Even with a new name, a revamped squad, and the return of marquee player Densill Theobald, Morvant Caledonia United (MCU) kicked off their 2015-2016 campaign with a loss, while neighbouring rivals Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh joined defending Digicel Pro League champions Central FC and North East Stars in winners’ row on the weekend.
Both players were among six former MCU players in coach Keith Jeffrey’s starting Jabloteh line-up in the Round One Match Day One fixture of the Digicel Pro League.
While MCU, with Theobald, the 33-year-old Trinidad and Tobago 2006 World Cup player returning home following a stint in India with Royal Wahingdoh last season, was still short of inspiration against the class-act of Edwards.
The 31-year-old Edwards, who represented MCU up till last season, put the hurt on his former employers in the 27th minute when he volleyed past goalkeeper Marvin Phillip from a left side cross swung in by wingback and captain Damien Williams of Jamaica.
That first half lead, however, was short-lived.
Only two minutes later MCU veteran Kareem Joseph, occupying left-midfield instead of his usual full right-back, weaved his way past three defenders to find Sheldon Holder in the box and the Guyana international made no mistake in hitting past his former Cale’ club-mate and Grenada national team goalie, Shemel Louison to tie the scores 1-1.
But Louison was part of the happier side at the final whistle thanks to an 80th minute headed goal by 26-year-old Charles for a 2-1 Jabloteh win.
Charles, who had represented MCU in 2013-2014, capitalised on poor defending at the back-post. The former Central FC, St. Ann’s Rangers and North East Stars player met a deep Kennedy Hinkson free-kick to head past Phillip, who joined MCU in pre-season from Point Fortin Civic.
Jabloteh, winners of last season’s Toyota Classic and sixth-placed DPL finishers, had more looks on goal than their opponents but forward Jamal Gay, another former MCU signing, failed to trouble Phillip on three separate occasions and an earlier Charles’ free-kick flew just overbar.
Other former MCU players clad in the Jabloteh green were Nathan Lewis and Aquil Selby. They are among newcomers Ramone Mc Gregor, Ricardo Harriott, Jerome Mc Intyre, Hinkson and unused substitute Jordan Devonish.
While some new additions at last season’s second-from-bottom, MCU, includes Canadian-born brothers Daniel and Anthony Whyte, the latter in goalkeeping, Ronaldo Bailey (Barbados), Ordell Flemming (St. Kitts & Nevis), Otev Lawrence (St Lucia), Eugine Kirwan (Antigua & Barbuda), Jamaal Harvey (Guyana), Gregory President (St. Lucia), former Rangers midfielder Kennedy Isles (St. Kitts & Nevis) and former Defence Force winger Akeem Roach.
On Friday night at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Rangers held Defence Force to a 1-1 draw; the same result last season’s runners-up W Connection were held by on Saturday against Police at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.
Also on Saturday, North East Stars defeated DPL newcomers, Club Sando, 2-0 at the Larry Gomes Stadium and Central overcame a physical contest to defeat Point Fortin Civic 3-0 at Mahaica Oval.
Now all ten Pro League clubs will turn their focus on the 2015 First Citizens Cup which will be launched on Monday 28 September to reveal the qualifier match-ups and quarterfinal round.
Central are two-time defending First Citizens Cup champions. The title was one of four major trophies – seven overall – captured by the "Couva Sharks" last season.
Morvant Caledonia United 1 (Sheldon Holder 29’) vs San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Keyon Edwards 27’, Tyrone Charles 80’)
Morvant Caledonia United: 1.Marvin Phillip; 18.Akeem Roach, 21.Densill Theobald, 24.Gregory President (20.Jamaal Harvey 52nd), 22.Jameel Neptune, 12.Kareem Joseph (capt.), 8.Kareem Knights (28.Purnell Schultz 84th), 16.Ordell Flemming, 15.Otev Lawrence, 3.Ronaldo Bailey, 10.Sheldon Holder (14.Kennedy Isles 65th)
Unused substitutes: 30.Anthony Whyte (GK), 5.Daniel Whyte, 23.Shaquille Edwards, 2.Shomari Antoine
Technical Director: Jamaal Shabazz; Coach: Jerry Moe
San Juan Jabloteh: 30.Shemel Louison; 10.Tyrone Charles, 8.Keyon Edwards (6.Ramone Mc Gregor 84th), 7.Jamal Gay (13.Fabian Reid), 23.Kennedy Hinkson, 27.Nathan Lewis, 15.Jerome Mc Intyre, 18.Jevon Morris, 24.Adrian Reid, 21.Aquil Selby, 11.Damian Williams (capt.) (5.Ricardo Harriott 82nd)
Unused substitutes: 36.Raheem Belgrave (GK), 12.Jordan Devonish, 22.Caleb Sturge, 16.Kaashif Thomas
Coach: Keith Jeffrey