Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh secured a spot in the qualification stages of the 2017/18 CONCACAF qualifying stage yesterday evening, after defeating Japs North East Stars 1-0 in a feisty affair at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.
The win took Jabloteh to 54 points and out of reach of Defence Force, who could only muster a 1-1 draw against Morvant Caledonia United at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar.
Defence Force finished ahead of DirecTV W Connection in third place. But it is champions Central FC and Jabloteh who will represent the Pro League in next year’s regional club competition. It will be Jabloteh’s first performance in the showcase tournament since 2010.
Tyrone Charles, who played on the left wing of a 4-2-3-1 formation, scored the lone goal to assure the San Juan-based club of a spot in the Confederation’s top club tournament, only three years after they were forced to drop out of the Pro League due to financial constraints.
The defining moment came in the 60th minute when midfielder Keyon Edwards played a diagonal ball from deep within the Jabloteh half to Charles on the left flank.
Charles dribbled into the box while his shot from 10 yards deflected off a recovering defender to beat Stars goalkeeper Shane Mattis at his near post.
Mattis was deputising for Glenroy Samuel, who is on duty with the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team in Peru, while Stars coach Ross Russell said his usual second choice, Cleon John, was unwell.
The game began at a high tempo, with Jabloteh attacking midfielder Fabien Reid involved in most of his team’s attacks.
Reid, a pacy dribbler, forced Mattis into a brilliant double save in the fourth minute while he also created opportunities for skipper Damian Williams, lanky striker Jamal Gay and Charles, which neither player could take.
North East Stars workman-like attitude did not make things easy by any means, as they constantly applied pressure and passed the ball accurately with midfield maestro Ryan “Fry” Stewart involved in most of their build up play.
Jabloteh continued to create chances. But, in the end, Charles’ goal was enough to settle the contest and secure Jabloteh a Champions League qualifying spot for next year.
San Juan Jabloteh (4-2-3-1): 30.Shemel Louison (GK); 18.Jevon Morris (4.Garth Thomas 34), 21.Aquil Selby, 24.Adrian Reid, 6.Akeem Benjamin; 8.Keyon Edwards, 11.Damian Williams (captain); 23.Kennedy Hinkson (2.Noel Williams 73), 13.Fabian Reid (9.Brent Sam 77), 10.Tyrone Charles; 7.Jamal Gay.
Unused Substitutes: 35.Andrew Durant (GK), 2.Noel Williams, 14.Sean Bonval, 17.Josiah Trimmingham, 20.Aaquil Campbell.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
North East Stars F.C. (4-1-4-1): 1.Shane Mattis (GK); 3.Kion Joseph (Jean Luc Rochford 73), 25.Keryn Navarro, 19.Glenton Wolfe, 4.Jesus Perez; 21.Neil Mitchell; 24 Adrian Noel (14.Chike Sullivan 61), 5.Ryan Stewart, 26.Anthony Wolfe (captain), 7.Kerry Daniel (Brendan Figuera 72nd); 40.Kerry Baptiste.
Unused Substitutes: 22.Cleon John (GK), 27.Quincy Charles, 29.Hakim Baird, 41.Reon Moore.
Coach: Ross Russell
Referee: Dennis Changiah
Man of the Match: Fabien Reid (San Juan Jabloteh)
Pro League results
(Saturday May 21)
Defence Force 1 (Jerwyn Balthazar 57), Morvant Caledonia United 1 (Akim Armstrong 33) at Larry Gomes Stadium;
San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Tyrone Charles 61), North East Stars 0 at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
Point Fortin Civic 5 (Jamille Boatswain 5, 45, Shane Garraway 50, Sylvester Teesdale 68, Bevon Bass 90), Police FC 0 at Mahaica Oval;
(Friday May 20)
Central FC 7 (Ricardo John 14, 48, 60, Jason Marcano 63, 66, 90, Kadeem Corbin 84), St Ann’s Rangers 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Club Sando 2 (Kevon Woodley 22, Akeem Humphrey 38), W Connection 5 (Malik St Prix 9, 58, Dimitrie Apai 68, Andre Toussaint 79, 83) at Ato Boldon Stadium.