Despite being held to a 2-2 draw by bottom-placed club Marabella Family Crisis Centre, Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa saw their lead atop the National Super League (NSL) Premiership Division stretch to six points yesterday evening, as two of their nearest rivals succumbed to defeats.
Rosa, who were ousted from the NSL Knockout semifinals last Wednesday after a 2-1 defeat to Bethel United in Tobago, were twice pegged back by the struggling visitors as goals by former national players Andrei Pacheco and Juma Clarence proved that Marabella still had some fight left in them.
“Big Cannons” skipper Rashad Griffith, who was sent off in his team’s midweek loss, rebounded with his 17th goal of the NSL season yesterday, although his effort did not propel his team to three points in Macoya.
Griffith and the Keith Look Loy-coached team could feel relieved though, as Defence Force and Club Sando Moruga, who started yesterday’s proceedings in second and third place respectively, both lost at home.
The 2015/16 Premiership champions Defence Force suffered a 2-1 loss to their partners in law, Police FC, at the “Army base” in Chaguaramas, while Moruga were humbled by the free-scoring Siparia Spurs team.
Police, who will accompany Bethel in Wednesday’s Knockout final in Mt Pleasant, again had hitman Jason Boodram to thank, as the diminutive attacker scored in the 85th minute to stop the resurgent Army/Coast Guard connection.
At the Grand Chemin Recreation Ground, Spurs, who are now on a seven game unbeaten run, stormed into a 3-nil lead by the hour mark courtesy a Keston London double and a first half item by Chris Collins.
Moruga rallied as Jessie Edwards pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute. However, Edwards eighth goal of the season was not enough to prevent the Spurs from squeezing Moruga out of third spot. Both teams now sit on 31 points but Siparia has a goal differential of plus-six (+6), while, remarkably, Moruga’s goal difference is minus-three (-3).
In St Joseph, the spectators were treated to a real dandy affair, as WASA FC and the visiting Guaya United played out an eight-goal thriller. Unfortunately for the hosts, they ended up on the wrong side of the goal fiesta as their southern visitors walked away 5-3 victors.
You’ve certainly heard of pent-up frustration, but yesterday fans in St Joseph witnessed pent-up goal action first-hand, as seven of the game’s eight goals were scored in the second half.
Guaya led throughout the contest and they had a Shaquille Ferrier double to thank for their exhilarating victory on the day. And although WASA may have had thoughts of an equalizer when attacker Glen Walker scored to make the game 3-4 in the 82nd minute, Guaya’s Jody Allsop killed off the game with his seventh goal of the season on the stroke of full time.
The theatrics of the “Green Army” of Guaya now see them jump to sixth, while WASA stay languishing in 11th spot on the 14-team table.
Elsewhere, at the Arima Velodrome, the mid-table pair of Matura ReUnited and Petrotrin Palo Seco played to a 2-2 draw. Petrotrin, who conceded five goals in two of their previous three league games, were able to restore order as a second half Renefor Martin double canceled out a 2-nil halftime lead held by Matura.
Meanwhile in Maracas, Bethel United warmed-up for this week’s Knockout battle against Police with a 1-1 draw against Real Maracas. “Beach Soca Warriors” forward Kevon Woodley notched his third goal in as many games for the visitors, but a 75th minute strike by Ricardo Bennett wiped out Bethel’s advantage.
1976 FC Phoenix were also able to head back to Tobago with a point yesterday, as a Dominique Kerr double twice pegged back 13th place Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) at St Mary’s Grounds in St Clair.
Barring Knockout finalists Police and Bethel, the remainder of the Premiership clubs will be able to sneak in some “R and R” over the course of the week as the NSL have not carded any games for the upcoming weekend to due to the observance of Divali celebrations.
Shubh Divali to all then.
NSL Knockout Semifinal Results
(Wednesday 19 October)
Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa 1 (Keron Clarke 49), Bethel United 2 (Kevon Woodley 48, Teejay Cadiz 58), Mt Pleasant, Tobago;
1976 FC Phoenix 0, Police FC 2 (Real Didier 44, Jason Boodram 77), Mt Pleasant, Tobago;
NSL Championship Division Results
(Saturday 22 October)
Cunupia FC 2 (Gorean Highley 21, 68), Youth Stars 1 (Hakeem Legall 9), Ato Boldon Stadium;
Petit Valley/Diego Martin United FC 2 (Own Goal 74, Eric Charles 89), Barrackpore United SC 1 (Mikheil Peters 81), Diego Martin North Sec School;
Saddle Hill Hotspur 3 (Cyrano Glen 44, Hakeem King 64, 67), Central 500 Spartans 1 (Husani Thomas 88), Pascal Rec Grd, Maraval;
Carenage United 0, UTT 6 (Dwayne Nicome 30, Kevaughn Connell 55, Weah Adams 62, Mickel Holder 65, Dillon Bartholomew 76, 88), Dibe Rec Grd, Long Circular;
Prisons FC were on a Bye
NSL Premiership Division Results
(Sunday 23 October)
Club Sando Moruga 1 (Jessie Edwards 63), Siparia Spurs 3 (Keston London 35, 57, Chris Collins 41), Grand Chemin Rec Grd;
Matura Re United 2 (Keston Jones 12, Own Goal 42), Petrotrin Palo Seco 2 (Renefor Martin 52, 70), Arima Velodrome;
Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa 2 (Rashad Griffith 14, Kevon Cornwall 50), Marabella Family Crisis Centre 2 (Andrei Pacheco 28, Juma Clarence 66), Marvin Lee Stadium;
Real Maracas 1 (Ricardo Bennett 75), Bethel United 1 (Kevon Woodley 21), Maracas Valley Rec Grd;
WASA FC 3 (Dwight Crichlow 53, Glen Walker 63, 82), Guaya United 5 (Kerneal Hagley 25, Shaquille Ferrier 49, 67, Brandon Roberts 60, Jody Allsop 90), WASA, St Joseph;
Defence Force 1 (Jamaal Goodridge 44), Police FC 2 (Chase Sealy 13, Jason Boodram 85), DFHQ Chaguaramas;
QPCC 2 (Nasyir Rodriguez 15, Shane Camps 87), 1976 FC Phoenix 2 (Domique Kerr 54, 90), St Mary’s Grd, St Clair;
NSL Knockout Final
(Wednesday 26 October)
Bethel United vs Police FC, 6pm, Mt Pleasant, Tobago;
Upcoming NSL Championship Division Fixtures
(Wednesday 2 November)
Saddle Hill Hotspur vs Youth Stars, 5pm, Pascal Rec Grd, Maraval;
(Saturday 5 November)
UTT vs Barrackpore United SC, 6pm, UTT, O’Meara;
Prisons FC vs Saddle Hill Hotspur, 3:30pm, YTC, Arouca;
Cunupia FC vs Petit Valley/Diego Martin United FC, 3:30pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Central 500 Spartans vs Youth Stars, 5pm, New Settlement Grd;
Carenage United are on a Bye.
Upcoming NSL Premiership Division Fixtures
(Sunday 6 November)
1976 FC Phoenix vs Defence Force, 5pm, Canaan Rec Grd;
Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa vs Police FC, 5pm, Marvin Lee Stadium;
Bethel United vs QPCC, 6pm, Mt Gomery Rec Grd;
Siparia Spurs vs Marabella Family Crisis Centre, 5pm, Irwin Park, Siparia;
Petrotrin Palo Seco vs Real Maracas, 6pm, Palo Seco Velodrome;
Guaya United vs Club Sando Moruga, 3:30pm, New Lands Grd, Guaya;
Matura ReUnited vs WASA FC, 3:30pm, Matura Rec Grd.