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Golden Boot winner Joseph lifts Civic to 4th
Marcus Joseph closed off the 2013-2014 Digicel T&T Pro League in dramatic style, scoring in stoppage time to lift Point Fortin Civic FC to a 2-1 win over Caledonia AIA for a fourth-place finish in their debuting season at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Tuesday night.
With the strike, Joseph, who was denied twice by the crossbar and on two occasions by Caledonia goalkeeper Shemel Louison, ended with 16 goals, two ahead of Central FC’s Willis Plaza, North East Stars’ Trevin Caesar and DirecTV W Connection’s Joevin Jones, all of whom are in the Stephen Hart-coached Soca Warriors squad, to face World Cup-bound Argentina and Iran in friendly internationals over the next three weeks.
Caledonia took the lead as early as the fifth minute through Pernell Schultz, but then needed goalkeeper Louison to be at his best to preserve its slim advantage at least until the halftime interval.
First, the hapless Grenadian international looked on as Joseph struck the crossbar in the 27th and 31st minutes, before he denied Andre Alexis in the 38th minute.
On the resumption, Louison was called into action again, blanking Joseph in the 59th and 78th minutes in two one-on-one situations and was brilliant again in the first minute of stoppage time, to keep out a close-up Akeem Redhead strike.
However, with a minute left in regulation-time, Pt Fortin Civic won a free-kick which was taken by Steven Joseph on the left from which defender Akeem Thomas glanced into his own net, in his attempt to clear.
And following a breakdown by Caledonia in midfield, Joseph was at the end of substitute Nickcolson Thomas’ pass into the area and slipped a low left-footed strike under an advancing Louison and into the back of the net for a 2-1 come-from-behind win.
The three points carried Pt Fortin to 42 points, the same as North East Stars which only managed a 1-0 win over St Ann’s Rangers in the earlier match via Kennedy Hinkson’s second-minute goal.
However, Pt Fortin took fourth spot based on its better goal-difference of plus-11 to Stars’ plus-10.
Joseph had already won the Golden Boot before stepping onto the pitch for his team’s final match of the season after his closest challenger and T&T teammate, Caesar, failed to add to his tally against Rangers.
Hinkson’s goal came when he controlled on his chest before blasting past goalkeeper Christopher Biggette from the edge of the area after a Neveal Hackshaw free-kick was cleared directly at him.
The tumultuous league title season virtually came to an end on the penultimate day with DirecTV W Connection lifting the title and securing the $1 million prize, two weeks ago while Central FC ended second ahead of Defence Force on goal-difference, to join the league champions as qualifiers to next season’s Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship, a qualifier to the Concacaf Champions League.
Central will receive $300,000 and Defence Force $150,000 while the clubs finishing fourth to ninth each gets $130,000.
North East Stars 1 (Kennedy Hinkson 2nd) vs St Ann’s Rangers 0
Pt Fortin Civic 2 (Akeem Thomas 89th o.g, Marcus Joseph 94th) vs Caledonia 1 (Pernell Schultz 5th)
Teams P W D L F A Pts
W Connection 24 14 8 2 51 19 51
Central FC 24 12 9 3 49 21 45
Defence Force 24 14 3 7 47 32 45
Pt Fortin 24 13 3 8 37 25 42
North East Stars 24 12 6 6 28 17 42
Caledonia 24 7 7 10 34 38 28
Police 24 8 3 13 30 45 27
Jabloteh 24 4 4 16 23 53 16
Rangers 24 2 1 21 19 68 7
Marcus Joseph (Pt Fortin Civic) - 16
Joevin Jones (W Connection), Trevin Caesar (North East Stars), Willis Plaza (Central FC) - 14
Josimar Belgrave (Defence Force) - 12