W Connection stormed to the top of the Digicel Pro League standings tonight and booked a spot in the 2012 Caribbean Club Championship with a hard fought 1-0 win over T&TEC at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Connection plays Police on Tuesday in the final fixture before the two leading Pro League clubs are selected to advance to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) tournament.
Caledonia AIA or T&TEC, both two points adrift, can still pass the “Savonetta Boys” but, since the former clubs play each other next Tuesday, either team will effectively be playing for the right to join Connection.
The regular standings tell a slightly different story but first round matches against Defence Force and Police were not considered in the tally for the Caribbean Cup. This oddity was prompted by last year’s State of Emergency, which meant that the six remaining Pro League outfits were unable to play the Servicemen in the first round.
No matter which standings you look at, though, Connection is ahead thanks to a powerful Joevin Jones free kick in the first half, which helped the youthful club to leapfrog the electric company into pole position.
T&TEC slipped to third behind Caledonia AIA who was held to a 1-1 draw against Adam’s Construction San Juan Jabloteh at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar.
Caledonia striker Jamal Gay, who scored the winner for the national under-23 team against Finland last Wednesday, continued his rich form with the opener after just eight minutes. However, Keon Trim conjured up an equalizer in the 28th minute for Jabloteh who dropped from third to fourth place.
In other action yesterday, DirecTV North East Stars overturned a two goal halftime deficit to edge Police 3-2 in Couva while Defence Force also came from behind to defeat St Ann’s Rangers 3-1 in Malabar.
A Trent Noel free kick in the 28th minute and a close range Anton Hutchinson finish in the 34th minute—inspired by another Noel set piece—gave the Lawmen a clear advantage at the interval. However, a double by midfielder Jean-Luc Rochford, an Olympic teammate of Gay and Jones, and a 85th minute winner from Ryan Stewart completed a memorable comeback.
In Malabar, Cameron Roget put Rangers ahead in the 18th minute but Richard Roy had other ideas with a hattrick that included two penalty kicks.
Defence Force’s triumph moved the defending champions to fifth place while Stars trails by goal difference in sixth—the soldiers have played three games less though. Rangers and Police are seventh and eighth respectively in the eight-team table.
Pro League action resumes at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Friday as NE Stars tackles Rangers from 6 pm while Defence Force and Jabloteh clash at 8 pm.
Last Night’s Pro League
W.Connection 1 (Joevin Jones 28), T&TEC 0
NE Stars 3 (Jean-Luc Rochford 69, 72, Ryan Stewart 85), Police 2 (Trent Noel 26, Anton Hutchinson 34)
D/Force 3 (Richard Roy 25, 44 pen, 73 pen), Rangers 1 (Cameron Roget 18)
Caledonia 1 (Jamal Gay 8), Jabloteh 1 (Keon Trim 28)