Defending Pro League champions Bankers Insurance Central FC lost consecutive league matches for only the second time this season yesterday, as the “Couva Sharks” were edged 1-0 by DIRECTV W Connection at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Trinidad and Tobago international midfielder Hughtun Hector got a late winner in the 89th minute, as Connection threw a wobble in the title aspirations of their bitter Couva rivals.
Central remain three points clear of Connection—who jumped from third to second place—and four ahead of Defence Force and Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh, although the Sharks have a game in hand over the chasing pack.
Bear in mind, though, that the last time Central lost successive games, they sacked their coach, Ross Russell.
Even a loss to Connection in Friday’s Lucozade Sport Goal Shield semifinal is unlikely to be terminal to current Central coach Dale Saunders, who has done a wonderful job at the helm so far.
But Saunders, who was assistant coach to Zoran Vranes, Terry Fenwick and Russell, will know that the Central hierarchy are prone to jitters when the pressure is on.
Elsewhere in the Pro League, Jabloteh defender Josiah Trimmingham scored his first goal of the season in the last minute as the “San Juan Kings” came from behind to edge Police FC 3-2 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Police FC forward and the Pro League’s leading marksman, Makesi Lewis, was among the goals for the “Lawmen”, who led 2-1 with five minutes to go, only for former Trinidad and Tobago national youth team players Brent Sam and Trimmingham to strike late to snatch three points for Jabloteh.
Jabloteh have 42 points and trail third placed Defence Force on goal difference while they are just one point shy of second placed W Connection.
Defence Force’s woes continued at the Ato Boldon Stadium, as their 3-1 loss to Club Sando was their fourth defeat in five successive matches.
Club Sando utility player Devon Modeste was on target again yesterday with his 10th league goal this season, which lifted him to seventh in the scoring charts.
In other Pro League action, veteran marksman Kerry Baptiste scored twice as North East Stars whipped Point Fortin Civic 3-0 to move within five points of a CONCACAF Champions League berth with four league games remaining.
And there were signs of life at the bottom of the table where St Ann’s Rangers edged Morvant Caledonia United 1-0 on a Trevin Latapy penalty to pull within two points of ninth placed Point Fortin.
Rangers are now unbeaten in their last four outings in all competitions, excluding their penalty shootout defeat to Central in the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield quarterfinal round.
Rangers can climb off the bottom of the table on Wednesday April 20 when they face Point Fortin from 4 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar.
Higher up the standings, North East Stars need a major scalp to stay in contention for one of two Champions League spots when they tackle Defence Force from 9 pm on Tuesday April 19 in the second game of a Hasely Crawford Stadium double header.
Central FC face Morvant Caledonia in the earlier fixture from 7 pm at the same venue and, surely, nothing but three points would do for Saunders.
At the Ato Boldon Stadium, W Connection and Jabloteh clash from 8 pm on April 19 in a vital fixture for the Champions League race—and the “Savonetta Boys” would be anxious to stay close to the frontrunners in case of a late meltdown by the Sharks.
In the second Tuesday fixture at Couva, there will be pride at stake as sixth place Police meet seventh place Club Sando with Lewis and Modeste both keen to showcase their offensive prowess.
(Tuesday April 4)
Club Sando 3 (Devon Modeste 31, Jesse Downing 48, Akeem Humphrey 83), Defence Force 1 (Kellon Serrette 24) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
W Connection 1 (Hughtun Hector 89), Central FC 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Morvant Caledonia Utd 0, St Ann’s Rangers 1 (Trevin Latapy 2 pen) at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
Police FC 2 (Makesi Lewis 19, Dylon King 33), San Juan Jabloteh 3 (Sean Bonval 6, Brent Sam 85, Josiah Trimmingham 90) at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
North East Stars 3 (Kerry Baptiste 6, 25, Jean-Luc Rochford 85), Point Fortin Civic 0 at Larry Gomes Stadium;
Upcoming Lucozade Sport Goal Shield fixtures
(Friday April 15)
Morvant Caledonia United v Police FC, 6 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Central FC v W Connection, 8 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Upcoming League fixtures
(Tuesday April 19)
Club Sando v Police FC, 6 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
W Connection v San Juan Jabloteh, 8 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Morvant Caledonia v Central FC, 7 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium;
Defence Force v North East Stars, 9 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium;
(Wednesday April 20)
St Ann’s Rangers v Point Fortin Civic, 4 pm, Larry Gomes Stadium;
Pro League Standings
(Tabulated as Won-Drawn-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)
Central FC 22-14-4-4-48-16–46
W Connection 23-12-7-4-46-21-43
Defence Force 23-12-6-5-49-19-42
North East 23-11-5-7-38-43-38
Police FC 23-10-4-9-49-45-34
Club Sando 22-8-3-11-27-39-27
Caledonia Utd 23-5-3-15-23-50–18
Point Fortin 23-4-4-15-19-49-16
Editor’s Note: The Pro League initially sent the wrong scorers for the San Juan Jabloteh fixture. We apologise for the error.