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Joseph fires Civic past Caledonia
In-form T&T international Marcis Joseph bagged a pair of goals as Point Fortin Civic FC came-from-behind to edge Caledonia AIA 2-1 at the Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin, yesterday, to close to within seven points of Digicel T&T Pro League leader and four-time champion DirecTV W Connection. With the win, Pt Fortin stretched its unbeaten run to seven matches (five wins, two draws) for 26 points from 15 matches, six behind W Connection which had the weekend off. Third is North East Stars with 22 points after a 1-0 win over St Ann’s Rangers on Friday, while Police (21), which was also idle, is fourth followed by Caledonia and Central FC, both with 20. However, it could have all been different on the table had Caledonia, a 2-1 winner over Civic before the host started its unbeaten run, took advantage of its early lead. Eight minutes into the contest, the Morvant/Laventille-based Caledonia, winner of its previous two matches went ahead through a Noel Williams header from a Kareem Joseph cross which it took into the interval. On the resumption, Pt Fortin took command, with Joseph scoring the equaliser in the 66th with a close range tap in, and then 13 minutes later he got what eventually turned out to be the decider. It was another stellar performance and match-winning display from striker Joseph, who has now netted ten times in his last six matches.
On Friday, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Willis Plaza also scored a double and provided another, as Central FC ended a run of six straight-drawn matches with a convincing 4-1 thumping of San Juan Jabloteh. This was in the second match of a double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium where North East Stars also put a halt to a three-match winless streak with a hard fought 1-0 win over St Ann’s Rangers. In the feature match on Friday, the Central “Sharks” got on the scoreboard as early as the fifth minute through former Defence Force player, winger Samuel Delice with a low effort that beat goalkeeper Shane Mattis from close ranger after Plaza had nodged on an Elton John free-kick into the 18-yard box. It was the perfect start for the revamped Central FC, missing the influential midfield pair of captain Marvin Oliver, through suspension and Atualla Guerra, due to injury. However, for all their dominance, the “Sharks” had to wait until the stroke of half-time before they doubled their lead to 2-0 thanks to Jason Marcano from a Rundell Winchester right-sided centre. It looked all over for Jabloteh, which for some reason opted to leave the Pro League’s all-time leading goal-scorer Kerry Baptiste, with 120-plus goals on the bench along with Kerry Daniel and Kareem Smith.
But that decision by first-year coach Keith Jeffrey seemed to be a wise one when ten minutes after the restart, midfielder Bradley Welch pulled a goal back for Jabloteh by blasting past goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams off a Nyron Jones cross. That goal seemed to spring Central FC back into life, as within four minutes the Couva-based second-year club restored its two-goal advantage when Plaza got his first, hammering in a rebound after team-mate Leston Paul’s initial effort was charged down by Jabloteh second-half introduction Rennie Britto. With nine minutes left in the contest, Johan Peltier almost made it 4-1 to Jabloteh with a strike from distance that just went wide of the goal, but seconds into time added one, Plaza finally made it 4-1 with his second on the night when he slotted into an open net after Paul did all the hard work by eluding a couple defenders and rounding Mattis. Central FC, will now look ahead to Tuesday’s rescheduled league encounter with defending champion Defence Force at the same venue. In Friday’s early contest, Stars got a 27th minute penalty conversion from the speedy Kennedy Hinkson in a narrow 1-0 win over Rangers, a similar score as in their first round meeting. The penalty was awarded by referee Cecile Hinds after Rangers defender Jair Edwards brought down Neil Mitchell inside the 18-yard box and Hinkson made no mistake from the spot by rifling his right-footed effort past goalkeeper Terrence Lewis.
Pt Fortin Civic 2 (Marcus Joseph 66th, 79th) vs Caledonia AIA 1 (Noel Williams 8th)
North East Stars 1 (Kennedy Hinkson 27th pen) vs St Ann’s Rangers 0
Central FC 4 (Willis Plaza 59th, 90th, Samuel Delice 5th, Jason Marcano 45th) vs Jabloteh 1 (Bradley Welch 55th).