Veteran Kendall Velox came out of retirement and inspired Directv North East Stars to a First Citizens Cup quarterfinal spot, the Sangre Grande team coming from behind to beat FC SouthEnd 2-1, at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, on Saturday night.
The former St Vincent and the Grenadines midfielder played in Trinidad and Tobago for 14 years, starting in 1996 with Caledonia AIA. He also had stints with Joe Public and Stars, before returning to AIA for what was supposed to be his final season, last year. But, on Saturday night, 39-year-old Velox showed he still had the touches to play at Pro League level, if not the speed.
Velox forced an own goal which brought Stars level at 1-1 just eight minutes before the end of regulation time. And in the final seconds of the three minutes added-on period, Jamaican striker Sean Fraser got the winner when side-footing a slipped pass from another veteran, Gary Glasgow. Game, set and match. What a dramatic way to end the tie.
An improved-looking SouthEnd took the lead early in the second half, Larry Bacchus meeting a Kelvin Modeste cross with a powerful header from the top of the six-metre box in the 46th minute. Southend had a couple opportunities to extend the lead, before North East Stars fought back to win.
Stars could have taken the lead in the 22nd minute. Akeil Guevara had FC SouthEnd keeper Aquelius Sylvester at his mercy when at the end of a curling cross. But the left-midfielder took two touches, then attempted a chip which went too close to Sylvester, who gathered the ball in with his fingertips. Fraser also came close to scoring in the first half, the Jamaican forcing the keeper to dive at his feet in the 43rd. And later, Guevara hit the top of the net with an ambitious long-range effort.
Stars brought on Velox after half hour, as a replacement for injured left winger Kevaughn Connell. With the veteran on the field, there was improvement in the middle for Stars.
SouthEnd, though, took a shock lead, giving their chief cook and bottle washer Anthony Rougier something to cheer about on the sidelines. Rougier, a former and Trinidad and Tobago captain and English professional, looked the likely victor, as his team were creating havoc while trying to get a second goal.
At the other end of the pitch, Velox attempted to pull North East back with a shot from the right which Sylvester pushed for a corner. But otherwise, SouthEnd remained dogged in defence, until Velox created some magic from the left side, curling the ball across the face of the goal. SouthEnd defender Anderson Morrison was so busy keeping Fraser from getting to the pass that he inadvertently put the ball in for an own goal.
A rejuvenated Stars then launched into full attack.
Fraser looked to have thrown away the Stars winner when striking the right upright from an angle in the 90th minute, but just when a penalty shootout looked imminent, Glasgow delivered a pass inside the penalty area, from where Fraser could not miss.
North East Stars—Michael Woods, Charles Pollard (capt.), Keryn Navarro, Marc Leslie, Akeil Guevara, Kevaughn Connell (Kendall Velox 30th), Sean Fraser, Randolph Jerome (Gary Glasgow 46th), Glenton Wolfe, Jeromie Williams (Yellow), Oba Burgess (Kaydion Gabriel 84th).
FC SouthEnd—Aquelius Sylvester, Anthony Haynes (capt.) (Yellow), Troy Moses (Yellow) (Weslie John 87th), Aubrey David (Yellow), Dexter Alleyne, Larry Bacchus, Eddison Smart, Jimmeal Huyghue (Yellow), Anderson Morrison, Kenrick-Amare Ettienne, Kelvin Modeste.
Technical Director—Anthony Rougier.
Fraser sends Stars into quarters.
By: Nigel Simon (T&T Guardian).
Jamaican Sean Fraser was the hero for DirecTV North East Stars as his 93rd minute goal secured a 2-1 win over FC SouthEnd in their First Citizens Cup qualifying round match at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya on Saturday night.
The Sangre Grande-based Stars went into the clash as heavy favourites to win the qualifying round encounter, having defeated South End by similar 3-0 margins in both the League and Lucozade Sports Goal Shield qualifying round so far this season.
However, South End which defeated Police 2-1 in its qualifier playoff on September 3 also at Macoya proved to be a tougher opponent than expected.
After a goalless first-half, SouthEnd took a 48th-minute lead through midfielder Larry Bacchus. Ten minutes from the end, Stars persistence brought reward when a Kendall Velox left sided cross skidded off the surface and deflected off South End defender Anderson Morrison and past his goalkeeper Aquelius Sylvester, to even up the score at 1-1.
Just as it seemed the match would go into penalty-kicks, Fraser snatched a winner for Stars when he collected a pass from Gary Glasgow and fired into an open goal, to secure a quarterfinal date with bmobile Joe Public.
St Ann’s Rangers were previously carded to play in the qualifying round against Tobago United, but a decision by the T&T Pro League board of directors on Thursday to expel the Tobagonians from the League because of financial difficulties faced by the club, granted Rangers an automatic spot in the last eight against title-holder, Defence Force.
The Ross Russell-coached Defence Force, also a winner in 2002 and Joe Public were two of the six teams to qualify automatically for the quarterfinal round based on its position on the Digicel Pro League table at the end of the Round One, Match Day 11.
The others are W Connection, Ma Pau, San Juan Jabloteh and Caledonia AIA, in that order. In the other quarterfinal matches, six-time tournament winner, W Connection, the only other club apart from Defence Force to capture the title, will meet Caledonia AIA and Ma Pau faces San Juan Jabloteh.
The quarterfinal round of matches will be played on October 1 and 2 with the semifinals set for October 15 and the final, eight days later. The champion team will collect $80,000, an increase of $15,000 from last year while the runner-up gets $20,000, $10,000 less than last year. In addition, $1,000 each will be awarded to the tournament’s winning coach, most valuable player and the top goalscorer.
Venue: Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya:
NE Stars 2 (Anderson Morrison 80th o.g, Sean Fraser 90+3) vs FC SouthEnd 1 (Larry Bacchus 48th)
• October 1&2: Quarterfinals
Defence Force vs Rangers—(A)
Joe Public vs NE Stars—(B)
W Connection vs Caledonia—(C)
MaPau vs Jabloteh —(D)
• October 15: Semifinals
A vs D
B vs C
• October 23: Final