Marcus Joseph has evidently found his scoring boots since the January departure of Trinidad and Tobago forward Willis Plaza from Central FC to El Salvador Premier Division outfit Alianza FC.
Joseph, who scored in a 7-0 win over Civic on Jan. 15 in Couva, has now scored in six consecutive games for the “Couva Sharks” who are unbeaten in 12 straight games and sit at the Digicel Pro League summit with 43 points and their most recent feat of six consecutive wins.
Joseph put the Dale Saunders coached-Central ahead on 14 minutes from the penalty spot before cushioning the visitors by the 54th minute with his ninth goal for the year—six goals more than his 2015/16 season tally before the Christmas break. Joseph has scored 12 league goals this season.
Central completed their scoring, and fourth win against Civic in all competitions this season, in the third minute of stoppage-time through full-back Kevon Villaroel before Glenn Sutton grabbed the consolation item for the home side two minutes later.
Civic continue to occupy ninth-position, tied on 16 points with seventh-positioned Morvant Caledonia United who are against San Juan Jabloteh from 4pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Wednesday.
Defence Force, four points behind in second on the standings and four points clear of W Connection who are against Police FC from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Wednesday, kept pace with Central after narrowly defeating cellar-positioned St. Ann’s Rangers 2-1 in the first game of a double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday.
Devorn Jorsling, last season’s league top scorer and the Pro League’s all-time leading scorer, snatched the Defence Force winner in the 75th minute after latching onto perfectly placed feed from midfielder Hashim Arcia before slipping the ball past an advancing St. Ann’s Rangers goalkeeper Stefan Berkeley.
Coach Marvin Gordon’s side had taken the lead on 38 minutes when Ross Russell Jr.’s cross was met by an unmarked Kellon Serrette who directed the ball past Berkeley from close range.
But Rangers, an improved side with the additions of such players as former San Juan Jabloteh, Central FC and North East stars midfielder Johan Peltier and former North East Stars winger Jomoul Francois in the recent transfer window, had nullified the score ten minutes into the second half through utility player Jameel Antoine who found the top far corner of goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke’s with a textbook strike from just inside the area.
Rangers, in search of the go-ahead goal, had a shout for penalty after Kadeem Hutchinson went down to a Curtis Gonzales challenge in the 64th minute but, to the surprise of many, referee Dennis Changiah awarded the winger a yellow card for simulation.
Defence Force too, would later consider themselves unlucky after having two penalty shouts waved away by Changiah.
In the first instance Defence Force substitute forward Richard Roy, who early curled an Arcia cross wide of goal, was upended by goalkeeper Berkeley in the 86th minute. Two minutes later another substitute, Kerry Joseph, took a tumble in the area during a run towards goal when he was tackled by Rangers substitute defender Kareem Baptiste.
In the second game at the Couva venue, Trinidad and Tobago 2006 FIFA World Cup member Anthony Wolfe and overlooked T&T forward Kerry Baptiste both scored their first goals since returning to North East Stars in the January/February transfer window to earn Ross Russell’s side a hard-fought 2-1 win over Club Sando, while snapping a seven-game winless slide by the Sangre Grande club.
The 32-year-old Wolfe, who had stints in India with Churchill Brothers and Sporting Goa in the last two seasons, rounded Sando’s Grenada national team goalkeeper Jason Belfon to fire North East Stars ahead in the 10th-minute after being picked out by midfielder Kerry Daniel.
It was not until ten minutes from time that Sando forward and captain Jesse Downing equalised for the home side. Downing, who failed to make contact to an effort by Kevon Woodley in front of goal moments earlier, redeemed himself from close up after goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel was only able to tame an effort from substitute Rickson Phillip.
But in the 89th-minute the 34-year-old Kerry Baptiste rolled back the clock with the game-winner to the delight of coach Russell and, especially, his latest signings in goalkeeper Samuel, Daniel, Wolfe (A), Baptiste and Ryan Stewart among others.
Goalkeeper Belfon, who had denied Baptiste on three earlier occasions, was unable to keep grip on the former Toyota/TT Pro League Player of the Year’s strike at the bottom corner and the ball entered his net.
Baptiste had a great opportunity to complete a double in stoppage-time but directed his attempt wide off a rebound after substitute Chike Sullivan low strike struck the Sando far upright.
North East Stars remain sixth on the standings, now with 26 points, six clear of seventh-positioned Sando and one point behind fifth-positioned Police FC.
Point Fortin Civic 1 (Glenn Sutton 90’+5) vs Central FC 3 (Marcus Joseph 16’ penalty, 54’, Kevon Villaroel 90’3), at Mahaica Oval;
St. Ann’s Rangers 1 (Jameel Antoine 55’) vs Defence Force 2 (Kellon Serrette 38’, Devorn Jorsling 75’), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Club Sando 1 (Jesse Downing 80’) vs North East Stars 2 (Anthony Wolfe 10’, Kerry Baptiste 89’), at Ato Boldon Stadium.
St. Ann’s Rangers: 1.Stefan Berkeley; 2.Shakiyl Phillip, 7.Sedale Mc Lean, 9.Keron Cornwall, 10.Johan Peltier (Capt.), 13.Jeromie Williams, 16.Richard Williams, 17.Kadeem Hutchinson, 18.Trevin Latapy (27.Kareem Baptiste 85th minute), 29.Jameel Antoine, 31.Jomoul Francois (15.Anselm Jackson 74th minute)
Unused substitutes: 22.Christopher Biggette (GK)
Coach: Angus Eve
Defence Force: 25.Sheldon Clarke; 2.Glynn Franklyn, 3.Jamali Garcia, 4.Dave Long (23.Kerry Joseph 66th minute), 8.Curtis Gonzales, 9.Devorn Jorsling, 10.Hashim Arcia, 13.Marvin Jones, 16.Kellon Serette (26.Richard Roy 74th minute), 17.Ross Russell Jr., 99.Jerwyn Balthazar
Unused substitutes: 1.Andre Marchan (GK), 6.Rodell Elcock, 7.Jelani Felix, 21.Aklie Edwards, 27.Levi Serries
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Match Referee: Dennis Changiah
Club Sando: 1.Jason Belfon; 3.Shanon Phillip, 4.Moron Phillip (13.Kern Cupid 64th minute), 6.Kemuel Rivers, 7.Akeem Humphrey, 9.Jesse Downing (Capt.), 15.Amrit Gildharry, 16.Kevon Woodley (20.Rickson Phillip 73 minute), 17.Jared London, 22.Corneal Thomas, 24.Devon Modeste (35.Bradley Nestor 58th minute)
Unused substitutes: 12.Jack Weedon, 19.Ryan Frederick, 26.Shaquille Holder, 34.Kelvin Henry (GK)
Coach: Anthony Streete
North East Stars: 32.Glenroy Samuel; 3.Kion Joseph, 5.Ryan Stewart (14.Chike Sullivan 82nd minute), 7.Kerry Daniel (8.Anthony Guppy 68th minute), 19.Glenton Wolfe (9.Gorean Highley 77th minute), 21.Neil Mitchell, 25.Keryn Navarro (Capt.), 26.Anthony Wolfe, 29.Hakim Baird, 40.Kerry Baptiste, 2.Reon Moore
Unused substitutes: 4.Jesus Perez, 6.Jean-Luc Rochford, 22.Cleon John (GK), 24.Adrian Noel
Coach: Ross Russell
Match Referee: Keilon Bacchus