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Caesar leads Police shut-out
National striker Trevin Caesar carried his league tally to ten goals, two shy of Point Fortin Civic’s Marcus Joseph when he netted a brace to lead North East Stars to a 3-0 win over rusty Police in their re-scheduled Digicel T&T Pro League clash at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Tuesday.
With the much needed win, which stretched its unbeaten run to six matches, the Angus Eve-coached Sangre Grande-based Stars improved to 29 points from 17 matches, the same as Pt Fortin Civic FC and Central FC and eight behind DirecTV W Connection in the hunt for a top two finish and a spot in next year’s Caribbean Football Union Championship, a qualifier to the Concacaf Champions League.
In the second match at Couva, reigning champions Defence Force blanked last season’s runners-up Caledonia AIA 2-0 in an entertaining bottom half of the table clash.
However, it was all about Caesar on the night as he scored on either side of the break before a late own goal by Police substitute Clevon Mc Fee struck the final nail in the coffin.
Caesar handed the Stars a 1-0 lead by the 27th minute when he slid in at the back post, taking over the line a low attempted strike by Chike Sullivan, who was played into the area by an Elijah Manners’ pass.
In the 32nd minute Police, which was playing its second match in under a week after not being involved in any footballing activity for almost two-weeks due to work commitments, failed to emulate Caesar’s opening goal when both Jameel Perry and Akiba Peters failed to connect with a low ball across the six-yard area by Christon Thomas.
Five minutes after the restart, Thomas tried his luck from distance but couldn’t find the back of the net as his team tried to get back on even terms.
Police efforts suffered a major setback two minutes later when the speedy Caesar pounced on a fumble by goalkeeper Adrian Foncette, who failed to gather Sullivan’s cross low from the right and scored into an open goal.
Despite falling 0-2 behind Police did not drop its head and came close to getting a goal back through Perry; but unluckily for him, his effort struck the base of goalkeeper Cleon John’s upright after he collected a Joel Kevin Lewis’ cross.
A few minutes later John was called into action to keep out a Kenaz Williams effort on a rebound after Elijah Belgrave’s free-kick was charged down.
He then acrobatically pushed away for a corner a volley headed for goal from Police substitute Clevon Mc Fee in the 85th minute.
Four minutes later, Police put the icing on its own defeat when an attempted clearance by defender Anton Hutchinson on a cross from Stars’ substitute Franz Husbands’ ricocheted off Mc Fee’s back and into the goal past Foncette.
The Ross Russell-coached Defence Force also struck early against Caledonia as it looked to erase the memories of Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Central FC after leading 2-0 inside the first 30 minutes.
Josimar Belgrave fired in the opener in the 12th minute with a right-footed effort that curled into the top corner past Caledonia goalie Shemel Louison.
In the second-half, Defence Force continued to control proceedings with Louison being forced into a 74th minute finger tip save to deny Jerwyn Balthazar from extending the “Teteron Boys” advantage.
Six minutes later, Louison could do little to deny a second item when Jemel Sebro met Sean Narcis’ cross with a powerful header that slipped through the legs of the Grenadian goalkeeper, handing Defence Force a much needed three points to improve to 20 from 13 matches, one behind Caledonia and Police, who have played 17 and 16 matches, respectively.
Today, Defence Force will return to action as it entertains cellar-placed St Ann’s Rangers in a rescheduled round two fixture at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya from 6 pm.
But while Defence Force will start as favourites to pick up three points, it will be wise not to take the youthful Rangers line-up for granted as the latter won their first round meeting 3-2, their last win. Since then Rangers have gone 12 matches without a win.
Teams P W D L F A Pts
W Connection 16 11 4 1 32 9 37
Central FC 17 7 8 2 31 17 29
Pt Fortin Civic 16 9 2 5 26 16 29
N/East Stars 17 8 5 4 20 12 29
Caledonia 17 5 6 6 24 22 21
Police 16 6 3 7 19 26 21
Defence Force 13 6 2 6 23 20 20
Jabloteh 16 3 2 11 19 37 11
Rangers 16 1 0 15 11 47 3
North East Stars 3 (Trevin Caesar 27th, 52nd, Clevon Mc Fee own-goal 89th) vs Police 0
Defence Force 2 (Josimar Belgrave 12th, Jemel Sebro 80th) vs Caledonia AIA 0
Today: Defence Force vs St Ann’s Rangers, Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya, 6pm
Tomorrow: Venue: Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva:
San Juan Jabloteh vs North East Stars, 6pm
W Connection vs Central FC, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, 8pm
Saturday: St Ann’s Rangers vs Police, Larry Gomes Stadium, 4pm