Four-time former champions San Juan Jabloteh are breathing in the air at the top for the first time in a very long time, after a narrow 1-0 win over Pro League holders North East Stars at Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar on Tuesday.
The victory -- Jabloteh’s first after six attempts in all competitions this season -- lifted the Keith Jeffrey-coached San Juan Kings top of the standings with 4 points from two games.
Sean Bonval’s strike off a rebound in the 76th minute proved decisive against a North East Stars side bottom of the standings and now with seven losses from as many games in all competitions this season.
But Jabloteh’s stay at the top will undoubtedly be short-lived with W Connection, Central FC, Defence Force FC and Club Sando all tied on three points and in action on Wednesday (today).
Sando and Connection are against Central and Police FC, respectively from 6pm and 8pm at Ato Boldon Stadium, while Defence Force takes on St. Ann’s Rangers from 7pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Also on Tuesday, Point Fortin Civic (2 points) registered a second consecutive draw after two league games, holding visiting Morvant Caledonia United (1 point) to a 2-2 draw at Mahaica Oval.
Richard Williams put Morvant Caledonia ahead after just three minutes with his maiden goal for the Eastern Stallions, but Malik Mieres had to level the visitors two minutes into the second half for a 2-2 draw after Nion Lammy (30) and Hughtun Hector (38) had equalized for and put the hosts ahead before the break, respectively.
Morvant Caledonia, still in search for a league will resume play on August 22 against North East Stars, a completely new side headed by a new management and staff and a bunch of players under development this season - nothing from the bunch that won the league last season under Derek King.
Bonval struck midway through the second half, but it was Jaydon Prowell, only four minutes onto the pitch against the side he started the season with, forced Samuel into a diving save. Samuel spooned the ball out as far as Bonval at the back post, and the Jabloteh winger made no mistake.
Moments earlier, Jomoul Francois, who had two attempts in the smothered in the first half, drilled a huge scoring chance just wide of the goalkeeper Samuel’s upright after controlling inside the box when substitute Elijah Manners delivered a delightful cross.
Prowell, who rolled an attempt wide in stoppage time, had earlier provided danger again for North East Stars with a right side pass into the box, but an audacious flick attempt by scorer Bonval, then a lunging attempt by Francois both were unable to find the back of Samuel’s net.
Samuel made sure of North East Stars smallest defeat of the season with a point blank save with the legs to deny Jabloteh right-back Travis Joseph, who was played in on goal by a deep diagonal feed from substitute Nical Stephens who replaced an injured Kareem Eastman after just 18 minutes.
Hayden Tinto was close to putting North East Stars ahead on 20 minutes when he drilled a low effort through a crowd and only missed Shemel Louison’s far upright by inches.
Lashawn Roberts had the chance of rescuing North East Stars to a draw in stoppage time, but the substitute failed avoid his side a seventh straight loss in all competitions by directing a cross off target at the back post.
Pro League 2018
Round 1 Match Day 2 results
(Tuesday 14 August)
North East Stars 0 vs San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Sean Bonval 76’), at Larry Gomes Stadium;
Point Fortin Civic 2 (Nion Lammy 30’, Hughtun Hector 38’) vs Morvant Caledonia United 2 (Richard Williams 3’, Malik Mieres 47’), at Mahaica Oval.
Upcoming Round 1 Match Day 2 fixtures
(Wednesday 15 August)
Club Sando vs Central FC, 6pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
W Connection vs Police FC, 8pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Defence Force FC vs St. Ann’s Rangers, 7pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Teams at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Tuesday
North East Stars: 1. Glenroy Samuel (GK); 2. Jabari Brathwaite, 4. Sean Bateau (Capt.), 7. Hayden Tinto, 11. Kyle Bartholomew, 13. Jankeon Alexander, 16. Daneil La Croix (15. Lashawn Roberts 79th minute), 18. Josiah Daniel, 19. Kerdell Sween, 22. Allister Bernard (8. Saleem Henry 65th minute), 24. Rakim Cabie
Unused substitutes: 21. Javon Sample (GK); 5. Sowande Preito, 20. Dareem Daniel, 23. Sherwyn Williams, 33. Terrell Roberts
Coach: Zoran Vranes
San Juan Jabloteh: 30. Shemel Louison (GK); 3. Travis Joseph, 10. Jomoul Francois, 12. Keron Bethelmy, 13. Kristoff John (7. Elijah Manners 59th minute), 16. Jamal Spencer, 17. Sean Bonval, 18. Jevon Morris, 19. Joel Lewis (9. Jaydon Prowell 72nd minute), 20. Elton John (Capt.), 24. Kareem Eastman (4. Nical Stephens 19th minute).
Unused substitutes: 1. Christopher Biggette (GK); 2. Nicholai Orr, 11. Kishon Havkshaw, 15. Dellon Jagessar.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
Match Referee: Kwinsi Williams
SOURCE: T&T Pro League