W Connection and Defence Force squeeze into Digicel Pro Bowl final

W Connection 0 (4) vs North East Stars 0 (2)

W Connection won the game 4-2 on kicks from the penalty mark

Defence Force 1 (Own Goal 70’) vs San Juan Jabloteh 0

​File photo: W Connection goalkeeper Julani Archibald, left, shares a proud moment with teammate Alvin Jones.
Saturday May 14, 2016

W Connection and Defence Force will bring down the curtain on the 2015/16 season when they tackle each other in the TT$100,000 winner-takes-all Digicel Pro Bowl final at the Ato Boldon Stadium on May 27.

Connection, four-time Pro Bowl champions, and Defence Force, champions in 2012, narrowly advanced out of the semi-finals on Friday night to set up their second final meeting in six months after the “Savonetta Boys” defeated the Army/Coast Guard combination 4-0 last December in the final of the Toyota Classic.

Last night, however, Connection needed kicks from the spot to outdo North East Stars 4-2 following a 0-0 stalemate in semi-final one at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, before a second half own goal handed Defence Force a 1-0 win over San Juan Jabloteh in semi-final two.

Jabloteh goalkeeper Shemel Louison was left beaten with 20 minutes left when defender Aquil Selby directed Hashim Arcia’s effort from the right into the back of the net to give Army the eventual winner.

It was unfortunate for Louison, whose performance had been excellent throughout the night for Keith Jeffrey’s side and included back-to-back saves in the 13th-minute to keep out a Devorn Jorsling free-kick and the rebound effort from Arcia.

The Grenada international also produced another save four minutes from the half when he measured a strike from distance by Arcia.

Substitute Josiah Trimmingham had the best look on goal with two minutes of regulation-time left for a Jabloteh equaliser but the forward’s strike, after turning brilliantly in the box, lacked venom, allowing goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke to make a low save.

Earlier, following another contest which lacked excitement in front of goal, goalkeeper Julani Archibald pulled off a save on the third to deny Stars midfielder Kerry Daniel before Dominican midfielder Anfernee Frederick put Connection in the lead during the penalty shootout.

Chike Sullivan was up next for Ross Russell’s men but the former Trinidad and Tobago Youth World Cup player struck the post before Connection’s St. Lucia international Kurt Frederick maintained his side scoring for a 4-2 win when he thumped a left-footer past Trinidad and Tobago national team call-up Glenroy Samuel.

Samuel was also beaten by powerful strikes from former Italy-based player Zaine Pierre and Alvin Jones after Kerry Baptiste and Ryan Stewart were clinical from the spot for the “Sangre Grande Stars” on the first two kicks.

Baptiste was closest to breaking the deadlock on 24 minutes when his header off a left side cross from Anthony Guppy clipped the crossbar, and seconds from the half Archibald produced a low save to put wide an effort from distance by the veteran forward.

The Stars’ next best opening arrived midway through the second half but midfielder Daniel, after skilfully creating room for himself inside the area, seemed shy on the look at goal, allowing the Connection defence to clatter the ball out of the box before it was hammered overbar by Sullivan.

Connection meanwhile, had their best opening minutes earlier when Frederick whipped in an excellent delivery from the left to find Suriname forward Dimitrie Apai, who opted to offer the chance to Malik St. Prix, whose attempt was blocked by the defence.

Apai did manage an attempt six minutes from time but Samuel made a save with his legs to keep the scoresheet blank to send the game into the penalty shootout.

The Stars will now refocus their attention on their final Digicel Pro League (DPL) game against Jabloteh on May 21 with a win against the San Juan club securing the Kevon Carter (Round Three) trophy in the hands of the Sangre Grande club.

Connection, though, will resume league play in one of two rescheduled games on Tuesday May 17. The “Savonetta Boys” will face St. Ann’s Rangers from 7pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium and simultaneously at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, league champions will take on San Juan Jabloteh.

All teams return to league play on the weekend of May 20-21 in the final slate of the 2015/16 DPL games as Defence Force and Jabloteh push for the final CONCACAF Champions League qualifiers spot.

Digicel Pro Bowl 2016
Semi-Final Round results
Friday May 13, 2016
Hasely Crawford Stadium

W Connection 0 (4) vs North East Stars 0 (2)
W Connection won the game 4-2 on kicks from the penalty mark

North East Stars 2                            W Connection 4
Kerry Baptiste (scored)                   Zaine Pierre (scored)
Ryan Stewart (scored)                     Alvin Jones (scored)
Kerry Daniel (saved)                         Anfernee Frederick (scored)
Chike Sullivan (post)                        Kurt Frederick (scored)

Defence Force 1 (Own Goal 70’) vs San Juan Jabloteh 0

Remaining 2015/16 fixtures
Tuesday May 17, 2016

Rescheduled Round Three Match Day Seven fixtures
Hasely Crawford Stadium
San Juan Jabloteh vs Central FC—7pm
Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs St. Ann’s Rangers—7pm 

Digicel Pro League 2015/16
Round Three Match Day Nine
Friday May 20, 2016
Ato Boldon Stadium

Central FC vs St. Ann’s Rangers—6pm
Club Sando vs W Connection—8pm

Saturday May 21, 2016
Mahaica Oval
Point Fortin Civic vs Police FC—6pm

Larry Gomes Stadium
Defence Force vs Morvant Caledonia United—4pm

Mannie Ramjohn Stadium
San Juan Jabloteh vs North East Stars—4pm

Digicel Pro Bowl Final
Friday May 27
Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs Defence Force

Teams at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday
Semi Final One
W Connection: 18.Julani Archibald (GK) (Yellow Card), 2.Kurt Frederick, 3.Gerrd Williams (48.Zaine Pierre 82nd minute) (Yellow Card), 5.Triston Hodge, 10.Jomal Williams (46.Anfernee Frederick 84th minute), 12.Dimitrie Apai, 14.Andre Toussaint, 16.Alvin Jones, 25.Daneil Cyrus (Capt.), 26.Paolo De La Guardia Alvarez, 43.Malik St. Prix (17.Aikim Andrews 87th minute)

Unused substitutes: 1.Terrence Lewis, 4.Maurce Ford, 8.Briel Thomas (Yellow Card), , 27.Jelani Peters 

Assistant coach: Earl Jean

North East Stars: 32.Glenroy Samuel, 3.Kion Joseph, 4.Jesus Perez, 5.Ryan Stewart, 6.Jean-Luc Rochford (14.Chike Sullivan 70th minute), 8.Anthony Guppy, 9.Gorean Highley (7.Kerry Daniel 56th minute), 19.Glenton Wolfe (24.Adrian Noel 56th minute), 25.Keryn Navarro, 26.Anthony Wolfe (Capt.), 40.Kerry Baptiste

Unused substitutes: 22.Cleon John (GK), 23.Brendon Figuera, 27.Quincy Charles, 39.Taryk Sampson

Coach: Ross Russell

Referee: Rodphin Harris
Assistant Referee 1: Caleb Wales
Assistant Referee 2: Joseph Bertrand
Fourth Official: Keilon Bacchus

Semi Final Two
Defence Force: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK), 2.Glynn Franklyn (Yellow Card), 8.Curtis Gonzales, 9.Devorn Jorsling (26.Richard Roy 81st minute), 10.Hashim Arcia (52.Stephan Campbell 86th minute), 11.Akeem Roach (99.Jerwyn Balthazar 75th minute), 12.Jemel Sebro, 13.Marvin Jones, 17.Ross Russell Jr., 20.Levi Serries, 21.Aklie Edwards, (50th minute)

Unused substitutes: 3.Jamali Garcia, 7.Jelani Felix, 30.Kishun Seecharan, 80.Aaron Enil (GK)

Coach: Marvin Gordon

San Juan Jabloteh: 30.Shemel Louison (GK), 6.Akeem Benjamin, 7.Jamal Gay (9.Brent Sam 89th minute), 8.Keyon Edwards (23.Kennedy Hinkson 77th minute), 10.Tyrone Charles, 11.Damian Williams (Capt.), 13.Fabian Reid, 18.Jevon Morris, 21.Aquil Selby (17.Josiah Trimmingham 85th minute), 24.Adrian Reid, 27.Nathan Lewis

Unused substitutes: 35.Andrew Durant (GK), 4.Garth Thomas, 14.Sean Bonval, 16.Kaashif Thomas 

Coach: Keith Jeffrey

Referee: Gyasi Mc Donald
Assistant Referee 1: 
Assistant Referee 2: Kevin Charles
Fourth Official: Nicholas Glouden