafter.

“I believe that winning is an attitude,” said Civic coach Reynold Carrington, as he explained the self-belief that now flows through his squad.

It was only half the story, though. Today’s contest, which was Civic’s third straight home win, was as much about tactics as it was tenacity.

Civic started using a 4-4-2 system with a diamond-shaped midfield that asked the right and left side midfielders to pull wide when the home team was in possession and tuck narrow while defending.

Caledonia countered with a 4-2-3-1 formation that used Akim Armstrong as the offensive midfielder just ahead of the holding pair of captain Stephan David and veteran national playmaker Densill Theobald.

When defending, Civic could not close Caledonia’s passing triangles down quickly. And, once in possession, Carrington requested two of his midfield four to play as orthodox wingers.

So, right midfielder Kariym Balthazar, Carrington’s stepson, would do shuttle runs trying to close down Caledonia’s wall pass specialists, David and Theobald. And, when Civic took possession, would then sprint outside to try and outmanoeuvre the mobile pair of Noel Williams and Aubrey David.

It seemed to be asking for trouble and Williams obliged the hosts with the opening goal in the eighth minute with an imperious header into the corner off a right side Kareem Joseph cross.

It might have been 2-0 in the 24th minute but for a flying Marvin Phillip save, which denied busy Caledonia midfielder Nical Stephens. And then Caledonia really should have scored in the 31st minute as Armstrong released Williams with a simple pass over the top but the utility player stabbed wide.

Steven Joseph hit the upright for Civic, just before the interval, but it was a misplaced cross and Caledonia supporters might not have been overly concerned at the break.

Caledonia was still the most dangerous team at the start of the second half. Stephens created a chance for Keyon Edwards that the striker could not take in the 52nd minute before the young midfielder forced Phillip into a good low save in the 55th minute.

But Carrington had adjusted tactically by then as Civic changed its focus from the flanks to central midfield.

In the 66th minute, David made a heavy touch in central midfield and, in a flash, the ball was stolen from his toes and relayed upfront to Joseph who calmly steered to the left of Caledonia goalkeeper Shemel Louison.

Five minutes later, an errant Theobald pass almost produced a similar result but, on this occasion, Louison was a fraction quicker to the through ball than Joseph.

But Joseph completed the job in the 79th minute when collected a cross on top of the opposing area from his namesake, Joseph (S), and slapped a brilliant effort past Louison at his near post to settle the match while Muhammed stood off.

“Today is a significant victory,” said Carrington, “because it cuts Connection’s lead to seven points.”

It was a bold statement considering that Civic is just four points ahead of third placed North East Stars and the latter team played one game less.

“We want to look at the top not the bottom,” said Carrington, with a smile.

Joseph has allowed himself a personal target as well. But it is a case of who not what.

“I want to be on the field against Argentina,” said Joseph. “So far, coach (Stephen Hart) has used me mainly on the left but this is my best position (through the centre).”

Thus far, Joseph has played five times for the senior international team. Shabazz gave him two caps while he was a lower league player and Hart used him three times in the midst of his run of eight league games with one goal.

Perhaps the Civic attacker would give a better account of himself now.

Since the 2013 Gold Cup, Hart has used Kevin Molino, Willis Plaza and Ataullah Guerra alongside striker Kenwyne Jones. Joevin Jones has auditioned for the part too with a series of quality performances for DIRECTV W Connection.

Add Joseph’s name to the list of applicants; and his CV, which boasts of 10 goals in his last six games, cannot be easily overlooked.

Civic intends on chasing Connection; Joseph wants to share the stage with Lionel Messi.

Point Fortin is clearly living the dream these days.

(Teams)

Point Fortin Civic (4-1-3-2): 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 8.Steven Joseph, 5.Andre Ettienne (captain), 4.Weslie John, 17.Glen Sutton; 7.Nickcolson Thomas; 8.Kariym Balthazar (29.Kevin Rouse 46), 19.Andrei Pacheco, 18.Akeem Redhead; 10.Marcus Joseph, 11.Andre Toussaint.

Unused substitutes: 22.Akini Adams (GK), 21.Andre Alexis, 23.Kelvin Hernandez, 27.Jarred Bennet, 30.Akiniyel Rouse, 33.Jamille Boatswain.

Coach: Reynold Carrington

Caledonia AIA (4-2-3-1): 1.Shemel Louison (GK); 12.Kareem Joseph, 5.Akeem Thomas, 3.Nuru Muhammad, 2.Aubrey David; 7.Stephen David (captain), 21.Densill Theobald; 19.Nical Stephens (18.Denron Frederick 84), 17.Akim Armstrong (16.Tyrone Charles), 20.Noel Williams (10.Ralph Lundy Jr 87); 9.Keyon Edwards.

Unused substitutes: 34.Kevin Graham (GK), 6.Marcus Ambrose, 8.Keron Bethelmy, 22.Jameel Neptune.

Coach: Jamaal Shabazz

Referee: Gordon Maloney

Pro League results

(Fri Feb 14)

North East Stars 1 (Kennedy Hinkson 27 pen), St Ann’s Rangers 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;

*–Seventh clean sheet

Central FC 4 (Samuel Delice 5, Jason Marcano 45, Willis Plaza 61, 90+), San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Bradley Welsh 56) at Ato Boldon Stadium;

(Sat Feb 15)

Point Fortin Civic 2 (Marcus Joseph 66, 79), Caledonia AIA 1 (Noel Williams 8.) at Mahaica Oval

Upcoming fixture

(Tue Feb 18)

Central FC vs Defence Force, 6 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium