W Connection, still fresh from last week’s embarrassing defeat at Mexico’s Pumas UNAM in the Concacaf Champions League, unleashed all their fury on unsuspecting opponents as 10-man Point Fortin Civic were trashed 7-0 at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
The result lifted Connection -- now tied on 7 points with St. Ann’s Rangers -- four spots up the Digicel Pro League standings into third, that’s two spots down from leaders Central FC (12 points), who edged Morvant Caledonia United 2-1 in the second game of Tuesday’s double-header at the Couva venue to maintain their 100 per cent record after four league games.
Winger Neil Benjamin Jr. grabbed an uninterrupted hat-trick while Dimitrie Apai, Andre Toussaint, Gerard Williams and Daniel Diaz each had a goal for Connection as cellar-placed Civic conceded the heaviest DPL defeat of the season to date.
Remember the expression: when it rains, it pours? This was exactly the case for Civic, who, a week ago had held Police to a draw, but on Tuesday night were brought crashing down to earth by Connection.
Civic’s defence were caught flat twice by former player Andre Toussaint who provided the telling passes for Suriname forward Dimitrie Apai and Benjamin to score past goalkeeper Miles Goodman in the 23rd and 37th minutes, respectively.
Connection were 2-0 up while Civic’s best chance of a possible comeback, striker Jamile Boatswain (hamstring), was replaced injured just beyond the half hour mark.
The problems of Civic coach and Point Fortin legend Dick Furlonge quickly raged on after his side were reduced to 10 men two minutes after Connection’s second goal.
Defender Ancil Wells saw a straight red out of referee Kevin Smart’s pocket after appearing to elbow opposing defender Ronell Paul, who joined Connection from Civic this season.
Two minutes from the break, Benjamin got to his second after beating a hapless Goodman to send Connection 3-0 at the half. Toussaint, involved again, squared a pass to the right to find 20-year-old Diaz, one of a handful of new signings by Connection this season, in the middle of the Civic half, and the diminutive attacker instinctively fed Benjamin through towards the box.
Picking up where he left off, Benjamin completed his hat-trick -- surpassing his league tally of last season -- for a 4-0 Connection cushion with a cool finish into a vacant net nine minutes into the second period after rounding Goodman following a measured pass behind the Civic defence by St. Lucia international Kurt Frederick.
Goodman, who did rescue Civic at times, was hung out to dry multiple more times against a side returning home from an 8-1 trashing at Pumas after struggling to cope at altitude 2000 metres above sea level in their final game of the 2016/17 CONCACAF Champions League group stage.
Toussaint, who was denied by the frame in the first half, fittingly added his name to the scoresheet to put Connection 5-0 on 64 minutes, hitting into the back of the net from close up on a second bite after his initial attempt rebounded off the crossbar.
Gerard Williams sent Goodman the wrong way in the 82nd minute to convert Connection’s sixth goal (6-0) from the penalty spot after defender Shevon Abraham was adjudged to have brought down substitute Shaquille Bertrand inside the area.
Then Diaz, who terrorised Civic non-stop, redeemed himself after an earlier miss to complete the 7-0 romp two minutes from time by scoring his second goal of the season off Goodman’s upright following a dazzling run and combine with Benjamin.
Central, like Connection, entered Tuesday’s game on the heels of a disappointing exit at the Concacaf Champions League following last week’s 4-1 defeat at Sporting Kansas City, but the “Couva Sharks” faced Morvant Caledonia United—a side desperate to shake off a 4-2 home defeat against San Juan Jabloteh.
However, first half goals by Jason Marcano and Marcus Joseph, kept Central perfect at the summit despite Morvant Caledonia trimming the deficit in stoppage-time of the first period through World Cup 2006 midfielder Densill Theobald.
Morvant Caledonia matched Central for speed early on with both sides denied by big saves from Trinidad and Tobago national team shot-stoppers Marvin Phillip and Jan-Michael Williams on either end.
Williams superbly put behind a Seon Thomas header on 7 minutes to deny Morvant Caledonia and ten minutes later Phillip, in a one-on-one on the opposite end, denied Joseph (M) who attempted to chip the visiting custodian.
Joseph (M) was denied again when Morvant Caledonia’s Ghanaian defender Maestro Mensah got his leg in the way of the Central forward’s goal-bound attempt.
But from the resulting corner, Marcano swooped in to meet Joseph (M)’s kick, hitting past Phillip for a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute.
Joseph (M) finally found the back of Morvant Caledonia’s net on 38 minutes to put Central at a 2-0 cushion. Picked out by a pass out of the back by Andre Ettiene, Joseph (M) exchanged a pass with Keron Cummings before blasting into the far bottom corner of Phillip’s net.
Central, however, failed to clear a dangerous Jameel Neptune cross and Densill Theobald reduced the visitors’ deficit 1-2 by rifling low into the net two minutes from the break.
The second half saw Central enjoy the better share of some enterprising plays but no further goals, other than a disallowed Marcano finish, were produced.
Williams, on either side of the break, preserved Central’s narrow lead with saves to deny Kareem Joseph free-kick attempts, while Sheldon Holder, with the best chance for an equaliser for the visitors, flopped his attempt wide from inside the six-yard area in the 72nd minute following a right side move by Akim Armstrong.
On the other end Central substitute Nathaniel Garica and Marcano were both denied by Phillip in separate plays, before Marcano finally had the ball in the back of the net again in stoppage-time but no goal ruled the referee, before signalling a handball against the “Couva Sharks” attacker.
Connection and Central will return to play on Friday against Defence Force and Ma Pau Stars, respectively, in the first of two Round One Match Day Five double-headers on the weekend at the Mahaica Oval, which will come alive again on Sunday when Club Sando face Morvant Caledonia United and hosts Point Fortin Civic entertain St. Ann’s Rangers.
Round One Match Day Five will later culminate at the Ato Boldon Stadium next Tuesday with Police FC facing San Juan Jabloteh.
Digicel Pro League 2016/17
Full Round One Match Day Four results
(Tuesday Oct. 25, 2016)
W Connection 7 (Dimitrie Apai 23’, Neil Benjamin Jr. 37’, 43’, 54’, Andre Toussaint 64’, Gerard Williams 82’ penalty, Daniel Diaz 88’) vs Point Fortin Civic 0, at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Central FC 2 (Jason Marcano 27’, Marcus Joseph 38’) vs Morvant Caledonia United 1 (Densill Theobald 43’), at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Sunday Oct. 23, 2016)
San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Jamal Gay 76’) vs Ma Pau Stars 0, at Barataria Recreation Ground.
(Friday Oct. 21, 2016)
Club Sando 3 (Keithy Simpson 53’, Akeem Roach 78’, Akeem Humphrey 85’) vs Defence Force 2 (Hashim Arcia 25’, Sean Narcis 45’+), at the Ato Boldon Stadium;
St. Ann’s Rangers 2 (Dylon King 32’, Marvin Lee 90’+) vs Police FC 0, at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Digicel Pro League 2016/17
Round One Match Day Five
(Friday Oct. 28, 2016)
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
W Connection vs Defence Force—6pm
Central FC vs Ma Pau Stars—8pm
(Sunday Oct. 30, 2016)
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
Club Sando vs Morvant Caledonia United—4pm
Point Fortin Civic vs St. Ann’s Rangers—6:30pm
(Tuesday Nov. 1, 2016)
Ato Boldon Stadium
Police FC vs San Juan Jabloteh—6pm
Teams at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald (GK), 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams (Capt.), 8.Briel Thomas (16.Alvin Jones 71st minute), 10.Dimitrie Apai (26.Shaquille Bertrand 62nd minute), 11.Neil Benjamin Jr., 14.Andre Toussaint (46.Anfernee Frederick 65th minute), 21.Ronell Paul (Yellow Card), 23.Kevon Goddard, 27.Jelani Peters, 37.Daniel Diaz.
Unused substitutes: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 9.Shackiel Henry, 20.Jamal Charles, 30.Shaquille John.
Coach: Stuart Charles Fevrier
Point Fortin Civic: 22.Miles Goodman (GK), 2.Ancil Wells, 6.Shane Garraway, 8.Akeem Redhead, 9.Sylvester Teesdale, 11.Shaquille Dublin, 12.Rondell Phillip (99.Tereek Joseph 73rd minute), 13.Shevon Abraham, 16.Tyrell Johnson, 20.Jamille Boatswain (17.Kestwin Goolie 33rd minute), 23.Shaquille Stewart (14.Nicarlon Turton 46th minute).
Unused substitutes: 3.Kurfri Pierre, 4.Keron Neptune, 21.Callum Marshall (GK), 40.Tevin Moore (GK).
Coach: Dick Furlonge
Referee: Kevin Smart
Assistant Referee 1: Ainsley Rochard
Assistant Referee 2: Kyle Carabon
Fourth Official: Dave Daniel
Central FC: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 3.Keion Goodridge, 4.Andre Ettienne, 5.Keston George (15.Kaydion Gabriel 51st minute), 6.Leston Paul, 7.Jason Marcano, 8.Sean De Silva, 10.Keron Cummings (17.Johan Peltier 87th minute), 11.Darren Mitchell (Capt.) (19.Nathaniel Garcia 71st minute), 24.Kevon Villaroel, 99.Marcus Joseph.
Unused substitutes: 1.Javon Sample (GK), 16.Kadeem Corbin, 26.Mickaeel Jem Gordon.
Coach: Dale Saunders
Morvant Caledonia United: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK) (Yellow Card), 5.Seon Thomas (Yellow Card), 6.Taje Commissiong, 10.Sheldon Holder (Yellow Card) (11.Dominic Douglas 82nd minute), 12.Kareem Joseph, 16.Amos Ramsay, 17.Akim Armstrong (Yellow Card), 18.Maestro Mensah, 21.Densill Theobald, 22.Jameel Neptune, 23.Lester Joseph (8.Anthony Charles 89th minute).
Unused substitutes: 2.Kevin Layne, 13.Jordan Devonish, 14.Keron Bethelmy, 30.Stephon Seepersad (GK).
Coach: Rajesh Latchoo
Referee: Keilon Bacchus
Assistant Referee 1: Caleb Wales
Assistant Referee 2: Oladele Thomas
Fourth Official: Joel Cox