A hat-trick by Sedal Mc Lean for AC Port of Spain and a double from Deportivo Point Fortin's (PF)Akinola Gregory led to the improvement of both teams on the Ascension Football League standings with one game to go before the halfway stage.
AC Port of Spain moved from seventh to sixth on the table, with nine points after eight matches, following a convincing 6-1 victory over Moruga FC in the opening game of a double-header at the Arima Velodrome on Saturday evening. Gregory's brace on the otherhand, also helped the Point Fortin men complete a 4-0 win over Real West Fort United, and move from fifth to fourth on the standings with 14 points.
The Port of Spain men were cautious not to slip against the league's whipping boys, and after an exchange of attacks in the early moments, Michel Poon-Angeron connected with a glancing header from a right-side centre to put his team ahead 1-0 in the 39th minute.
Coach Walt Noriega sat anxiously with hopes of climbing the table as his team emerged from the half-time interval with only a 1-0 advantage but four minutes later, they added another to open up the floodgates. Midfielder Saeed Charles galloped onto a through ball to beat goalkeeper Kervelle Turner on his first post for a 2-0 lead.
And then Che Benny, who had been standing unmarked on the right side of the penalty area for some time, was eventually picked out with a long ball from left to right. Benny, a former national youth midfielder and futsal player, collected nicely and skipped past the challenge of the advancing Turner, before slotting the ball into an empty net.
Goal number four came in the 67th minute, courtesy of a classic display of counter-attacking football. A poorly taken free kick from Moruga's Nigel John on the left side of the penalty area was quickly cleared down the right flank for Jabari Raphael, who quickly delivered it to Benny in the centre of the field. The latter then slipped the ball inside the area for Mc Lean to hit low under the body of the goalkeeper for a 4-0 advantage.
Moruga pulled a goal back in the 74th minute courtesy of a solo effort from Atiba Charles. The skilful midfielder latched on to a loose ball on the left side of the AC Port of Spain defence, cut in between two defenders inside the area, before hitting it low to the far post for a 1-4 scoreline.
However, it did not affect the final result as Mc Lean sealed the win with goals in the 77th and 88th minutes. First, Poon-Angeron, after a driving run from left to centre, released to Raphael on the right side. Raphael, the instigator of two previous goals for his team, quickly centred for the oncoming Mc Lean to steer in.
Then, Mc Lean beat Turner from the penalty spot after earlier being brought down by Turner himself. The Moruga custodian was initially given a red card by the referee, who later reversed his decision to a yellow card instead.
In the other match, a new-look West Fort was no match for an improving Deportivo PF outfit.
Gregory opened the scoring in the fourth minute, pouncing on the rebound after goalkeeper Jacques Poon-Lewis parried a blistering drive from Isaiah Garcia. Then Gregory sent Poon-Lewis the wrong way from the penalty spot to make it 2-0 in the 37th minute.
Andrei Pacheco was given a gift by Hughton Hector who carved his way through a weak West Fort defence and allowed him the opportunity to calmly slot the ball beyond the dive of Poon-Lewis for a 3-0 scoreline. Hector, denied a goalscoring chance earlier, then drilled the final nail into the Real West Fort coffin by steering in Isaiah Garcia's right-side centre in the 74th minute.
AC Port of Spain 6 (Michel Poon Angeron 39th, Saeed Charles 49th, Che Benny 43rd, Sedal Mc Lean 67th, 77th, 88th) vs Moruga 1 (Atiba Charles 74th).
Deportivo PF 4 (Akinola Gregory 4th, 37th, Andrei Pacheco 55th, Hughton Hector 74th) vs Real West Fort 0.
7*Real West Fort*8*2*1*5*8*21*-13*7
9*Central Soccer World*7*1*1*5*6*15*-9*4