Jalani Felix snatched his first professional double on Saturday to complete a comprehensive 4-0 North East Stars’ Pro League win against his ex-club, Defence Force, at the Arima Velodrome.
Felix arrived off the bench to score twice in a space of five minutes after Akeem Garcia and Yohance Marshall had scored on either side of the break against a Defence Force side which had defender Marvin Jones sent off due to a second yellow card with four minutes left.
Elsewhere on Saturday, veteran Kareem Joseph had an even quicker double, netting in the 88th and 89th minutes to lift Morvant Caledonia United to 2-1 come-from-behind win over neighbouring rivals San Juan Jabloteh at the Barataria Oval after Sean Bonval had given the hosts the lead on 11 minutes
Morvant Caledonia (16 points), with their third straight Pro League win and fifth in all competitions moved two spots up the ladder into fourth—ahead of Defence Force by a point.
But the victory in Arima meant North East Stars (27 points) moved four points ahead of second-positioned W Connection (23 points) at the top 2017 Pro League standings.
It also stretched the Stars’ current run of form in all competitions to five straight wins and seven undefeated while simultaneously extending the Derek King-coached outfit’s undefeated run at the iconic Arima sporting venue to six games from as many this season.
Connection, though, can narrow the gap at the top of the 2017 PL standings to previous one point when they host third-positioned Club Sando today (Sunday) from 3:30pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.
The Stars, however, does not seem a side willing to let up any time soon, especially with their last two league games ending with impressive results, including the 6-0 win over three-time defending champions Central FC on Sep. 22.
King’s men took a 1-0 lead on 22 minutes against the Army/Coast Guard combination when Garcia swooped in to bury a right side Kishun Seecharan cross which goalkeeper Andre Marchan failed to grip on the wet Saturday afternoon.
Marchan, who denied Seecharan and Jameel Neptune on later tries, was unable to keep out a powerful header by Marshall, who climbed in the Defence Force box to meet a right side Seecharan corner for his debut Stars’ goal in the 57th minute.
Marchan brilliantly matched a Rundell Winchester strike ten minutes later, but the Defence Force goalie was hung out to dry again by his defence and substitute Felix, only three minutes on, controlled neatly into the box before hitting low into the back of the visitors net for a 3-0 score in the 78th minute.
Felix then lashed home his second five minutes later for his third league goal of the season and fourth in all competitions to complete the 4-0 victory over Defence Force, whose five-game undefeated run in all competitions came to a halt.
North East Stars 4 (Akeem Garcia 22’, Yohance Marshall 57’, Jalani Garcia 78’, 83’) vs Defence Force 0, Arima Velodrome;
San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Sean Bonval 11’) vs Morvant Caledonia United 2 (Kareem Joseph 88’, 89’), at Barataria Oval;
North East Stars: 1.Jesse Peters (GK); 2.Keston George, 5.Julius James (Yellow Card), 7.Kishun Seecharan (19.Jalani Felix 73rd minute), 11.Rundell Winchester, 12.Elton John (Capt.), 18.Densill Theobald, 20.Yohance Marshall, 21.Kevon Goddard (Yellow Card) (10.Duane Muckette 86th minute), 22.Jameel Antoine, 23.Akeem Garcia (13.Kyle Bartholomew 79th minute).
Unused substitutes: 30.Akel Clarke (GK); 4.Kerry Baptiste, 6.Anslem Jackson, 17.Kordell Samuel.
Coach: Derek King
Defence Force FC: 1.Andre Marchan (GK); 2.Glynn Franklyn (16.Kellon Serrette 60th minute), 3.Jamali Garcia, 4.Dave Long (8.Christopher Durity 74th), 9.Devorn Jorsling, 10.Hashim Arcia, 12.Jemel Sebro (32.Jameel Cooper 72nd minute), 13.Marvin Jones (Yellow Card), 18.Reon Moore, 26.Justin Garcia (Yellow Card), 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (Capt.).
Unused substitutes: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK); 5.Jerome Mc Intyre, 22.Jelani John, 45.Dylon King.
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Referee: Kwinsi Williams