A 75th minute item from Jamal Gay—his first goal of the season—kept San Juan Jabloteh’s momentum going as they recorded their third win from four Pro League outings this term with a 1-0 triumph over Ma Pau Stars at the Barataria Recreation Ground, Barataria.
Jabloteh are now on nine points and tied at the top of the table with defending champions, Central FC, although the latter team has a game in hand. Central play sixth placed Morvant Caledonia from 8pm tomorrow at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva while seventh placed W Connection face table proppers Point Fortin Civic from 6pm in the first game of a double header at the Couva venue.
Stars, on the other hand, slipped to fourth place yesterday with their second defeat of the season.
Coach Russ Russell was without ill veteran striker Jason Scotland and winger Hayden Tinto and rarely troubled Jabloteh on the day, although the contest on the whole lacked goalmouth action.
In the 15th minute, Jabloteh striker Willis Plaza played winger Noel Williams through on goal only for the latter player to hook his shot wide at the far post. The next proper goal attempt came in the 62nd minute as Jabloteh flanker Tyrone Charles almost split the bar with a left footed rocket from 25 yards that rebounded to safety.
Otherwise, the most memorable action in Barataria came from the mosquitoes. They pressed in numbers, tackled incessantly and rarely missed the target.
At this rate, the Barataria Recreation Ground should probably come with a health warning. Or the Pro League should announce Mosquito FC as its 11th team. Either way, football fans were not hopping from side to side and slapping themselves because of the action on the field yesterday and the pests ought to be an immediate concern for the Jabloteh management.
Just when patrons looked to have suffered for nought, though, Gay at least offered something for Jabloteh supporters to applaud as he redirected an Elijah Manners corner kick past his former Under-20 World Cup teammate and Stars custodian Glenroy Samuel.
Gay did not appear to make clean contact. Maybe it came off his shoulder. Or maybe a mosquito had the final touch.
It was three points to Jabloteh all the same.
San Juan Jabloteh (4-2-2-2): 35.Andrew Durant (GK); 18.Jevon Morris (captain), 17.Josiah Trimmingham, 24.Adrian Reid, 6.Akeem Benjamin (15.Jerome McIntyre); 12.Kion Joseph, 5.Elijah Belgrave; 19.Noel Williams, 10.Tyrone Charles (16.Brent Sam); 7.Jamal Gay, 9.Willis Plaza (23.Kennedy Hinkson).
Unused substitutes: 36.Raheem Belgrave (GK), 8.Keyon Edwards.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
Ma Pau Stars (4-2-3-1): 22.Glenroy Samuel (GK); 2.Carlos Edwards, 25.Keryn Navarro, 19.Glenton Wolfe, 16.Kareem Eastman; 8.Adrian Noel, 11.Elton John; 10.Jerrel Britto, 14.Chike Sullivan (4.Kerry Baptiste 57), 7.Kerry Daniel (18.Collin Samuel); 23.Anthony Wolfe (captain).
Unused substitutes: 1.Shane Mattis (GK), 3.Hakim Baird, 6.Neil Benjamin, 12.Sayid Freitas, 20.Quincy Charles.
Coach: Ross Russell
Man of the Match: Kion Joseph (Jabloteh)
Pro League results
(Friday 21 October)
Club Sando 3 (Keithy Simpson 53, 78, Akeem Humphrey 85), Defence Force 2 (Hashim Arcia 35, Sean Narcis 45) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
St Ann’s Rangers 2 (Dylon King 32, Marvin Lee 90+2), Police FC 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;
(Sunday 23 October)
San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Jamal Gay 75), Ma Pau Stars 0 at Barataria Recreation Ground;
(Tuesday 24 October)
W Connection vs Point Fortin Civic, 6pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Central FC vs Morvant Caledonia Utd, 8pm, Ato Boldon Stadium.