A late goal from substitute Rennie Britto lifted DirecTV W Connection to a successful recovery tonight as the “Savonetta Boys” edged St Ann’s Rangers 2-1 in 2012/13 Digicel Pro League football action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
The result was Connection’s first win of the season after a 1-1 draw against Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA last Friday at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.
For Rangers, it was a third successive League defeat.
There could be no faulting the effort from coach Dean Pacheco’s team but, in the end, the St Ann’s team lacked the quality to hang on to a point despite leading at the interval.
Pacheco tinkered with his starting line-up in anticipation of Rangers’ meeting with the defending champions. Striker Cameron Roget was shifted to the right flank—presumably to utilise his workrate against Connection’s offensive-minded full backs—while Jason Marcano was moved upfront alongside Hector Sam with Cecil Jeffrey taking his place in central midfield.
Connection’s upbeat tempo from kick off and regular use of long balls into the channels hinted that coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier thought the Rangers defence to be vulnerable to lapses in concentration.
There was little to suggest Fevrier was right in the first half as Rangers defended resolutely in numbers. Worse, central defender Elijah Belgrave showed that he was capable of more than just resistance with the lone item in the first half off a free kick.
Veteran Rangers striker Hector Sam, a former journeyman in England’s lower leagues, lured Connection starlet Shahdon Winchester into a foul near the edge of the box and Belgrave’s subsequent blast squirmed away from Connection and Trinidad and Tobago international captain Jan-Michael Williams.
Today is Williams’ 28th birthday. He might not have appreciated Belgrave’s surprise offering.
But Rangers, like in last week’s 3-2 loss to T&TEC, could not hold on to its advantage.
Fevrier replaced Andrei Pacheco with 20-year-old Jerrel Britto at the interval and it reaped almost immediate dividends.
A heavy touch from Rangers left back Christon Thomas allowed Britto (J) to capitalise in the 51st minute and he combined with fellow 20-year-old, Winchester, who finished by sidestepping a defender and rifling over opposing custodian Zane Coker.
Sam, Devon Modeste and Jason Marcano had good opportunities to restore Rangers’ advantage as Connection’s midfield looked lethargic and never really got going. But Williams could not be beaten a second time while Rangers failed to hold the ball long enough to neutralise a dangerous foe.
Connection made Rangers pay for its generosity in the 83rd minute as the Britto cousins combined to good effect.
Winchester slipped the ball into the run of Britto (J) and his squared pass was helped over the line by his lunging elder cousin, despite Thomas’ desperate attempt to intercept.
The result helped Connection to joint first place with the advantage of a game in hand, despite not playing particularly well.
Williams should be reasonably satisfied with that outcome on his special day.
Rangers (4-4-2): 1.Zane Coker; 23.Kadeem Drayton, 11.Elijah Belgrave, 12.Jamal Jack, 13.Christon Thomas; 14.Cameron Roget, 15.Mikhail Awai, 29.Cecil Jeffrey (31.Andrew Smith 77), 10.Devon Modeste; 7.Jason Marcano, 9.Hector Sam.
Unused substitutes: 22.Akel Clarke, 5.Justin Harper, 20.Kyle Bartholomew, 26.Jemel Berot, 28.Kurdell Braithwaite
Coach Dean Pacheco
W Connection (4-1-2-3): 18.Jan-Michael Williams (capt); 13.Kern Cupid, 3.Akeem Benjamin, 4.Daneil Cyrus, 6.Kemuel Rivers; 8.Gerrard Williams; 8.Clyde Leon (7.Rennie Britto 70), 36.Joevin Jones (16.Andre Quashie 80); 40.Shahdon Winchester, 14.Hashim Arcia, 17.Andrei Pacheco (31.Jerrel Britto 46).
Unused substitutes: 21.Andre Marchan, 25.Christian Viveros, 26.Stefano Rijssel, 35.Anthony Parris.
Coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier
Digicel Pro League
(Fri Oct 26)
W Connection 1 (Shahdon Winchester 51, Rennie Britto 83), St Ann’s Rangers 1 (Elijah Belgrave 42) at Hasely Crawford
Referee Gyasi McDonald
Cautions: Cecil Jeffrey (Rangers), Gerrard Williams (W C onnection)
Caledonia AIA 4 (Conrod Smith 17, Ataullah Guerra 27, Densill Theobald 79, Jamal Gay 83), Defence Force 2 (Richard Roy 54, Devorn Jorsling 85 pen) at Hasely Crawford
Referee Gordon Maloney
Caution: Jahvon Neptune (Defence Force)[standings league_id=1 template=extend logo=true]