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Stars, Police win in Digicel Pro League
A late strike from Kennedy Hinkson was enough for North East Stars to steal a 1-0 win against San Juan Jabloteh, while Police FC blanked St Ann’s Rangers 2-0 as action continued in the Digicel Pro League on Friday night with a double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo.
In the second match, a 89th minute item from Stars substitute Hinkson, broke the deadlock when he knocked in Keithy Simpson’s deep cross, in a match that seemed destined for a draw.
Jabloteh, with a very energetic and businesslike approach, had everything in their favour, but simply couldn’t find the back of the Stars’ net, as goalkeeper Cleon John was in fine form. John was called into action as early as the lst minute of play to produce a low save on Kerry Daniel’s strike from distance.
Jabloteh continued to press and in the 22nd minute was unfortunate not to win a penalty after Simpson’s pull on the jersey of Shaquille Bertrand, took the Jabloteh player to ground.
Referee Garfield Weekes and his assistants, clearly missed the pulling, and goalkeeper John had an easy task gathering the weak effort.
Bertrand had sight of goal again in the 29th minute after dribbling past two defenders, but miscued on a strike and John was delighted again with another easy take.
Five minutes earlier (24th minute), Stars, already without the services of a number of players such as striker Anthony Wolfe, currently on trial at Indian League club Churchill Brothers, and absentees Micah Lewis and Marcus Gomez, suffered a blow when striker Trevin Caesar pulled up with a hamstring problem that ended his time on the pitch.
He was replaced by his former T&T Under-23 teammate, midfielder Jeromie Williams. Seconds later, Elijah Manners shifting into a more central forward role, saw his decent strike deflect over-bar for a corner. Four minutes from the break Manners featured in a counterattack when he squared a pass to midfielder Kaashif Thomas who struck wide of the upright from above the area.
The Stars then lost its uncontrollable equipment manager Selwyn Gabriel to the stands, on the directive of referee Weekes, who initially asked that Gabriel took a seat. But Gabriel, who was among other technical members of North East Stars upset over a challenge on Simpson, was persistent in letting out his frustrations verbally and left Weekes no other choice.
Following the break it was the goalkeeper John show. John was brilliant in the 58th minute when he kept out a Kerry Baptiste strike after a slip by defender Kareem Moses allowed an Alfie James cross to meet the Jabloteh forward.
Baptiste then failed to put the hurt on his former employers and former teammate John from the penalty spot in the 61st minute. Referee Weekes didn’t hesitate pointing to the spot in this instance, however Baptiste’s solid strike from the spot towards the inside of the right upright was miraculously saved by John.
It clearly wasn’t Baptiste’s night, as John glowed again in the 69th minute by keeping out the ace forward’s volley off a Rennie Britto cross.
Britto himself had a couple tries, first hitting a tame one into the gloves of John in the 33rd minute, and in the 77th minute he struck miserably high, in what was a miserable night for Jabloteh.
In the earlier match, Joel Lewis showed good skill to evade defender Tevin Gilkes and goalkeeper Akel Clarke before blasting into an exposed net to give Police a 1-0 lead over Rangers in the 27th minute.
Defender Karlon Murray then doubled Police’s advantage in the 35th minute, when he struck a squared Christon Thomas pass into the back of the net.
However, head coach Richard Hood must be mindful of defensive leaks and offensive flaws if his side wants to remain in the top half of the table.
Police FC 2 (Joel Lewis 27th, Karlon Murray 35th) v St Ann’s Rangers 0
North East Stars 1 (Kennedy Hinkson 89th) v San Juan Jabloteh 0
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