The Sports and Games “Big Cannons” FC Santa Rosa managed to hold on to their three point lead atop the 2016/2017 National Super League (NSL) Premiership Division standings after battling to a 2-2 draw with second-place Defence Force in Chaguaramas yesterday.
Yesterday’s showdown was touted as a “real heavyweight matchup” and Santa Rosa coach Keith Look Loy appealed that the “best referees” be appointed for the top-of-the-table clash— likely after being on the wrong end of a few calls in recent matches. With just five games to go in the Premiership season—and only three points separating the two teams—much was at stake.
The Defence Force team—an Army/Coast Guard hybrid—had been humbled by Santa Rosa earlier in the season, but as last season’s Premiership winners, they were not about to give up home turf easily.
The defending champs stormed to a 2-0 lead just before the interval as goals by Akil Morris and Keston Williams in the 39th and 41st minutes, respectfully, put this year’s leaders on the back foot.
The Cannons, who only managed a sixth place finish last season, were undeterred, and clawed their way back into the match with a 62nd minute shocker by Kevon Cornwall to halve the deficit, and then 11 minutes from full time, Keron Clarke converted a penalty to notch his 12th goal for the season.
Both teams are back in action on Sunday, as Santa Rosa look to extend their three-point lead when they pay a visit to Siparia Spurs, while the Defense Force heads to Tobago to tackle Bethel United.
In other gameplay, Club Sando Moruga managed to nudged their way up to third place—just seven points from the top— with an at-home 2-1 win over seventh spot Matura Re United 2-1 at Grand Chemin Recreation Ground.
Relegation-threatened Marabella Family Crisis Centre had no such home side advantage, as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against Guaya United in Guaracara Park. Marabella, who are bottom of the 14-team table and five points behind 13th placed Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC), had initially taken the lead on the half hour mark through former national player Andrei Pacheco. However, Guaya came to the party after the restart, and a Kevin Jagdeosingh double saw them take the lead in the 62nd minute, with Jody Allsop putting the icing on the cake with a walloping 74th minute strike.
Bethel United, who clinched this season’s Knockout trophy last month with a win over Police, weren’t as fortunate yesterday as they fell 3-2 to 1976 FC Phoenix at Tobago’s Canaan Recreation Ground. The Bethel boys probably weren’t feeling the vibes as they found themselves three goals down by the hour mark. A 62nd minute goal by Densyl James and another by Omarr Charles ten minutes later could have given Bethel hopes of a miraculous comeback, but it wasn’t to be.
Real Maracas were thoroughly thumped as WASA FC opened the floodgates, slamming five goals past the home team. The cracks in Maracas’ defense only became more apparent in the second half as four of those five goals came in the last 25 minutes. WASA attackers Glen Walker and Nathan Julien were the key to WASA’s victory, scoring multiple goals each.
Elsewhere, Police and Siparia Spurs played to a 2-2 draw at the St James Barracks, while QPCC and Petrotrin Palo Seco played to a similar scoreline at St Mary’s Ground in St Clair.
NSL Championship Division Results
Saturday 12 November
UTT 3 (Dillon Bartholomew 50, 69, Own goal 64), Central 500 Spartans 0 at UTT, O’Meara;
Youth Stars 4 (Hakeem Legall 20, Raoul Trotman 43, Uriah Palmer 89, Jelani Mitchell 90), Petit Valley/Diego Martin United FC 1 (Samuel Delice 18) at Speyside;
Saddle Hill Hotspur 3 (Kevon Durham 55, Stern John 76, Steffon Ragoo 83), Carenage United 0 at Pascal Recreation Ground, Maraval;
The match between Barrackpore United SC and Prisons FC did not play;
Cunupia FC were on a Bye.
NSL Premiership Division Results
(Sunday 13 November)
Defence Force 2 (Akil Morris 39, Keston Williams 41), Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa 2 (Kevon Cornwall 62, Keron Clarke 79) at Defence Force Headquarters, Chaguaramas;
1976 FC Phoenix 3 (LeJandro Williams 7, Dominique Kerr 28, Jonathan Cadiz 57), Bethel United 2 (Densyl James 62, Omarr Charles 72) at Canaan Recreation Ground;
Police FC 2 (Kareem Perry 42, Own goal 65), Siparia Spurs 2 (Marcus Kelly 28, Andy London 62) at St James Barracks;
QPCC 2 (Kevaughn John 60, Jared Bennett 90), Petrotrin Palo Seco 2 (Tigana Sparks 5, Brent Garcia 50) at St Mary’s Grounds, St Clair;
Marabella Family Crisis Centre 1 (Andrei Pacheco 30), Guaya United 3 (Kevin Jagdeosingh 51, 62, Jody Allsop 74) at Guaracara Park;
Real Maracas 0, WASA FC 5 (Glen Walker 4, 70, Nathan Julien 66, 69, Phillip Nelson 90) at Maracas Valley Recreation Ground;
Club Sando Moruga 2 (Jamal John 7, Akeil London 62), Matura Re United 1 (Keston Jones 35) at Grand Chemin Recreation Ground.
Upcoming NSL Championship Division Fixtures
(Saturday 19 November)
Petit Valley/Diego Martin United vs Carenage United, 3:30pm, Diego Martin North Secondary School;
Prisons FC vs Youth Stars, 3:30pm, YTC, Arouca;
Central 500 Spartans vs Barrackpore United SC, 3:30pm, Hugo Francis Recreation Ground;
UTT vs Cunupia FC, 6pm, UTT, O’Meara;
Saddle Hill Hotspur are on a Bye.
Upcoming NSL Premiership Division Fixtures
(Wednesday 16 November)
Police FC vs WASA FC, 3:30pm, St James Barracks.
Upcoming NSL Premiership Division Fixtures
(Sunday 20 November)
Petrotrin Palo Seco vs 1976 FC Phoenix, 6pm, Palo Seco Velodrome;
Guaya United vs Police FC, 4pm, New Lands Ground, Guaya;
Club Sando Moruga vs Real Maracas, 3:30pm, Grand Chemin Recreation Ground;
Bethel United vs Defence Force, 6pm, Mount Gomery Recreation Ground;
Siparia Spurs vs Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa, 5pm, Irwin Park, Siparia;
WASA FC vs QPCC, 3:30pm, WASA, St Joseph;
Matura Re United vs Marabella Family Crisis Centre, 3:30pm, Arima Velodrome.