Central chew on Rangers again to extend lead

Digicel Pro League roundup: Central five points ahead after 6-1 win over Rangers; Stars, Civic and Police make upward movement while Marcus Joseph, Devorn Jorsling lead scoring

Honouring Akeem: Ancilla Dick-Adams (front row, far right), the mother of deceased former Trinidad and Tobago footballer Akeem Adams, is pictured with Digicel (Trinidad and Tobago) marketing executive Zindzi-Renee Williams (front row, second from left) and TT Pro League general secretary Julia Baptiste (front row, far left), to present winners Central FC with the Akeem Adams (Digicel Pro League Round Two) Trophy on March 3, 2015, at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya prior to kickoff against St. Ann's Rangers in Round Three Match Day One.

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Central FC's battle to keep safety of pole position in the Digicel Pro League 2014-2015 got a boost on Tuesday when the "Couva Sharks" triumphed 6-1 over cellar-placed St. Ann's Rangers at the start of the third and final round.

Central, at the summit, lead the standings with 38 points, five points clear of reigning champions and Couva-rivals DIRECTV W Connection (33 points), who they must face on Friday from 8 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

Also on Tuesday night North East Stars (29 points), Point Fortin Civic (26 points) and Police FC (20 points) each moved up a spot into third, fourth and seventh positions respectively, after posting Round Three Match Day One wins.

North East Stars defeated 10-man Defence Force 3-2 following Central’s win over Rangers at the Marvin Lee Stadium, while at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Police FC and Point Fortin Civic were comfortable 3-1 winners over Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh and Caledonia AIA respectively.

Makesi Lewis (15th minute), Clevon Mc Fee (37th minute) and Kareem Freitas (57th minute) each scored for Police while Jabloteh’s lone item came from the penalty spot through Shaquille Bertrand ten minutes from time.

In the second contest at the Couva venue Guyanese forward Purnell Schultz (20th minute) gave Caledonia the lead with his ninth league goal this season, but an equaliser by Jamille Boatswain (23rd minute), for his sixth league goal of the season, and a double by Marcus Joseph (30th and 65th minutes), with the latter from the penalty spot, earned Civic a come-from-behind victory.

Joseph, last season’s Golden Boot winner, and Defence Force’s Devorn Jorsling, the 2010-2011 winner, are now tied at the top of the 2014-2015 DPL scorers list with 11 goals, one more than W Connection’s Jerrel Britto.

Jorsling opened the scoring for Defence Force in the 45th minute, beating goalkeeper Cleon John from the penalty spot after a foul on Akeem Roach inside the box by Jesus Perez.

Referee Gyasi Mc Donald was called into action again in stoppage-time of the first half, this time against Defence Force, awarding veteran midfielder Kerry Joseph a direct red card for harsh tackle on Jeremy Williams in the centre circle.

Then five minutes inside the second half Mc Donald awarded the Stars a penalty following a handball in the box by defender Marvin Jones. Keron Cummings – the Stars instrumental player on the night – converted past goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke to tie the scores 1-1.

Jamaican utility player Keithy Simpson then gave the Sangre Grande outfit a 2-1 lead with a superb strike in the 56th minute before Cummings made it 3-1 on the 68th minute, capitalising on a poor clearance by goalkeeper Clarke when he lobbed the ball into an exposed net.

Defence Force substitute Josimar Belgrave pulled back a goal in the 73rd minute when his strike took a wicked deflection to beat goalkeeper John, but it was only enough to reduce the deficit as North East Stars held on for the win.

In fact, Defence Force were lucky not to concede later goals after Stars’ substitute Taryk Sampson was denied by the frame in the 81st and 90th minutes.

Defence Force (26 points), 7-0 winners over Rangers in their previous league match, dropped two spots into fifth, tied on points with Civic but behind on goal-difference and three points ahead of sixth positioned Jabloteh (23 points), while Caledonia (18 points) occupy eight place and Rangers remain concreted to the bottom with just one point.

And while second placed Connection were on the bye on Tuesday, Central, winners of this season's First Citizens Cup and Rawle Fletcher (Round One) and Akeem Adams (Round Two) Trophies, took the opportunity to boost their psychological and points advantage over  the "Savonetta Boys" in the DPL championship.

Leston Paul gave the Zoran Vranes-coached Central a 1-0 lead in as early as the 2nd minute. Forward Willis Plaza knocked down a left side cross into the path of Paul inside the box and midfielder let off an early half volley which took a deflection on its way to beat goalkeeper Christopher Biggette.

Biggette conceded again in the 14th minute as Central celebrated a 2-0 cushion with Jamal Jack putting over the line a rebound after the Rangers goalie made an initial save to deny Marvin Oliver.

Things got worse for Rangers when Ataulla Guerra made it 3-0 from the penalty spot in the 25th minute, hitting to the left of Biggette for his ninth league goal this season, after referee Crystal Sobers awarded the kick for a handball in the box by defender Ryan O'Neil to cut off a short cross by Paul.

Then four minutes before the break Darren Mitchell made it 4-0 when he drove the ball past Biggette from the centre of the box. Guerra had made a couple twists and turns inside the right of the area to unsettle the Rangers defence before slipping a pass to Mitchell, who made no mistake.

Rangers resumed with a change in goal, replacing Biggette with Junior Granger, after the interval but that didn't put a cork on Central's scoring.

Central, who whipped Rangers 7-0 and 4-1 in Round and Two respectively this season, added their fifth and sixth goals in the 78th and 84th minutes from Kaydion Gabriel and Marvin Oliver respectively, for a comprehensive 6-0 lead.

Gabriel scored with a cheeky finish over goalkeeper Granger after racing onto a Jack pass into the box while defender O'Neil's desperate attempt to clear the ball off the line only resulted in him getting tangled in the netting.

Four minutes later O'Neil was brilliant when he cleared substitute Dwight Quintero's 24-yard strike at the face of goal.

But there was little that goalkeeper Granger, who later made a brilliant save to deny substitute Jean-Luc Rochford, and O'Neil could have done to deny Oliver. Oliver wrapped up Central’s scoring with his eight league goal this season by heading in from close up after Jack hooked the ball across the face of goal.

However a bit of miscommunication between Oliver and former Rangers goalie Akel Clarke in the third and final minute of stoppage time on the other end, resulted in the latter providing a pass that Rangers midfielder Kennedy Isles took full advantage of by blasting into the net for the St. Ann's club consolation item.

Rangers will return to action on Friday in Round Three Match Day Two against Jabloteh from 6 pm at the Marvin Lee Stadium followed by Defence Force against Police from 8 pm, while at the Ato Boldon Stadium Point Fortin Civic will meet North East Stars from 6 pm and followed by the Couva-derby between Central FC and W Connection from 8 pm.

Digicel Pro League 2014-2015
Round Three Match Day One
Tuesday 3 March 2015
Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya
St. Ann’s Rangers 1 (Kennedy Isles 90'+3) vs Central FC 6 (Leston Paul 2', Jamal Jack 14', Ataulla Guerra 25', Darren Mitchell 41', Kaydion Gabriel 78', Marvin Oliver 84')
North East Stars 3 (Keron Cummings 51' penalty, 68', Keithy Simpson 56') vs Defence Force 2 (Devorn Jorsling 45' penalty, Josimar Belgrave 73')

Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Police FC 3 (Makesi Lewis 15', Clevon Mc Fee 37', Kareem Freitas 57') vs San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Shaquille Bertrand 80' penalty)
Caledonia AIA 1 (Purnell Schultz 20') vs Point Fortin Civic 3 (Jamille Boatswain 23', Marcus Joseph 30', 65' penalty)

Upcoming fixtures
Round Three Match Day Two
Friday 6 March 2015
Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya
San Juan Jabloteh vs St. Ann’s Rangers—6 pm
Defence Force vs Police FC—8 pm

Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Point Fortin
Point Fortin Civic vs North East Stars—6 pm
Central FC vs W Connection—8 pm

Caledonia AIA (bye)

Tuesday’s teams at the Marvin Lee Stadium
St. Ann's Rangers: 22.Christopher Biggette (GK) (1.Junior Granger 46th minute), 3.Al Davidson, 4.Jelani Peters (C), 6.Shaquille Moses, 7.Sayid Freitas, 8.Sedale Mc Lean, 9.Keron Cornwall (33.Devon Modeste 79th minute), 10.Kennedy Isles, 15.Seon Thomas (16.David Williams 11th minute), 35.Ryan O'Neil, 44.Shaquille Williams

Unused substitutes: 11.Josh Toussaint, 13.Jameel Antoine, 31.Joshua Sylvester

Coach: Jason Spence

Central FC: 30.Akel Clarke (GK), 11.Darren Mitchell, 3.Keon Goodridge, 12.Jamal Jack, 6.Leston Paul (14.Jean-Luc Rochford 57th minute), 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 33.Willis Plaza (26.Michael Yaw Darko 73rd minute), 2.Elton John, 45.Ataulla Guerra (99.Dwight Quintero 65th minute), 10.Marvin Oliver, 24.Kevon Villaroel

Unused substitutes: 1.Javon Sample (GK), 29.Upston Edwards, 32.Kern Cupid, 5.Akeem Benjamin

Coach: Zoran Vranes

North East Stars: 4.Keithy Simpson, 12.Jayson Joseph (18.Kaashif Thomas 78th minute), 15.Glenton Wolfe, 10.Keron Cummings, 22.Cleon John (GK), 25.Keryn Navarro, (42.Taryk Sampson 77th minute), 38.Jesus Perez, 41.Neveal Hackshaw, 6.Jeromie Williams (23.Kennedy Hinkson 78th minute), 5.Aquil Selby, 14.Dwane James

Unused substitutes: 1.Stefan Berkeley (GK), 3.Kareem Richardson, 7.Russell Alfred, 36.Anthony Diaz

Assistant Coach: Travis Mulraine

Defence Force: 13.Marvin Jones (16.Kellon Serrette 74th minute), 22.Jamali Garcia, 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK), 12.Jemel Sebro (10.Josimar Belgrave 61st minute), 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (26.Richard Roy 61st minute), 17.Ross Russell Jr., 11.Akeem Roach, 4.Dave Long, 9.Devorn Jorsling, 8.Curtis Gonzales, 23.Kerry Joseph (Red Card)

Unused substitutes: 28.Andre Marchan (GK), 90.Jerlani Felix, 19.Dexter Pacheco, 2.Glynn Franklyn

Coach: Marvin Gordon