Kenwyne Jones scored twice on his first -- and possibly the only -- competitive match in his hometown of Point Fortin when he helped two-time defending Digicel Pro League champions Central FC return to the top of the standings with a 4-1 comeback win over hosts Civic on Saturday at Mahaica Oval.
Nickcolson “Ice” Thomas had given the cellar-placed Civic a deserving lead from the penalty spot, but Central were superior in their finishing with Jones netting on either side of the break, separated by a Marcus Joseph strike, before Leston Paul completed the rout from the penalty spot in injury time.
“It’s nothing different [to score twice],” said the 32-year-old Jones, who is from Sobo Village in Point Fortin, as he played down the double scored in his hometown. “It’s just about helping the team keep the momentum.”
Central are unbeaten in the league with six wins and one draw but will be without the services of the Trinidad and Tobago captain, Jones, with his loan agreement expiring in late December. Jones will later link up with new Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise Atlanta United in January.
Saturday’s victory returned Central, with 19 points, at the summit after temporarily slipping second to Connection (16 points), who went ahead by a superior goal-difference after defeating Morvant Caledonia 3-1 on Friday.
Central, also four points clear of third-placed San Juan Jabloteh who will host mid-table St. Ann’s Rangers in Barataria today (Sunday), will maintain their status at the top, at least for the next week with Connection returning to play against Jabloteh on Friday Nov. 25 in Santa Cruz.
Defence Force, also in action on Saturday, edged Ma Pau Stars 1-0 thanks to a second half Devorn Jorsling goal in the first game of the Mahaica Oval double-header.
Jorsling, who was guilty of missing the target on an excellent scoring opportunity forty seconds into the game of wasted chances by both sides, made amends in the 65th-minute to earn coach Marvin Gordon’s side their first league win since a 2-1 result over Jabloteh on Oct. 9.
Defence Force moved up two spots into seventh and are tied on 7 points with sixth-positioned Club Sando, who defeated Police FC 2-1 on Friday, while Ma Pau and St. Ann’s Rangers are ahead, each on 10 points, in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Stars’ keeper Glenroy Samuel had brilliantly measured Jorsling’s free-kick. But from the resulting corner swung in by Jerwyn Balthazar, Justin Garcia headed to Jorsling, who hooked a left-footed strike past Samuel from close up for his third league goal and eighth in all competitions this season.
Defence Force enjoyed better fluidity but unlike Jorsling, Aklie Edwards, Balthazar, Curtis Gonzales and Thurlani George were all unable to make up for wasted chances of their own.
Ma Pau, equipped with two-time Defence Force league-winning coach Ross Russell and former army players Carlos Edwards and Jason Scotland, were left ruing missed chances.
Jerrel Britto had struck the army upright on the hour mark and Neil Gibson Mitchell was denied twice by keeper Andre Marchan early in the second half. Stars substitute Kerry Daniel botched a chance to score on his first touch. But Kerry Baptiste’s hit overbar at the goalmouth in the 73rd minute stood the most disappointing of them all.
Also ending the night in disappointment were Civic, who sit at the bottom with just one point, with their improved showing marred by missed chances and defensive lapses.
Nickcolson Thomas, a veteran midfielder, added lift to coach Dick Furlong’s side in a rare appearance this season and gave the hosts a 1-0 lead from the spot on 16 minutes by beating goalkeeper Akel Clarke after Akeem Redhead was brought down inside the area by Mickaeel Jem Gordon.
Civic could have taken the lead moments earlier after Thomas played a pass over the top to put Sylvester Teesdale through on goal. But the veteran forward hit wide with Clarke at his mercy.
Civic would then lose the lead in the 36th-minute when Point Fortin-born Kenwyne Jones headed past Miles Goodman to level the score 1-1. The former Sunderland, Stoke City and Cardiff City forward went up unchallenged to connect with a Johan Peltier cross and made up for an earlier header which cannoned off the crossbar.
Another local hero, Marcus Joseph, who had three earlier attempts, then gave the visiting Central a 2-1 lead four minutes from the half after unleashing a left-footed strike beyond Goodman for his fourth league goal this term.
Goodman, who pushed over a Keron Cummings free kick five minutes from the half, was beaten again by Jones in the 59th minute as Central opened the gap 3-1. Jones controlled Mickaeel Jem Gordon’s cross behind the Civic defence before firing past Goodman for his third league goal in just two DPL appearances for the Couva Sharks.
Leston Paul wrapped up the 4-1 Central win in the third and final minute of stoppage-time when he wrong-sided Goodman from the spot after he was brought down in the area by Redhead.
Perhaps frustration had overflowed on the part of Redhead, who had, two minutes before, hit overbar at point-blank range off a Thomas free kick in a play that should have produced another Civic goal.
Early in the second half Redhead and Thomas had tries which flew overbar, before the latter forced Clarke into a save in the 67th minute. And ten minutes later defender Kerron Gaskin hammed an effort against the upright.
Following the match, Civic team administrator Lyndon Cave said his improving team showed good “fight” but paid the price of defeat by not taking their chances. He said Central are a winning team and showed that by converting their chances.
Digicel Pro League 2016-2017
Round One Match Day Seven results
(Friday, November 18, 2016)
W Connection 3 (Andre Toussaint 3’, Hughtun Hector 27’, Briel Thomas 44’) vs Morvant Caledonia United 1 (Seon Thomas 89’), at Naparima College Ground, San Fernando;
Club Sando 2 (Kevon Piper 19’, Akeem Humphrey 64’) vs Police FC 1 (Kenaz Williams 42’), at Naparima College Ground, San Fernando.
(Saturday, November 19, 2016)
Ma Pau Stars 0 vs Defence Force 1 (Devorn Jorsling 65’), at Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin;
Point Fortin Civic 1 (Nickcolson Thomas 16’ pen.) vs Central FC 4 (Kenwyne Jones 36’, 59’ Marcus Joseph 41’, Leston Paul 90’+3 pen.), at Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin.
Round One Match Day Seven
(Sunday, November 20, 2016)
Barataria Recreation Ground, Barataria
San Juan Jabloteh vs St. Ann’s Rangers—4pm
Round One Match Day Eight
(Tuesday, November 22, 2016)
Ato Boldon Stadium
Ma Pau Stars vs Morvant Caledonia United—6pm
Defence Force vs Police FC—8pm
(Friday, November 25, 2016)
Santa Cruz Recreation Ground
San Juan Jabloteh vs W Connection—6pm
(Tuesday, November 29, 2016)
Ato Boldon Stadium
Club Sando vs Point Fortin Civic—6pm
Central FC vs St. Ann’s Rangers—8pm
Teams at Mahaica Oval on Saturday
Ma Pau Stars: 22.Glenroy Samuel (GK), 2.Carlos Edwards (Capt.), 4.Kerry Baptiste (6.Neil Gerard Mitchell 79th minute), 5.Taryk Sampson, 9.Jason Scotland (7.Kerry Daniel 68th minute), 10.Jerrel Britto, 11.Elton John, 17.Hayden Tinto (Yellow Card), 19.Glenton Wolffe, 21.Neil Gibson Mitchell (12.Sayid Freitas 88th minute), 25.Keryn Navarro.
Unused substitutes: 1.Shane Mattis (GK), 8.Adrian Noel, 16.Kareem Eastman, 20.Quincy Charles.
Coach: Ross Russell
Defence Force: 1.Andre Marchan (GK), 3.Jamali Garcia, 8.Christopher Durity (37.Cassim Kellar 80th minute), 9.Devorn Jorsling, 13.Marvin Jones, 14.Darryl Trim (Yellow Card) (10.Hashim Arcia 59th minute), 17.Curtis Gonzales (Yellow Card), 19.Thurlani George (33.Kevin Carter 90th minute), 21.Aklie Edwards, 26.Justin Garcia, 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (Capt.) (Yellow Card).
Unused substitutes: 5.Devin Jordan, 6.Rodell Elcock, 22.Anthony Charles, 35.Tirek George.
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Referee: Gyasi Mc Donald
Assistant Referee 1: Johann Corneille
Assistant Referee 2: Cerezo De Boulet
Fourth Official: Cecile Hinds
Point Fortin Civic: 22.Miles Goodman (GK), 3.Kufri Pierre (2.Ancil Wells 60th minute), 6.Shane Garraway, 7.Nickcolson Thomas, 8.Akeem Redhead (Yellow Card), 9.Sylvester Teesdale, 11.Shaquille Dublin, 12.Rondell Phillip, 17.Kestwin Goolie (4.Keron Neptune 80th minute), 33.Kerron Gaskin, 99.Tereek Joseph (32.Nestor Miguel Ruiz Salazar 89th minute).
Unused substitutes: 30.Mario Jose Romero Marvin, 40.Tevin Moore (GK).
Coach: Dick Furlonge
Central FC: 30.Akel Clarke (GK), 3.Keion Goodridge, 6.Leston Paul, 9.Kenwyne Jones, 10.Keron Cummings (12.Kishun Seecharan 70th minute), 11.Darren Mitchell (Capt.) (18.Rondell Gibson 80th minute), 17.Johan Peltier, 19.Nathaniel Garcia, 24.Kevon Villaroel, 26.Mickaeel Jem Gordon, 99.Marcus Joseph (8.Sean De Silva 63rd minute).
Unused substitutes: 1.Javon Sample (GK), 5.Keston George, 14.Nicholas Dillon, 16.Kadeem Corbin.
Coach: Dale Saunders
Referee: Rodphin Harris
Assistant Referee 1: Oladele Thomas
Assistant Referee 2: Ainsley Rochard
Fourth Official: Joel Cox