Darren Mitchell built on his opening performance by scoring twice to lift two-time defending champions Central FC to a 2-1 comeback win over Club Sando in their second Digicel Pro League game of the season on Friday night.
The victory pushed Central (2-0-0, 6 points) three spots up to occupy top of the 2016/17 standings – a position previously held by Police FC, who plays W Connection on Wednesday in their second league game of the season.
Mitchell—who scored the opener in a 2-1 win over rivals W Connection last Tuesday—first pulled the Couva Sharks level just before the hour mark, then snatched the winner in the final minute of regulation time to earn Central full points while taking his tally to 3 goals from two league outings.
Kemuel Rivers had fired Sando ahead a minute into the second half of the first game of a double-header at the Mahaica Oval with a delightful 22-yard free kick that beat the jump of the wall then goalkeeper Javon Sample for a 1-0 lead.
The Angus Eve coached-Sando came close to another item in the 56th minute when midfielder Akeem Humphrey, who headed wide after ten minutes on the best opportunity of the first half thanks to a well-placed Akeem Roach cross, hit across the face of goal.
Central, coached by Dale Saunders, responded well and in the 59th minute Mitchell made it 1-1 beating goalkeeper Stefan Berkeley off a feed from Marcus Joseph.
Sando were unlucky not to win a penalty a minute later when an effort from Jamaican midfielder Keithy Simpson struck the arm of Central substitute Kevon Villaroel.
And in the 66th minute following a foul on Kevon Piper by defender Andre Ettienne, Humphrey had another free kick from a similar position but the Sando captain struck overbar.
However disaster struck in the 90th minute for Sando—hoping to bounce back after an opening 1-0 loss against San Juan Jabloteh—when Mitchell swooped in at the goalmouth to knock the ball over the line for a 2-1 win after taking advantage on a fumble by Berkeley, who was troubled by an effort by Leston Paul.
It was a disappointing end for Berkeley, who, moments earlier, had made a double save denying a strike from Nathaniel Garcia then the follow-up effort from substitute Johan Peltier.
Point Fortin Civic, in the second game of the double-header, suffered their second defeat in as many matches after falling 2-0 against the visiting Ma Pau Stars.
Elton John opened the scoring from a free kick and former English Premier League forward Jason Scotland, in his second game back in the Pro League since 2002, completed the two-goal win on the second bite of a penalty as Ma Pau rebounded from a 5-1 opening loss against Police to rise from bottom of the standings to sixth.
Civic looked a slightly improved bunch following last week’s 3-1 defeat against Morvant Caledonia United at the same venue but fell behind at half hour when a 30-yard John free kick bounced freely beyond goalkeeper Miles Goodman after the intended target of three Ma Pau shirts including Trinidad and Tobago World Cup 2006 members Scotland and Anthony Wolfe all failed to make contact.
Little fault of Goodman, arguably the best Civic performer on the night, who had saves against another T&T World Cup 2006 member and former England Premier League full-back Carlos Edwards, Jerrel Britto and Wolfe.
Goodman also did well to keep out Scotland’s initial penalty strike in the 69th minute after Wolfe was brought down by Shevon Abraham but the Civic shot-stopper was beaten by veteran forward’s follow-up as Ma Pau celebrated a 2-0 cushion.
Civic suffered an early blow when pre-season signing Kehinde Adeshigin was brought down by a cruel tackle by Adrian Noel which tore the Nigerian forward’s sock at the ankle. Adeshigbin, a 6-foot-plus forward with excellent movement, failed to continue beyond the 43rd minute and had rushed off to hospital with a suspected fracture.
Adeshigbin’s replacement, Jamille Boatswain, had a couple looks at goal in the second half with his best forcing a save out of goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel who pushed the attempt onto the upright and out for a corner in the 79th minute.
But the best chance of pulling one back for the home side was offered to Sylvester Teesdale from the penalty spot after a handball in the box against Noel six minutes from the end. However Teesdale was denied ‘keeper Samuel who also denied the veteran forward on the follow up.
Central FC 2 (Darren Mitchell 59', 90') vs Club Sando 1 (Kemuel Rivers 46'), at Mahaica Oval;
Point Fortin Civic 0 vs Ma Pau Stars 2 (Elton John 30', Jason Scotland 69'), at Mahaica Oval.
Central FC: 1.Javon Sample (GK), 3.Keion Goodridge, 4.Andre Ettienne (Yellow Card), 5.Keston George, 6.Leston Paul, 7.Jason Marcano, 8.Sean De Silva (Yellow Card) (17.Johan Peltier 77th minute), 10.Keron Cummings (24.Kevon Villaroel 58th minute), 11.Darren Mitchell (Capt.), 19.Nathan Garcia, 99.Marcus Joseph
Unused substitutes: 2.Glenn Sutton, 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 26.Mickaeel Jem Gordon, 30.Akel Clarke (GK)
Coach: Dale Saunders
Club Sando: 1.Stefan Berkeley (GK), 5.Nical Stephens, 6.Kemuel Rivers, 7.Akeem Humphrey (Capt.), 8.Kevon Piper (21.Sharkeel Donatien 89th minute)9.Keron Cornwall, 13.Akeem Roach, 18.Trevin Latapy (11.Joel Kevin Lewis 84th minute), 19.Leslie Russell, 27.Jayson Joseph (Yellow Card) (16.Anderson Toussaint 86th minute), 29.Keithy Simpson
Unused substitutes: 15.Kaashif Thomas, 17.Jared London, 23.Nicolas Thomas, 34.Kelvin Henry
Coach: Angus Eve
Referee: Cecile Hinds
Point Fortin Civic: 22.Miles Goodman (GK), 2.Ancil Wells (Yellow Card), 23.Shaquille Stewart, 6.Shane Garraway, 8.Akeem Redhead, 9.Sylvester Teesdale, 12.Rondell Phillip, 13.Shevon Abraham, 14.Nicarlon Turton (4.Keron Neptune 62nd minute), 17.Kestwin Goolie (Yellow Card), 19.Kehinde Adeshigin (20.Jamille Boatswain 43rd minute)
Unused substitutes: 11.Shaquille Dublin, 16.Tyrell Johnson, 24.Austin Hernandez, 21.Callum Marshall (GK), 99.Tereek Joseph
Coach: Dick Furlonge
Ma Pau Stars: 22.Glenroy Samuel (GK), 2.Carlos Edwards, 8.Adrian Noel (Yellow Card), 9.Jason Scotland (6.Neil Mitchell 70th minute), 17.Hayden Tinto, 10.Jerrel Britto (14.Chike Sullivan 90th minute), 11.Elton John (Yellow Card), 19.Glenton Wolfe, 21.Neil Mitchell (12.Sayid Freitas 76th minute), 23.Anthony Wolfe (Capt.), 25.Keryn Navarro
Unused substitutes: 1.Shane Mattis (GK), 7.Kerry Daniel, 20.Quincy Charles, 16.Kareem Eastman
Referee: Kevin Charles