Morvant/Caledonia United, the rebranded version of the longstanding Caledonia AIA football club, started its new era at the receiving end of a history lesson yesterday, as the “Eastern Stallions” lost their opening Pro League match 2-1 to San Juan Jabloteh at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
There were just four Caledonia players within coach Jerry Moe’s starting team that had worn the club’s colours with distinction before. In contrast, Jabloteh had seven former AIA players—Shemel Louison, Aquil Selby, Keyon Edwards, Tyrone Charles, Nathan Lewis, Jamal Gay and Aaqil Campbell—in its match day squad.
And, in the end, it was former servants Keyon Edwards and Tyrone Charles who lay the marker down for the new-look Caledonia team with both goals in Jabloteh’s triumph.
Edwards was in the Caledonia squad when the Morvant/Laventille-based team lifted the Caribbean Club Championship title for the first and only time in 2012. But he was deemed surplus to requirements in pre-season, as Caledonia United decided to go with fresh faces to match its new look.
It is much too early to gauge the wisdom of the Caledonia clear-out. But Edwards certainly won the first battle, as he volleyed home yesterday’s opener in the 27th minute after a cross by Jabloteh captain Damian Williams.
Sheldon Holder equalised for Caledonia, just two minutes later, after some purposeful wing play from evergreen captain Kareem “Tiny” Joseph.
But Caledonia, with 2006 World Cup player Densill Theobald in centre midfield, could not maintain momentum and succumbed to a late winner by another departed old boy, Charles.
In Charles’ case, it might be more difficult to find a club he has not represented. At just 26 years old, his CV includes not only a stint with Caledonia but at St Ann’s Rangers, Central FC and North East Stars too.
If he decided not to celebrate goals against former clubs, Charles would barely be able to smile at all.
As it were, Charles had no problem with showing his delight in spoiling Moe’s afternoon yesterday with a headed finish in the 80th minute, after being left unattended for a Kennedy Hinkson free kick.
Jabloteh join defending champion, Central FC, and North East Stars as the only teams to win their opening games this weekend.
San Juan Jabloteh (4-2-3-1): 30.Shemel Louison (GK); 15.Jerome McIntyre, 24.Adrian Reid, 21.Aquil Selby, 11.Damian Williams (captain) (5.Rickcardo Harriott 82); 18.Jevon Morris, 8.Keyon Edwards (6.Ramone McGregor 84); 23.Kennedy Hinkson, 10.Tyrone Charles, 27.Nathan Lewis; 7.Jamal Gay (13.Fabian Reid).
Unused substitutes: 36.Raheem Belgrave (GK), 12.Jordan Devonish, 16.Kaashif Thomas, 22.Caleb Sturge.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
Morvant/Caledonia Utd (4-2-3-1): 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 16.Ordell Flemming, 3.Ranaldo Bailey, 15.Otev Lawrence, 22.Jameel Neptune; 8.Kareem Knights (28.Pernell Schultz), 21.Densill Theobald; 24.Gregory President (20.Jamaal Harvey 52), 18.Akeem Roach, 12.Kareem Joseph (captain); 10.Sheldon Holder (14.Kennedy Isles 65).
Unused substitutes: 30.Anthony Whyte (GK), 2.Shomari Antoine, 5.Daniel Whyte, 23.Shaquille Edwards.
Coach: Jerry Moe
Man of the Match: Tyrone Charles (San Juan Jabloteh)
Pro League results
(Friday September 25)
Defence Force 1 (Jerwyn Balthazar 45+2), St Ann’s Rangers 1 (Miguel Romeo 45) at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
(Saturday September 26)
Point Fortin Civic 0, Central FC 3 (Willis Plaza 28, Sean De Silva 63, 70) at Mahaica Oval;
W Connection 1 (Andre Toussaint 83), Police FC 1 (Makesi Lewis 84) at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
North East Stars 2 (Alanzo Adlam 17, Adrian Noel 59), Club Sando 0 at Larry Gomes Stadium;
(Sunday September 26)
San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Keyon Edwards 27, Tyrone Charles 80), M’vt/Caledonia Utd 1 (Sheldon Holder 29) at Hasely Crawford Stadium.