Kerry Baptiste continued his sensational goal-scoring form on Saturday evening, netting a pair as Joe Public edged Defence Force 2-1 in a Digicel Pro League’s Big Six Round Three Match Day Three encounter, at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
The Big Six features the top six teams after Round Two of the season, with the squads battling for both the Big Six and the overall league crown.
The Joe Public captain and striker, who notched a double as Trinidad and Tobago drew 2-2 against Mexico on Wednesday, returned to the League stage on Saturday and extended his season’s tally to 33, with goals in the third and tenth minutes.
Defence Force, on the heels of their win, over Joe Public, in the First Citizens Cup final on October 2, suffered their third straight loss, despite a consolation item from Kevon Carter in the 45th.
Despite their calamitous displays in the CONCACAF Champions League, San Juan Jabloteh swapped places with Caledonia AIA for second spot after a 2-1 win in their meeting, (Jabloteh’s second in three days), at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima.
Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 defender Sheldon Bateau (12th) and player/assistant coach Travis Mulraine (24th) were the goal-getters for Jabloteh while Jameel Perry (31st) pulled one back for AIA.
In the Big Six category, W Connection remained atop that standings, even though they were held to a goal-less draw by Ma Pau at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya.
Due to the delay in the league, courtesy of the international break, both teams were noticeably rusty, but W Connection were incensed when their pleas to referee Gregory Lewis, for an 18th minute penalty, was denied. Striker Jonathan Frias was subsequently booked for diving, to his surprise, after a challenge from goalkeeper Shane Mattis.
Midfielder Igor Santos collected a pass from Frias and drilled his shot over bar while national midfielder Hughtun Hector was fed a ball from Frias but his right-footed poke was denied by Mattis.
In a rare Ma Pau attack, Anthony Wolfe slipped a pass to Jason Cudjoe who failed to find the target and, early in the second half, a goal-bound Santos had his effort blanked by Mattis.
Surprisingly, former TT Brazilian-born midfielder Jose Luiz Seabra, made a return to club football – now as a player/assistant coach – as a 55th minute replacement for recent signing, Mexican striker Jose Diaz.
Hector missed a couple of excellent chances to break the deadlock, in the 61st and 64th minutes, and the game went into a lull until stoppage time, when Frias and Hector tested the Ma Pau defence and, on the other end, sub Trevin Caesar produced a fine fingertip-save from TT goalie Marvin Phillip.
Saturday’s results virtually eliminated Ma Pau and Defence Force from contention for the Pro League and Big Six titles, with only two matches remaining for either club.
There will be a rescheduled Round Three Match Day Two fixture tomorrow, with Jabloteh opposing Joe Public at Macoya, from 6 pm, in a top of the Pro League table contest.