Trinidad and Tobago national team goalkeeper Marvin Phillip was mysteriously demoted last night by his employer, Point Fortin Civic, and Central FC took full advantage as a Rundell Winchester hattrick helped the “Couva Sharks” to a 3-0 win at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
The result ended Point Fortin’s 100 percent record in the Digicel Pro League competition and was the first regulation time defeat suffered by the deep-south team in all competitions this season.
Earlier in Couva, DIRECTV W Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier enjoyed another perfect outing as the “Savonetta Boys” defeated bogey team, North East Stars, 2-0 to remain the only top flight team with maximum points this term.
There was relief for defending champion club, Defence Force, in Port of Spain as the army/coast guard combination got its first win of the season with a 3-2 triumph over the struggling Caledonia AIA.
2013 Gold Cup player Jamal Gay and ex-Caledonia striker Devorn Jorsling traded doubles for Caledonia and the “Teteron Boys” respectively before Defence Force coach Ross Russell’s son, Ross Russell Jr, got the winner in the 87th minute.
It capped off a happy day for servicemen as Police FC downed San Juan Jabloteh 4-2 in the first game of yesterday’s Port of Spain double header.
Kerry “El Corbeux” Baptiste continued his blistering scoring record for Jabloteh from the penalty spot and the 31-year-old attacker has scored in every outing this season with a League-high eight goals in all competitions with five items from three Pro League appearances.
It was not enough to prevent a second successive League defeat for Jabloteh as Police, inspired by an Akiba Peters double, moved into fifth place with its first win of the season.
In Couva, Connection made light of some early season internal issues as Fevrier’s men moved to four League wins from as many games with 13 goals scored and just two conceded. And this is despite a two-match ban for its two stellar players, Joevin Jones and Daneil Cyrus, and the month-long absence of talented Brazilian midfielder Celio Da Silva who recently returned home to get married.
Last season, Connection failed to defeat Stars in regulation time after six meetings. Stars won three and drew one while Connection edged the Sangre Grande-based team in two Cup finals via penalty shoot outs.
But, despite the threat posed by nippy Stars striker Trevin Caesar, Connection protected the ball well yesterday and the result was never in doubt.
Fine defensive blocks by Stars captain Cleon John and utility player Jayson Joseph denied Connection captain Jones and midfielder Gerard Williams as the game was goalless after the first hour.
But ex-Trinidad and Tobago national youth striker Jerrel Britto finally broke the Stars resistance in the 67th minute with a tidy finish through John’s legs after a clever build up that involved Hashim Arcia and Brazilian right back Joao Ananias.
And Jones put an exclamation mark on Connection’s outing with a 22-yard rocket, five minutes later, that flew into the top right hand corner to secure a deserved win.
The League leaders could be even stronger this weekend as Da Silva has put marital bliss to one side to resume his domestic commitments with Connection.
In contrast, the honeymoon looks to be over for Point Fortin Civic as the rookie team was humbled 3-0 by Central in Couva.
As surprising as the final score was the sight of national goalkeeper, Phillip, among the substitutes while 24-year-old Miguel Payne took guard between the uprights.
Last season, Payne was not even Civic’s first choice custodian when the club competed two divisions lower in the Southern Football Association (SFA) division. And he did not have a magical debut against the hungry Sharks last night.
“The game was a little too big for our third-string keeper,” said Civic coach Reynold Carrington, whose back-up goalie, Akini Adams, is with his ailing brother Akeem Adams in Hungary. “There were a few internal issues that unsettled us a little so we had to go with Payne and he did his best.”
Phillip was Central FC’s captain last season but missed the chance to face his former employer last night as he spent the night on the substitutes’ bench.
“It is something we are dealing with internally right now,” said Carrington, who suggested that Phillip should play this weekend.
The first sign of unreliability between the posts came as early as the 12th minute when Payne charged off his goal line but failed to gather the ball and Winchester shot wastefully into the side netting from an acute angle.
Payne might have gained some confidence in the 19th minute when he went full stretch to keep out a Jason Marcano rocket. But the debutante goalkeeper was caught flat footed when Winchester hooked home the opener in the 21st minute after an assist from veteran playmaker Marvin Oliver.
And Payne was horrible exposed by his defenders and his own positioning for Central’s second, which came seconds after the resumption, as Winchester stripped Andre Ettienne on the edge of penalty area before tapping into an unprotected net.
Three minutes later, the Civic custodian failed to hold on to a Winchester header, which crept over the line after a deep Marcano free kick and Carrington’s men were in danger of a rout.
“If we have to remain at this level, these are the types of situation we will have to face,” Carrington told Wired868. “We didn’t compete as well as we should have and I think Central was ahead of us in getting to every ball…
“I think it was a game of significance for us as a club. From here on, it will make us decide where we want to go to as a team.”
Carrington, a former Trinidad and Tobago international stand-out and Connection captain, showed his own boldness as he used all three changes in the 51st minute; and Civic went from 4-2-3-1 to an ambitious 3-2-3-2 system.
There was a flicker of hope too as substitute Bevon Bass broke clear in the 58th minute, opened his body and skilfully dragged the ball past Central custodian and “Soca Warrior” Jan-Michael Williams. Somehow, Jamal Jack recovered to clear Bass’ goalbound effort off the line to the dismay of over 800 partisan supporters.
“Bass took a little too long in my opinion,” said Carrington. “In a game like that, you have to see that aggression to put away the ball.”
Andre Toussaint missed another excellent chance for Point Fortin as his diving header flashed wide at the far post although Central might have had two items as well as substitute Keon Trim hit one effort off an upright and saw a second acrobatically cleared by Ettienne.
But there were no further goals.
Central coach Terry Fenwick punched the air in delight at the final whistle as the Sharks, who have a game in hand, moved into third place with seven points, which is five less than leaders Connection.
Civic is in second spot with 10 points. Carrington assured Point’s passionate fan base that yesterday’s result was only a blip and urged them to continue their fantastic support.
“We are still gelling and trying to put the pieces together but we will get it right,” said Carrington. “The loss last night did not deflate us… Our fans continued supporting us all the way to the end, which was good. I want to beg them to continue doing that.
“We will try to continue to play good football and encourage the fans to support us.”
Civic will try to rebound straightaway on Friday night but it won’t be easy as the rookies face Connection from 8 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium. Hopefully, Carrington will have a Phillip handy.
Point Fortin Civic (4-2-3-1): 22.Miguel Payne (GK); 2.Garyl Doldron, 4.Weslie John, 5.Andre Ettienne, 3.Lyndon Diaz (17.Glen Sutton 51); 6.Kelvin Modeste (captain), 19.Andrei Pacheco; 9.Matthew Bartholomew (20.Sylvester Teesdale 51), 11.Andre Toussaint, 15.Keron Neptune; 21.Andre Alexis (14.Bevon Bass 51).
Unused substitutes: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 29.Kevin Rouse, 18.Akeem Redhead, 23.Kelvin Hernandez.
Coach: Reynold Carrington
Central FC (4-2-3-1): 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK); 24.Akeem Benjamin, 19.Dwight Pope, 12.Jamal Jack, 3.Keion Goodridge; 6.Toric Robinson, 10.Marvin Oliver (vice-captain); 13.Johan Peltier (22.Keon Trim 62), 7.Jason Marcano (captain) (18.Kevon Goddard 81), 11.Darren Mitchell (9.Dwight Quintero 71); 17.Rundell Winchester.
Unused substitutes: 25.Javon Sample (GK), 4.Omar Charles, 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 16.Akil De Freitas, 23.Hector Sam.
Coach: Terry Fenwick
Referee: Neal Brizan
Pro League Results
(Tue Oct 22)
W Connection 2 (Jerrel Britto 67, Joevin Jones 72), North East Stars 0 at Ato Boldon
Central FC 3 (Rundell Winchester 21, 46, 49), Point Fortin Civic 0 at Ato Boldon
Police FC 4 (Todd Ryan 2, Akiba Peters 9, 30, Dwayne Salazar 90), San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Jevon Morris 45, Kerry Baptiste 69 pen) at Hasely Crawford
Defence Force 3 (Devorn Jorsling 40, 82, Ross Russell Jr 72), Caledonia AIA 2 (Jamal Gay 2, 47) at Hasely Crawford
Upcoming Pro League Fixtures
(Fri Oct 25)
Central FC vs Police FC, 6 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Point Fortin Civic vs W Connection, 8 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
(Sat Oct 26)
Defence Force vs St Ann’s Rangers, 5 pm, Marvin Lee Stadium;
Caledonia AIA vs San Juan Jabloteh, 7 pm, Marvin Lee Stadium.[standings league_id=1 template=extend logo=true]