If the world does not end tonight, Central FC’s players are going to feel pretty silly when they wake up tomorrow and realise they have to live with the memory of this evening’s 5-2 Digicel Pro League mauling, which was inflicted by the in-form Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA.
Caledonia sauntered through the fixture as though it was a casual stroll along the beach. And boy did they make a snack of the “Sharks.”
Central’s England-born coach, Graham Rix, is away on holidays with his family and managing director Brent Sancho ran the team’s bench in his place.
Clearly, the Couva-based Sharks need more than a makeshift technical leader at the moment and, if Rix is not on the next flight back to Piarco, there is reason to doubt that he will ever be recalled.
Caledonia was very good today. But to sit back and hope to regain possession from a careless pass, against a team with three playmakers like Densill Theobald, Ataullah Guerra and Keyon Edwards, seems to be a plot that belongs in “Fifty Shades of Grey” not a football manual.
Conversely, Caledonia might have thought Christmas had come early. Within the opening six minutes, Central had already given the ball away twice in dangerous positions and was made to pay on the second occasion.
Central defender Osei Telesford joined Central on loan from United States A’ League team, Puerto Rico Islanders, on Monday and his first meaningful act was to apologise profusely to his teammates after gifting Caledonia its opener with a slip on top his own back.
Kareem “Tiny” Joseph made the most of it with a smart left foot drive that went in off Central custodian Marvin Phillip’s left upright. Joseph then had the benefit of a shoeshine celebration from teammate and Guyana international Walter Moore.
Not that Joseph’s boots could have possibly been dirty yet.
Caledonia scored two more within the first half hour as central defender Radanfah Abu Bakr, who also rejoined the squad on Monday, prodded home on the second attempt in the 12th minute while St Vincent and the Grenadines international Cornelius Stewart notched another item in the 26th minute after a sweeping build-up involving Guerra and Moore.
Just 29 minutes into the first half, Sancho turned to substitute and 19-year-old recruit Rundell Winchester, who only joined the Sharks yesterday from Super League team, Stokely Vale.
Winchester would be forgiven for wondering if his departure from the Tobago club really was a promotion. After all, Stokely Vale beat Caledonia on penalties in the Toyota Classic Cup last month.
It got worse before it got better for Central. Guerra embarrassed Phillip with a dipping finish from 20 yards in the 37th minute to put the “Eastern Stallions” four goals clear at the interval.
Caledonia completed a five-star performance with a late headed goal from defender Nuru Muhammad off a Guerra corner kick.
But not before Winchester continued his rich form with his sixth goal from as many outings against Pro League opposition this season.
The nippy and enthusiastic Winchester is not yet the finished article but he can certainly claim to be the finishing article. His debut goal for Central was not a collector’s item but it would be treasured regardless by club and player as he got his body in the way to deflect a Hayden Tinto cross past Caledonia goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel.
Another substitute, Tyrone Charles, got a second for Central too with a brilliant curling free kick near the end of regulation time.
But it did not camouflage a spanking from the defending Caribbean champions.
If you are reading this after 21 December 2012, you are probably chuckling at surviving another doomsday prediction. Central FC would not be laughing along with you.
Central (4-1-4-1): 1.Marvin Phillip (captain); 18.Cyrano Glen (8.Rundell Winchester 29), 21.Osei Telesford, 24.Akeem Adams, 3.Keion Goodridge; 10.Marvin Oliver (14.Tyrone Charles 67); 7.Hayden Tinto, 15.Sayid Freitas, 6.Marc Leslie, 12.Simba Aberdeen (19.Adrian Noel 56); 9.Anthony Wolfe.
Unused substitutes: 13.Shane Mattis, 16.Carey Harris, 20.Darryl Trim, 26.Quincy Charles.
Coach: Brent Sancho
Caledonia (4-1-3-1-1): 33.Glenroy Samuel; 12.Kareem Joseph, 29.Radanfah Abu Bakr, 3.Nuru Muhammad (vice-captain), 2.Aubrey David; 7.Stephan David (captain) (10.Conrod Smith 41); 8.Cornelius Stewart (11.Abdallah Phillips 83), 21.Densill Theobald, 15.Walter Moore; 25.Ataullah Guerra; 9.Keyon Edwards (27.Nathan Lewis 70).
Unused substitutes: 34.Colin Edwards, 6.Trevin Caesar, 13.Trayon Bobb, 24.Kemron Purcell.
Coach: Jerry Moe
2012 Digicel Pro League
(Friday 21 December)
Caledonia AIA 5 (Kareem Joseph 6, Radanfah Abu Bakr 12, Cornelius Stewart 26, Ataullah Guerra 37, Nuru Muhammad 82), Central FC 2 (Rundell Winchester 57, Tyrone Charles 89) at Hasely Crawford
Defence Force 5 (Daneil Cyrus OG 49, Aklie Edwards 54, Devorn Jorsling 57, 67, Josimar Belgrave 81), W Connection 1 (Shahdon Winchester 46) at Hasely Crawford
Today’ s Pro League fixtures
(Saturday 22 December)
Police FC v St Ann’ s Rangers, 5 pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella
T&TEC v North East Stars, 7 pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella