Super League outfit, Stokely Vale, produced the biggest shock of the season thus far with a 6-5 penalty kicks win over Caribbean Club champions and present Pro League leaders Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA in yesterday’s Toyota Classic Cup action.
Stokely Vale never trailed during regulation time and was leading 3-1 with just six minutes minute left before the “Eastern Stallions” scraped in two late goals. But the Tobago club would not be denied as it held its nerve against the Morvant/Laventille-based team that lifted the regional crown on penalties this year.
It was an unhappy evening for Caledonia coach Jamaal Shabazz who, hours before, had been confirmed as the new joint Trinidad and Tobago head coach alongside present interim appointment Hutson “Barber” Charles.
Stokely Vale will now play North East Stars in the first of two Toyota Classic semifinals from 7 pm on Friday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Defending Pro League champions DIRECTV W Connection face Defence Force from 9 pm in the second semifinal at the same venue.
Defence Force was in no mood to be charitable to its Super League opponent yesterday as the army/coast guard combination mauled West Side Starz 7-0. Josimar Belgrave bagged his second hattrick of the season while Jemel Sebro got a double and Ross Russell Jr and Devorn Jorsling chipped in a goal apiece.
W Connection did not mess about with WASA FC either. Jerrel Britto scored twice and Hashim Arcia and Shahdon Winchester got one item each as the “Savonetta Boys” eliminated the Super League club.
In the remaining Classic fixture, Dexter Cyrus marked his return to the T&TEC coaching post with a heavy 6-2 loss against North East Stars. Cyrus replaced Jefferson George at the helm of a T&TEC team that has been operating at semi-professional level at best as employees have allegedly been unable to get time off to train.
Last season, a Cyrus-led T&TEC was the Pro League’s surprise package although the south-based team still ended without a trophy. But the reality is very different this season due to a lack of investment by the State-owned company and the Sangre Grande-based Stars showed little mercy.
Kaydion Gabriel and 2006 World Cup striker Cornell Glen both notched doubles while Kerry Baptiste and Micah Lewis also scored for Stars. Tigana Sparks and Daniel Garcia responded for T&TEC.
But Stokely Vale was the talk of the round with its second successive victory over Pro League opposition and further tangible evidence of the abilities outside of Trinidad and Tobago’s top flight competition.
Last Friday, the Tobagonians embarrassed Police FC 5-0 at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet. Rondell Winchester scored twice against Police and he was on target again yesterday while Deon Thomas and Travis Winchester were also on the score sheet.
North East Stars is next for the Tobago giant killers.
Toyota Classic Quarterfinals
Stokely Vale 3 (Deon Thomas 20, Rondell Wichester 29, Travis Winchester 50), Caledonia AIA 3 (Kareem Joseph 48 pen, Aubrey David 85, Trayon Bobb 89) at Hasely Crawford
*–Stokely Vale won 6-5 on penalties
Defence Force 7 (Jemel Sebro 11, 34, Josimar Belgrave 39, 66, 81, Ross Russell Jr 71, Devorn Jorsling 86), West Side Starz 0 at Hasely Crawford
North East Stars 6 (Kaydion Gabriel 1, 42, Kerry Baptiste 51, Micah Lewis 62, Cornell Glen 74, 84), T&TEC 2 (Tigana Sparks 50, Daniel Garcia 87) at Marabella
W Connection 4 (Jerrel Britto 35, 86, Hashim Arcia 45, Shahdon Winchester 90), WASA 0 at Marabella
Toyota Classic Semifinal Fixtures
(Fri Nov 30)
North East Stars v Stokely Vale, 7 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium
W Connection v Defence Force, 9 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium