FEARED STRIKER: Defence Force defender Devin Jordon gives his full attention to Central FC’s Tobago-born striker Rundell Winchester, left during Friday night’s First Citizens Cup final at Hasely Crawford Staidum, which Central won 2-1 thanks to Winchester’s winner. He also registered three strikers on Tuesday night at Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, to help Central “Sharks” shut out Point Fortin Civic FC 3-0 in a Digicel Pro League encounter.
—Photo: Stephen Doobay.
Good day for Central teams
...Central FC, Connection get 3-0 wins
Ian Prescott email@example.com
Point Fortin Civic have hung almost leech-like onto Directv W Connection for the early part of this Digicel Pro League football season, until they were finally removed on Tuesday night.
Pro League leaders W Connection beat North East Stars 2-0 two nights ago and are still perfect after four league matches, but Civic lost for the first time when defeated 3-0 by Rundell Winchester’s hat-trick against newly-crowned First Citizen Cup champions Central FC.
W Connection always looked likely winners despite a determined effort by Stars to not be beaten. The eventual winners needed only to be patient. But inexperienced Civic wilted under unyielding high pressure from The “Sharks”, coached by former England defender Terry Fenwick. It first seemed like midweek Pro League football had failed to entice a crowd to Couva, until “Point” turned up later. Suddenly, the covered stand swelled with fans and noise.
First up, W Connection kayoed Stars, then watched their nearest rival Civic fall. Stars ‘keeper Cleon John twice had his fingertips stung by Joevin Jones and also by Jerrel Britto, all in a goalless first half. But both W Connection strikers would score in the second period.
Finally, the breakthrough came from Britto in the 67th, and embarrassingly from a low shot through the Stars goalie’s legs. But John had absolutely no chance four minutes later when Jones left fly from outside the penalty area in the 70th, his shot rocketing off his left foot into the top of the net. When finally W Connection custodian Jelani Archibald was tested in the 54th by Trevin Caesar’s surprise mid-range shot, the ‘keeper brought off a spectacular save to deflect the ball that looked bound for the far corner.
Civic Centre fans were the more aggrieved lot in the feature match, where a pattern was set early when Central skipper Jason Marcano took out opposing captain Kelvin Modeste with a heavy challenge in the opening seconds. Jamaican midfielder Toric Robinson then congratulated Marcano as if he had made a clever pass. Civic were clearly unsettled by a combination of pressure and tough tackles--both legal and illegal.
Point survived an early mistake when ‘keeper Miguel Payne rushed out wildly and slipped, leaving Rundell Winchester, one of the League’s deadliest strikers, with an open goal in the tenth minute. Winchester’s shot, though, hit the side-netting from an angle. Payne later made up with a nice save from Marcano’s long-range left-footer five minutes later.
But Winchester also atoned with a clinical low finish to the far post from Marvin Oliver’s pass for the opening goal in the 21st minute. And despite the 1-0 lead for Central, Fenwick was still shouting at the top of his lungs, Point were momentarily silenced.
Winchester’s growing reputation for speed then served Central well and gave them a 2-0 advantage in just the 46th minute. Payne would have been favourite to get to the rebound after a raid from Darrin Mitchell was stopped by hard tackling. But Winchester turned on the jets, picked up the rebound and rounded the goalkeeper to score into an unguarded net. Winchester completed his hat-trick in the 49th after forcing a low shot home although the match referee had to decide whether the ball entered the goal before Payne gathered it.
Later, Keon Trim also got past the Civic ‘keeper in the 65th, but hit the near upright.
Bloodied, but not yet beaten, Civic had goal-scoring chances of their own. In the first half, Andre Toussaint produced an incisive through ball, but just on the wrong side of Keron Neptune. Toussaint also put a diving header wide late in the match, and Neptune too eluded Central goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams, only to have his low shot spectacularly cleared out of the empty goal by athletic defender Jamal Jack.
Civic just couldn’t catch a break.