Evergreen Police FC midfielder Todd Ryan scored at the death to earn the Blues their first Pro League win in almost two months, and first league win over San Juan Jabloteh since 2015 with a 3-2 result on Sunday in a rescheduled Round One Match Day Seven fixture at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Elijah Belgrave scored one and set up another scored by Keion Wilson to cushion Richard Hood’s Lawmen within the first eight minutes before Jabloteh stormed back beyond the halfway mark of the second half with two goals in a space of four minutes scored by Nathan Lewis and substitute Sean Bonval who ended with a goal and assist.
But seconds before the final whistle in the third and final minute of stoppage-time, the 33-year-old Ryan snatched the winner to give Police a confidence booster two days before facing Defence Force in a battle-of-the-armed forces in the quarter-final round of the 2017 FA Trophy.
Police will tackle Defence Force from 6:15pm on Tuesday to complete a quarter-final day one double-header of the FA Trophy at the Hasely Crawford Stadium training field after Club Sando Moruga and Morvant Caledonia United lock horns from 4pm.
Wednesday, the HCS training field will complete the FA Trophy quarter-final round with another double-header when Point Fortin Civic face Tobago’s 1976 FC Phoenix from 4pm, and from 6:15pm Guaya United will tackle W Connection, who like Defence Force, are fresh from securing their place in the 2017 final of the First Citizens Cup.
Sunday’s rescheduled PL result, however, only saw Police (14 points), with a game in hand, hurdle Point Fortin Civic (12 points) for eighth position on the top-flight standings, three points down from Central FC and Jabloteh who are fifth and sixth respectively, and two points behind seventh-positioned Morvant Caledonia United with just three regular league games left.
Belgrave, though occupying a left full-back role, fired Police ahead with his third league goal of the season in the fifth minute when he swooped in to bury the ball into the back of Shemel Louison’s net after the Jabloteh goalie’s failure to foil an initial attempt from Kareem Freitas.
Then three minutes later Belgrave provided a left side cross for striker Keion Wilson to celebrate his first goal of the season with a simple finish past Louison for a 2-0 Police lead.
Belgrave was unlucky not to seal the win near the end when his blast from the left miraculously cannoned off the bar, and Jabloteh were also lucky not to concede when, from the resulting play, midfielder Kaashif Thomas’s strike from the top of the box flashed overbar.
Jabloteh, whose previous league loss to Police came in a 3-1 result in March 2015, had rebounded from an abysmal first half on Sunday thanks to second half changes by Keith Jeffrey, who reinforced his attack with Sean Bonval and Kadeem Hutchinson at the expense of defender De Jon Waldropt and midfielder Elijah Downy.
Lewis sliced the Jabloteh deficit in the 73rd minute with a simple finish to beat his Trinidad and Tobago national teammate, goalkeeper Adrian Foncette, off a right side Bonval cross for his third league goal and ninth in all competitions this season.
Bonval then executed a fine finish past Foncette to level the scores at 2-2 after linking brilliantly with Hutchinson inside the box. Foncette, who early in the second half had denied Lewis and Julio Noel, was unable to preserve his side’s advantage.
But Bonval would later cost his side a superb comeback win after completely missing a low Lewis cross with the goal at his mercy in the 81st minute, then three minutes later from another Lewis feed struck the side netting.
Police then sealed all three points with the 3-2 victory when deep in stoppage-time, Ryan, after latching onto a through-ball from Freitas, unleashed a low drive that beat the legs of Louison for the winner and his third league goal this season.
Police FC 3 (Elijah Belgrave 5’, Keion Wilson 8’, Todd Ryan 90’+3) vs San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Nathan Lewis 73’, Sean Bonval 77’), at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Police FC: 18.Adrian Foncette (GK) (Capt.); 3.Ryan O’Neil, 7.Kareem Perry (23.Shakuile Williams 72nd minute), 10.Kareem Freitas, 13.Dillon Kirton, 20.Elijah Belgrave, 21.Todd Ryan, 25.Kaashif Thomas, 29.Clevon Mc Fee, 32.Keion Wilson (16.Joshua Leach 59th minute), 40.Xavier Wheeler (12.Nequan Caruth 82nd minute).
Unused substitutes: 22.Theon Browne (GK); 4.Kadeem Boyce, 5.Kenaz Williams, 30.Isaiah Mc Lean.
Coach: Richard Hood
San Juan Jabloteh: 30.Shemel Louison (GK); 3.De Jon Waldropt (22.Kadeem Hutchinson 46th minute), 4.Nkosi David, 5.Shakiyl Phillip, 7.Elijah Manners, 8.Elijah Downy (17.Sean Bonval 46th minute), 11.Damian Williams (Capt.) (Yellow Card), 13.Julio Noel (Yellow Card) (19.Shawndel Augustus 73rd minute), 18.Jevon Morris, 23.Kennedy Hinkson, 27.Nathan Lewis.
Unused substitutes: 1.Javon Sample (GK); 12.Keron Bethelmy, 21.Domique Douglas.
Coach; Keith Jeffrey
Referee: CJ O’Brien
Upcoming FA Trophy 2017 Quarter Final Round
(Tuesday 7 November 2017)
Club Sando Moruga vs Morvant Caledonia United, 4pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium Training Field;
Police FC vs Defence Force, 6:15pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium Training Field.
(Wednesday 8 November 2017)
Point Fortin Civic vs 1976 FC Phoenix, 4pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium Training Field;
Guaya United vs W Connection, 6:15pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium Training Field.