Marcus ‘Lobo’ Joseph scored his second hat-trick of the season in all competitions as W Connection trashed bitter rivals Central FC 6-1 in the first Couva Clasico of the 2018 Pro League campaign on Saturday.
Joseph, who was denied by the frame and twice by Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Marvin Phillip in the first half of the second match of a double-header at Ato Boldon Stadium, scored his 10th, 11th and 12th goals in all competitions in the second period as Connection (9 points) recorded a third straight league win from as many matches to now lead the standings.
Joseph’s bagged his first hat-trick of the season on June 1 in a 7-1 Charity Shield win over league holders North East Stars, who, after seven straight defeats in all competitions, celebrated their best result of the campaign in the opening game of Saturday’s double-header with a late 1-1 draw with then leaders Defence Force FC.
Defence Force went ahead through an own goal credited to Lashawn Roberts after 69 minutes of brilliant goalkeeping from Glenroy Samuel kept his team in the game.
But after defender Curtis Gonzales, in a desperate effort to rescue the Tetron Boys, executed a fine piece of goalkeeping to keep out a shot from Kyle Bartholomew, the latter converted from the spot to level the game in the final minute of regular time.
Gonzales was rewarded a direct red card and his marching orders but an applause from the crowd for his heroics before Bartholomew, the only serving player from North East Stars’ league-winning team of last season, beat the elastic frame of Andre Marchan.
However what followed in the feature match, outdid expectations as Central were little match for a Connection side that welcomed the return of their head coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier who was away on international duty with the T&T Under-14s.
Adan Noel and substitute Kierron Mason both celebrated their maiden league goals for the club they joined this season, netting Connection’s first and last items against the Couva Sharks on a cold wet night which also saw T&T international Jomal Williams, with an audacious lob, put his tally at three league goals in three consecutive appearances since returning to the “Savonetta Boys” following loan stints in Mexico and Azerbaijan with Murcielagos and Zira FK, respectively.
Noel put Connection ahead after just seven minutes, beating goalkeeper Phillip at the near post after collecting a Kadeem Corbin pass which dissected the Couva Sharks’ defence.
Noel, a speedy winger who joined from Club Sando, added to his shine with an assist six minutes into the second half. Noel’s low cross from the right – at the end of a sweeping move by the Savonetta Boys – was met by Marcus Joseph who turned it past Phillip for a 2-0 cushion.
Joseph got to his double on 68 minutes to extend coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier’s men’s lead, 3-0, with a powerful finish past the Phillip off a left side cross from Jomal Williams, making his first start for the season after two appearances off the bench.
Central pulled back a goal, putting the scores at 1-3 from the penalty spot through Akim Armstrong in the 80th minute after Duane Muckette was tripped in the box by defender Triston Hodge.
Connection also had a penalty shout early on in the second half after Jomal Williams went to ground in a tangle, but it wasn’t enough to convince referee Kwinsi Williams.
Jomal Williams however got his name on the scoresheet in the 83rd minute to restore Connection’s three-goal cushion with a 4-1 score by lifting the ball over a hapless Phillip to find the back of the net after combining with Joseph in the box.
Joseph then completed his hat-trick when he bundled a right side Isaiah Garcia cross into the back of Phillip’s net to make it 5-1 before Mason completed the 6-1 romp with a rasping strike past the Central goalie after a mazy run from Jomal Williams.
Club Sando and San Juan Jabloteh were also in winners’ row on Saturday, joining Defence Force on seven points after narrow wins on Saturday over Point Fortin Civic, 1-0, and Police FC, 2-1, respectively at Mahaica Oval and Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.
Central and Connection resumes play on Tuesday against Jabloteh and Sando respectively from 6pm and 8pm in another double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium, while Defence Force will take on Police FC from 7pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium.
On Wednesday, Point Fortin Civic must travel to the Larry Gomes Stadium from 4pm against St. Ann’s Rangers while Morvant Caledonia United and North East Stars will lock horns from 7pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Results - Round 1 Match Day 3
Police FC 1 (Kurdell Brathwaite 53’ pen.) vs San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Sean Bonval 38’ pen, Jomoul Francois 56’), at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
Defence Force FC 1 (Lashawn Roberts 70’ Own Goal) vs North East Stars 1 (Kyle Bartholomew 90’ pen.), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Central FC 1 (Akim Armstrong 80’ pen.) vs W Connection 6 (Adan Noel 7’, Marcus Joseph 51’, 68’, 86’, Jomal Williams 83’, Kierron Mason 90’+3), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Point Fortin Civic 0 vs Club Sando 1 (Kemuel Rivers 88’ pen.), at Mahaica Oval.
Defence Force FC: 1.Andre Marchan (GK); 5.Jerome Mc Intyre (9.Devorn Jorsling 59th minute), 6.Rodell Elcock, 8.Brent Sam, 16.Kellon Serrette (10.Hashim Arcia 54th minute), 17.Curtis Gonzales, 19.Thurlani George (32.Jameel Cooper 54th minute), 20.Levi Serries, 21.Aklie Edwards, 45.Dylon King, 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (Capt.).
Unused substitutes: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK); 13.Marvin Jones, 15.Shaquille Bertrand, 77.Kendell Hitlal.
Coach: Marvin Gordon.
North East Stars: 1.Glenroy Samuel (GK); 2.Jabari Brathwaite, 4.Sean Bateau (Capt.), 7.Hayden Tinto, 11.Kyle Bartholomew, 13.Jankeon Alexander (23.Sherwyn Williams 79th minute), 15.Lashawn Roberts, 16.Daneil La Croix, 18.Josiah Daniel (20.Dareem Daniel 63rd minute), 19.Kerdell Sween, 22.Allister Bernard (14.Keithen Carter 74th minute).
Unused substitutes: 21.Javon Sample (GK); 5.Sowande Preito, 24.Rakim Cabie, 33.Terrell Roberts.
Coach: Zoran Vranes
Referee: Cecile Hinds
Central FC: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 8.Akim Armstrong, 10.Keron Cummings,
12.Taryk Sampson (17.Obadele Dickson 90th minute), 13.Rhondel Gibson, 27.Anthony Charles, 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 22.Jameel Neptune, 24.Duane Muckette (Capt.), 29.Kerry Baptiste (9.Jamal Gay 52nd minute), 26.Dominic Douglas (7.Hakim Baird 76th minute).
Unused substitutes: 5.Dwight Pope, 18.Densill Theobald.
Caretaker coach: Walt Noriega
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald (GK), 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams (Capt.), 5.Triston Hodge, 6.Kevon Goddard (27.Kierron Mason 76th minute), 7.Jomal Williams, 9.Kadeem Corbin, 11.Adan Noel, 19.Briel Thomas, 26.Isaiah Garcia, 99.Marcus Joseph (20.Daniel Diaz 88th minute).
Unused substitutes: 1.Aquelius Sylvester (GK); 8.Jameel Antoine, 13.Caleb Sturge, 15.Otev Lawrence, 34.Cephas St. Rose.
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier
Referee: Kwinsi Williams
(Tuesday 21 August)
Defence Force FC vs Police FC, 7pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
Central FC vs San Juan Jabloteh, 6pm at Ato Boldon Stadium;
W Connection vs Club Sando, 8pm at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Wednesday 22 August)
St. Ann’s Rangers vs Point Fortin Civic, 4pm at Larry Gomes Stadium;
Morvant Caledonia United vs North East Stars, 7pm at Hasely Crawford Stadium.