Christon Thomas lifts Police into lead; Connection return to winning ways as Rawle Fletcher Trophy intensifies

Police FC utility player Christon Thomas (centre) unleashes a strike during his team's Toyota Classic quarter-final round clash with Central FC on Oct. 18, 2015.

Saturday 18 December 2015

Police FC heads into the Christmas break on a three-game winning streak after defeating cellar-positioned Club Sando 2-0 in the first game of a double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on Friday night.

Utility player Christon Thomas grabbed both goals for Police, scoring on either side of the break, putting his individual tally to 3 goals in the last two games while demonstrating his worth in the role of wide attacking midfielder.

Thomas, often used as a wingback or fullback, scored the second goal in Police’s 6-1 league win over St. Ann’s Rangers on Wednesday night while forward Makesi Lewis grabbed a hat-trick.

But on Friday night, Thomas stole the show with well-executed strike in the 24th minute and completed his double in the 89th minute when his deflected strike left goalie Kelvin Henry beaten a second time as Sando recorded a fifth consecutive loss in all competitions and winless at the bottom of the Digicel Pro League (DPL) standings with just one point.

While the win for Police, propelled coach Richard Hood’s Lawmen up three spots into the DPL 2015-16 lead with 15 points—just one point ahead of Defence Force (14 points), who must face North East Stars (13 points) from 4 pm on today (Saturday) at the Hasely Crawford Stadium before heading into the two-week break.

The race to win the Rawle Fletcher Trophy – awarded to the top team after Round One in the DPL – intensified further by the end of last night’s Couva double-header.

W Connection, who had their 13-game undefeated run in all competitions snapped by a 2-0 loss against Defence Force on Tuesday, returned to winning ways by defeating San Juan Jabloteh 2-0 at the Couva venue.

Jomal Williams put the Stuart Charles-Fevrier coached-Connection ahead four minutes before the break, before Shahdon Winchester redeemed himself with a goal on the hour mark after earlier missing a penalty and follow-up strike.

W Connection midfielder Jomal Williams (airborne) celebrates with teammate Kurt Frederick after scoring against Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa in the group stage of the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League on Sep. 16, 2015.

The result thrusted Connection three spots up the ladder into third with 13 points as Jabloteh and North East Stars, in descending order.

Last season's Rawle Fletcher Trophy winners' Central FC are sixth with 11 points, one point ahead of Point Fortin Civic, and will take on ninth-positioned Morvant Caledonia United from 3:30 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium today (Saturday).

Jomal failed to put Connection ahead from the 28th minute when, unchallenged in the Jabloteh area, he directed a header just wide of goal after Aikim Andrews supplied the perfect cross.

However Jomal redeemed himself in the 41st minute by scoring his 10th goal in all competitions this season.

Gerard Williams had evaded two Jabloteh shirts before threading a telling pass from midfield and Jomal latched onto the pass inside the box before finishing low past goalkeeper Shemel Louison for a 1-0 lead.

Jabloteh found themselves in trouble in the 55th minute when referee Gordon Maloney awarded Connection a penalty after attacker Dimitrie Apai was brought down in the box by defender Aquil Selby.

However Louison, Grenada national team goalkeeper, pulled off back-to-back saves denying Winchester’s kick from the spot then the rebound effort from the Connection forward.

But on the 60th minute Winchester, who also curled an effort inches wide in the 30th minute, redeemed himself when he hooked an Apai cross beyond Louison and into the net for a 2-0 Connection cushion and his 8th goal in all competitions this season.

Jabloteh mounted continuous attacks with coach Keith Jeffrey even trading midfielders Fabian Reid and Keyon Edwards and fullback Caleb Sturge for forwards Nathan Lewis, Brent Sam and Jordan Devonish, respectively, in the second period, but Connection second choice goalkeeper Terrence Lewis was at the top of his game in preserving a clean sheet.

Lewis, who tipped behind a Reid (F) attempt in the 24th minute, made a superb one-handed save ten minutes from time to deny Jabloteh forward Jamal Gay, who should have done better off Sam’s cross.

Sam was earlier denied by Lewis and also struck wide in separate plays just a minute after entering the pitch in the 57th minute.

Lewis had the last say thwarting Gay on two bites of the cherry in the 87 minute from close up after initially blocking out a Tyrone Charles effort.

Digicel Pro League 2015-16
Today’s (Saturday) Round One Match Day Eight games
Larry Gomes Stadium
Morvant Caledonia United vs Central FC—3:30 pm

Hasely Crawford Stadium
Defence Force vs North East Stars—4 pm
St. Ann’s Rangers vs Point Fortin Civic—6 pm

Friday’s Round One Match Day Eight results
Club Sando 0 vs Police FC 2 (Christon Thomas 24’, 89’); at the Ato Boldon Stadium

W Connection 2 (Jomal Williams 41’, Shahdon Winchester 60’) vs San Juan Jabloteh 0; at the Ato Boldon Stadium

Teams at the Ato Boldon Stadium
Game One
Club Sando: 6.Kemuel Rivers, 7.Akeem Humphrey (Capt.), 8.Jeromie Williams, 9.Jesse Downing, 15.Amrit Gildharry, 17.Jared London, 24.Devon Modeste (16.Kevon Woodley 75th minute), 19.Ryan Frederick (10.Kevon Neaves 72nd minute), 21.Kerron Mitchell, 22.Corneal Thomas, 34.Kelvin Henry (GK)

Unused substitutes: 5.Devon Drayton, 33.Alexei Julien (GK), 13.Kern Cupid, 18.Shane Hospidales, 26.Shaquille Holder

Coach: Anthony Streete

Police FC: 4.Karlon Murray, 6.Jibri Mc David, 8.Kurdell Brathwaite, 9.Makesi Lewis (15.Jameel Perry 85th minute), 10.Kareem Freitas (16.Keon Wilson 62nd minute), 17.Dexter Alleyne, 1.Adrian Foncette (GK), 19.Christon Thomas, 20.Elijah Belgrave, 12.Kevin Lewis,18.Dylon King (14.Kaaron Foster 78 minute)

Unused substitutes: 13.Ricardo Peltier, 22.Keinol Paul (GK), 7.Clevon Mc Fee, 3.Kadeem Boyce

Coach: Richard Hood

Referee: Keilon Bacchus

Game 2
W Connection: 1.Terrence Lewis (GK), 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerard Williams, 5.Triston Hodge, 8.Briel Thomas, 9.Shahdon Winchester, 10.Jomal Williams, 12.Dimitrie Apai (43.Malik St. Prix 86th minute), 17.Aikim Andrews (11.Neil Benjamin Jr. 75th minute), 21.Shannon Gomez, 23.Kevon Goddard (19.Dwight Quintero 83rd minute)

Unused substitutes: 18.Julani Archibald (GK), 46.Anfernee Frederick, 20.Jamal Charles, 34.Jabari Mitchell

Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier

San Juan Jabloteh: 35.Shemel Louison (GK), 5.Rickcardo Harriott, 10.Tyrone Charles, 8.Keyon Edwards (9.Brent Sam 57th minute), 7.Jamal Gay, 18.Jevon Morris, 13.Fabian Reid (27.Nathan Lewis 57th minute), 21.Aquil Selby, 22.Caleb Sturge (12.Jordan Devonish 83rd minute), 24.Adrian Reid, 11.Damian Williams (Capt.)

Unused substitutes: 36.Raheem Belgrave (GK), 4.Garth Thomas, 15.Jerome Mc Intrye, 16.Kaashif Thomas

Coach: Keith Jeffrey

Match Referee: Gordon Maloney