Defending champions DirecTV W Connection and North East Stars preserved unbeaten records in the Digicel Pro League tonight but it could hardly mask a poor evening for football.
It has been a day stuffed with notable events. An estimated 20,000 persons marched through Port of Spain just after lunch while, in the early afternoon, former Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) vice-president Raymond Tim Kee became the president-in-waiting as challenger Colin Murray withdraw his candidacy.
The Buzz Butler Highway was not without incident too as a vehicular accident created an energy-sapping traffic jam.
But, at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella, a clash between two of the top domestic teams offered little to keep spectators from burying heads into their Blackberrys as both sides played to largely uninspiring goalless draw.
Some late free kicks from 21-year-old Connection utility player Joevin Jones threatened to produce a winner. But Stars left back Cleon John was as alert to the danger and teams eventually settled for one point each.
In an earlier encounter at the same venue, a Richard Roy rocket settled a similarly drab affair as Defence Force edged Police FC 1-0.
The battle of the servicemen lacked firepower up until Defence Force substitute Devorn Jorsling teed up Roy in the 71st minute. Bam! Police goalkeeper Emmanuel Nurse dived gamely but the ball was already in the back of the net.
It was Roy’s sixth goal in all competitions this season—three more than the nearest challenger—and his third in the Pro League. It was also Defence Force’s first clean sheet this season. The army/coast guard combination has already conceded more than any other Pro League team with eight goals permitted from four games.
At present, Defence Force is atop the standings with seven points although coach Ross Russell’s team can be leapfrogged by Central FC or Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA if either wins in Couva tomorrow.
Central plays St Ann’s Rangers from 5 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium while Caledonia faces T&TEC FC from 7 pm at the same venue.
Hopefully, there will be an improvement on today’s fixtures.
It was not until the 59th minute that patrons had a reason to sit straight in the closing match as Connection attacker Shahdon Winchester let fly from on top the opposing penalty area and his effort, which deflected off Stars defender Kareem Moses, was pushed on to the bar by John.
Stars striker Cornell Glen almost answered, seven minutes later, but dragged his shot just wide after turning Daneil Cyrus in the Connection penalty box.
Glen’s adhesive touch, strength and pivots have glossed over Stars’ unflattering long-ball game. Unfortunately for coach Angus Eve, the former 2006 World Cup striker is clearly not at the peak of his physical powers and has yet to finish 90 minutes this season.
He limped off in the 77th minute and Connection twice came within a whisker of a winner in the aftermath through two Jones blasts.
Jones’ 83rd minute effort from 25 yards was low and hard. John parried and then jumped on the rebound; a fraction before Connection left back Kemuel Rivers also made contact.
Rivers drove the ball out of John’s grasp and into the back of the net but referee Gordon Maloney corrected whistled an infringement on the goalkeeper.
Jones had another go in the 89th minute and, this time, went high.
Again, John was up for the challenge as he contorted his body to tip the ball overbar.
They were rare moments of inspiration.
At the final whistle, Connection had its second draw from three matches while Stars, who has not won since its opener against Caledonia AIA, had three successive Pro League ties. It was scant consolation for paying patrons.
North East Stars: 22.Cleon John; 23.Kennedy Hinkson, 20.Seon Power (capt), 2.Kareem Moses, 19.Glenton Wolfe; 25.Keryn Navarro; 17.Jayson Joseph, 18.Kaashif Thomas (15.Kaydion Gabriel 65), 14.Devon Jamerson, 8.Micah Lewis (38.Johan Peltier 71); 13.Cornell Glen (4.Kerry Baptiste 77).
Unused Substitutes: 1.Adrian Foncette, 5.Kevon Villaroel, 12.Gary Glasgow, 37.Neil Mitchell.
Coach Angus Eve
W. Connection: 18.Jan-Michael Williams (capt); 13.Kern Cupid, 4.Daneil Cyrus, 19.Joel Russell, 3.Kemuel Rivers; 25.Chistian Viveros, 8.Clyde Leon, 36.Joevin Jones; 31.Jerrel Britto (7.Rennie Britto 70), 14.Hashim Arcia (26.Stefano Rijssel 79), 40.Shahdon Winchester.
Unused substitutes: 21.Andre Marchan, 5.Elijah Joseph, 17.Andrei Pacheco, 32.Kurt Frederick, 35.Anthony Parris.
Coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier
Digicel Pro League
(Fri Nov 2)
Defence Force 1 (Richard Roy 71), Police 0 at Mannie Ramjohn
W Connection 0, NE Stars 0 at Mannie Ramjohn
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