W Connection were in top form on Sunday, annihilating North East Stars 7-0 in a lopsided affair at the Larry Gomes Stadium, and in the process eclipsing a 7-1 performance they achieved against Point Fortin Civic on January 19.
The win improved Connection's hold on third place on the Digicel Pro League 2015/16 standings with 29 points, three points off leaders Defence Force (32 points) and one point behind second-place and defending champions Central FC (31 points). While North East Stars, now winless in their last four outings, remain fifth with 22 points—one less than fourth-place San Juan Jabloteh (23 points).
Conversely, Sunday's result was the Sangre Grande based North East Stars biggest league defeat of the season since a 6-1 loss to Defence Force on December 19 under previous coach Roland Clarke.
Defence Force holds the biggest league win of the season with an 8-0 victory over Morvant Caledonia United on January 8, equalling North East Stars result over Super League side Siparia Spurs in the preliminary round of this season’s Toyota Classic on November 4, 2015.
Although now led by two-time Defence Force Pro League-winning coach Ross Russell and former Dundee United and 2006 Trinidad and Tobago attacker Collin Samuel as assistant coach, North East Stars failed to put up resistance against the side that defeated them 3-0 in both Round One of the league and in the quarter-final round of the Toyota Classic this season.
Jomal Williams fired the Savonetta Boys ahead on 14 minutes by beating Stars’ second choice goalie Shane Mattis from inside the area, while regular number one Cleon John looked on from the bench.
There was no let-up from the visitors and Surinamese international forward Apai made it 2-0 four minutes later when he fired in a Kurt Frederick cross at the back post.
Connection’s quickness in the attacking third – even without the services of Shahdon Winchester and Neil Benjamin, who are sidelined due to injury along with first choice goalie Julani Archibald – produced three more goals before the break after proving too much for the North East Stars defence.
Shannon Gomez snatched a double – his first Connection goals of the season – before the half, first firing in a Dwight Quintero feed following a flowing move by Connection on 31 minutes, then rounded defender Glenton Wolfe before slotting the ball past the Stars’ goalie in stoppage-time of the first half for a 5-0 score.
Gomez also had an assist when his cross in the 37th minute was met by Toussaint ahead of Mattis with a volley into the North East Stars net.
The veteran playmaker Toussaint taking goal tally to six goals in all competitions this season, inclusive of a goal in each of the three games against North East Stars.
Mattis was hung out to dry again by his defence after producing two saves to deny Jomal, who wrapped up his double in the 65th minute.
St. Lucia international fullback Frederick dispatched another brilliant cross beyond Mattis and Jomal, for his 10th league goal and 15th in all competitions this season, did well to get into position to head into the net for a 6-0 score.
Two minutes later Jomal and Gomez later linked up in the box before the latter provided a pass that allowed 19-year-old substitute Aikim Andrews to blast the ball into Mattis’ top corner to wrap up the 7-0 dominance.
Another Connection substitute, Jamal Charles, who replaced forward Dwight Quintero just over the hour mark, was denied by Mattis on his first touch after a defence-splitting pass from Toussaint on 77 minutes.
However Mattis and his North East Stars teammates will have the next two weeks, with the help of their coaching staff and maybe the mid-season transfer window (January 29 – February 26) to try prepare for their next game against leaders Defence Force when action resumes on the weekend of February 12-14, while W Connection will face San Juan Jabloteh.
North East Stars 0 vs W Connection 7 (Jomal Williams 14’, 65’, Dimitrie Apai 18’, Shannon Gomez 31’, 45’+2, Andre Toussaint 37’, Aikim Andrews 67’); at Larry Gomes Stadium
North East Stars: 1.Shane Mattis; 4.Jesus Perez, 19.Glenton Wolfe, 8.Neveal Hackshaw, 21.Neil Mitchell, 28.Dillon Jagasar (2.Reon Moore 46th minute), 24.Adrian Noel, 25.Keryn Navarro (Capt.), 23.Brendon Figuera, 29.Hakim Baird (27.Quincy Charles 52nd minute), 39.Taryk Sampson (41.Renaldo Francois 60th minute)
Unused substitutes: 22.Cleon John (GK), 26.Carey Brown
Coach: Ross Russell
W Connection: 1.Terrence Lewis; 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams, 5.Triston Hodge, 8.Briel Thomas, 21.Shannon Gomez, 10.Jomal Williams, 12.Dimitrie Apai (17.Aikim Andrews 62nd minute), 14.Andre Toussaint (46.Anfernee Frederick 80th minute), 19.Dwight Quintero (20.Jamal Charles 65th minute), 23.Kevon Goddard
Unused substitutes: 22.Aquelius Sylvester (GK), 4.Maurice Ford, 34.Jabari Mitchell, 35.Keston Julien
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier
Referee: Rodphin Harris