Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hot ‘Point’

Civic whip Caledonia 2-1

Marcus Joseph, January’s Pro League Player-of-the-Month, continued his goal-scoring hot streak in the Digicel Pro League when he scored two more goals as second-placed Point Fortin Civic FC scored a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Caledonia AIA yesterday evening at Mahaica Oval.

Civic have now won five matches and lost just once in the Pro League for 2014. Joseph is now also the Pro League’s top-scorer with 11 goals, eight of which have come in the last six matches. His goals have come while playing in an attacking midfield position.

Caledonia AIA are the only team to beat Civic in eight matches this year, having won 2-1 on January 3 at Hasely Crawford Stadium. Fifth-placed AIA (20 points) would have overtaken Civic (26 points) on goal-difference with a victory yesterday. And the Morvant-Laventille based visitors got off to a quick start when left midfielder Noel Williams headed in Kareem Joseph’s cross in the eighth minute. Former Caribbean champions Caledonia held the lead at the end of the half, before Joseph’s two second half goals.

A member of Trinidad and Tobago’s 2007 and 2009 FIFA World Cup youth teams, Joseph levelled the scores at 1-1 with a low shot past the goalkeeper in the 66th minute, and put “Point” into a frenzy with a second goal in the 79th, when he turned on Caledonia central defender Nuru Muhammad and slapped a shot past Grenadian keeper Shemel Louison.

Meanwhile, on Friday, North East Stars moved third, although needing a 27th minute Kennedy Hinkson penalty to beat the bottom team, a young St Anns Rangers 1-0 at the Ato Boldon Stadium. And former Vietnam-based striker Willis Plaza scored two second half goals, as Central FC broke a streak of six consecutive drawn matches, with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh. The Sharks, though, still occupy sixth spot on the nine-team standings with 20 points from 14 matches, while Jabloteh have played a match more and are two spots further adrift.

Central led by two first half goals, and were only momentarily uncomfortable in the 55th minute, when Jabloteh striker Adrian Welch put a grounder past goalie Jan Michael Williams from the edge of the penalty area to make the score 2-1.

Four minutes later, Plaza restored the two-goal advantage when getting the first of his two goals.

Recruited from Defence Force, Samuel Delice gave Central FC a fast start, scoring in just the fifth minute of play when he applied a volley onto a re-directed header from the back post. However, Central showed far more urgency than clinical accuracy, and missed several easy chances before midfielder Jason Marcano gave them a second on the stroke of half time. Plaza and Delice could both have had hat-tricks on another day, but were wasteful.

Jabloteh employed curious tactics—benching their two most prominent players Kerry Baptiste and Rennie Britto—with the latter only coming on in the 51st minute. They always looked second best, but hung in there until Marcano got some help from a defender who deflected Rundell Winchester’s cross to the back post where the Central midfielder slid the ball in to make the score 2-0 in the 45th minute.

Welch’s goal was well taken, but somewhat of a surprise given how much Central were dominating. After collecting a cross from the overlapping right-back Nyron Jones, Welch took a touch and buried a low shot from the edge of the penalty area. But, Central soon had a two-goal cushion again when, from close up, Willis Plaza buried a rebound high into the roof of the net. Jabloteh failed to deal with a low shot from the edge of the penalty , and fleet-footed Plaza was first to react after goalkeeper Shane Mattis parried the shot, which came with several players obscuring his view.

As coach Terry Fenwick urged his players forward, Central continued to miss goals. Jamal Jack put a downward header marginally wide, Winchester had an accurately placed shot headed away from out the goalmouth, and goalie Mattis saved shots from goal-shy Delice and Darren Mitchell in quick succession. However, after a neat dribble in the area, Plaza put a low shot past the goalkeeper for the Sharks fourth goal in the 90th minute.