Akeem Roach put in a man-of-the-match performance with two goals and an assist to lead Club Sando to a 4-2 win over Police FC at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Sunday.
With his double, the 20-year-old Roach moved to the top of Digicel Pro League 2016-17 scorers' list with 10 goals—one more than Dimitrie Apai (W Connection), Jerrel Britto (Ma Pau Stars) and Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force).
While his team, Sando, moved up a spot into fifth with 21 points, sitting ahead of, in descending order, Defence Force (20 points) and Police (16 points) with two games left.
Defence Force, however, will meet second-positioned Central FC in a rescheduled clash from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday.
Central, the two-time defending champions, picked up three vital points on Saturday without kicking a ball after bottom-placed Point Fortin Civic arrived half hour after kick-off time at the Larry Gomes Stadium. Civic, who lost by default, cited traffic problems as the reason.
Central (38 points) now two points adrift of leaders W Connection (40 points) will look to a top-of-the-table return on Tuesday in chase of becoming the first team in the history of the Pro League to win the league title three times in a row.
Meanwhile for Sando, coached by Angus Eve, a mid-table finish this term will be an improvement from last season’s seventh-placed debut finish under previous coach Anthony Streete.
Roach has shouldered the role of centre-forward for Sando in this shortened season, following stints at Defence Force and Morvant Caledonia United in the position of winger and attacking midfielder, respectively.
The 20-year-old received much criticism during his debut call-up to the Trinidad and Tobago senior team for two friendlies against Nicaragua and for Caribbean play-offs to the Concacaf Gold Cup against Suriname and Haiti under previous coach Tom Saintfiet.
But his performance up front for Sando earned him applauds as he was substituted in the 85th minute.
Roach's willingness to constantly run at defences makes him a nightmare for his opponents, and Eve, an ex-T&T international and most-capped player, surely believes the player has what it takes remain part of the national set-up.
Roach equalised twice in the first half before setting up Kevon Piper to seal the 4-2 win against Police by the 65th-minute.
Roach netted past Police goalkeeper Adrian Foncette in the 19th and 31st minutes during a keenly contested first half which saw the Lawmen took the lead twice through Jameel Perry (16th minute) and Jibri Mc David (26th minute), who was denied a second by ‘keeper Stefan Berkeley late in the second half.
Coach Richard Hood’s Police were unlucky not go in at the break with the lead after a cracker from distance by substitute Kurdell Brathwaite cannoned off Berkeley’s cross-bar in the 42nd-minute.
But the match took a sour turn for the Lawmen when Kemuel Rivers converted a penalty for Sando in the 61st-minute after defender Dexter Alleyne was adjudged to have brought down Keron Cornwall in the area.
Then four minutes later Roach squared a pass to Piper, who hit past Foncette for what turned out the final item.
Sando could have added another with 19 minutes left, but midfielder Jayson Joseph spilled overbar with Roach in excellent support.
Police FC 2 (Jameel Perry 16', Jibri Mc David 26') vs Club Sando 4 (Akeem Roach 19', 31', Kemuel Rivers 61' penalty, Kevon Piper 65'), at Larry Gomes Stadium.
Central FC 3 vs Point Fortin Civic 0, at Larry Gomes Stadium - (Central won by default)
Police FC: 18.Adrian Foncette (GK), 6.Jibri Mc David (Yellow Card), 7.Kareem Perry, 10.Kareem Freitas (Yellow Card), 15.Jameel Perry (32.Kemron Purcell 74th minute) (Yellow Card), 17.Dexter Alleyne, 19.Christon Thomas (5.Anton Hutchinson 61st minute), 20.Elijah Belgrave, 21.Todd Ryan (Capt.) (8.Kurdell Brathwaite 40th minute), 25.Kenaz Williams, 38.Nequan Caruth.
Unused substitutes: 3.Ryan O'Neil, 13.Dillon Kirton, 22.Theon Browne (GK), 39.Joshua Leach.
Coach: Richard Hood
Club Sando: 1.Stefan Berkeley (GK), 5.Nical Stephens, 6.Kemuel Rivers, 7.Akeem Humphrey (Capt.) (11.Joel Kevin Lewis 90th minute), 8.Kevon Piper, 9.Keron Cornwall (19.Joel Leslie Russell 75th minute), 13.Akeem Roach (10.Shaquille Holder 85th minute), 17.Jared London, 18.Trevin Latapy, 23.Nicholas Thomas, 27.Jayson Joseph.
Unused substitutes: 12.Michael Basdeo, 14.Andy London, 16.Anderson Toussaint, 34.Kelvin Henry (GK).
Coach: Angus Eve
Referee: Kevin Smart