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W Connection, Central FC in Couva Derby
With its once healthy 15-point lead now down to eight and eight matches left to play, four-time Digicel T&T Pro League champions, DirecTV W Connection will face one of its sternest tests down the ‘home stretch’ when it faces Central FC in the “Couva Derby” this evening at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva from 8 pm.
W Connection currently sits atop the nine-team table with 37 points from 16 matches while the trio of Pt Fortin Civic FC, Central FC and North East Stars each have 29, all 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.
However, in recent times the Stuart Charles-Fevrier coached W Connection has looked vulnerable as it chases the $1,000,000 winners’ cheque, losing 2-1 to Pt Fortin Civic and then snatching a last grasp 2-2 draw with Central FC followed by a 0-0 draw with Caledonia AIA and a 2-0 blanking of cellar-placed St Ann’s Rangers in its last outing.
The Terry Fenwick-coached Central FC, on the other hand, has been very impressive, unbeaten in 11 matches dating back to a 1-0 loss to W Connection on the seven match day of round one, and have won its last four matches since the 2-2 battle with the “Savonetta Boys” by a combined 15-3 margin.
Apart from their second round 2-2 draw which did not go down well with the Central FC squad as W Connection’s equaliser came late, both clubs have met three other times with W Connection winning their T&T Football Association FA duel, 6-5 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw and 1-0 in their league first round fixture.
Central FC has also enjoyed some measure of success against W Connection this season, with a 3-2 penalty kicks win after a 0-0 deadlock in their First Citizens Cup semifinal, despite playing most of the match with ten men.
A former England World Cup and Tottenham Spurs defender Fenwick has always been a man known to speak his mind and especially when it comes to opponents W Connection and the ex-San Juan Jabloteh coach was no different in a recent interview with regards to the title run-in.
He said, “I don’t think they (W Connection) are guaranteed anything at this stage, although they have a great opportunity to clinch the title early.”
“There is a chasing pack that’s very competitive and I don’t think it’s going to be very easy for W Connection.”
And tonight Fenwick and his squad will have its final chance this season to back up their statements as a victory would not only open keep the race open, but enhance its own ambitions of dethroning Defence Force.
The “Savonetta Boys”, meanwhile, winners of the Digicel Charity Shield, the Toyota Classic and the T&T Football Association Trophy already this season will also enter the match knowing the importance of securing three points will go a long way in strengthening their title claims.
In the night’s opener two hours earlier, North East Stars, unbeaten in six matches and coming off a 3-0 win over Police led by the in-form Trevin Caesar, will be confident of extending that run when it faces second from bottom Jabloteh. However, Jabloteh, which managed a 0-0 draw with Stars last time out cannot be underestimated even though it is winless since a 2-1 triumph over St Ann’s Rangers, seven matches ago.
Tomorrow, Police and Rangers meet at Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar from 4 pm while Pt Fortin and Defence Force face off on Sunday at a venue to be confirmed.
Current Digicel T&T Pro League standings
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
Today's Digicel T&T Pro League matches
Venue: Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva:
San Juan Jabloteh vs North East Stars, 6pm
W Connection vs Central FC, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, 8pm
Tomorrow (Saturday March 15): St Ann’s Rangers vs Police, Larry Gomes Stadium, 4pm
Sunday: Pt Fortin Civic vs Defence Force, Mahaica Oval, Pt Fortin, 4pm.