Strong defence, edges strong offence most times.
So, there was every likelihood defensively-moulded North East Stars would defend doggedly, after taking an early lead from their top-three Pro League football match against Neal and Massy Caledonia AIA at Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday night.
Nicknamed “Mouse”, 24 year-old Tobago striker Trevin Caesar twice sneaked through the Caledonia AIA backline to score on either side of half time, as “Stars” got a 2-0 victory over his former team. Victory kept them in second spot, while Caledonia stayed third despite the defeat. Ironically, around the same time last season, Caesar scored the lone goal when Caledonia edged Stars 1-0.
Caesar’s low shot from just inside the penalty area in the 14th minute provided the only goal of the first half. Afterward, Caledonia pressed for much of the match, with Stars playing on the counter-attack, and securing full points when Caesar got a second goal two minutes from the end of regulation time.
Earlier, Lambeau-born Caesar also had a shot cleared off the goal line at the last second, and had a penalty shout turned down as well.
Once in front , the Angus Eve-coached Stars put up their trade mark pressing defence, which has seem them concede just six goals in ten matches this season. Caesar is all hustle and bustle and in typical fashion, he was fully-stretched but still got off a shot as the tackles came.
The ball went low and hard, surprising Caledonia’s Jamaican keeper Kevin Graham for the opening goal.
Caesar’s goal apart, the first half had very few chances, but good football nevertheless.
Keryn Navarro’s run from midfield into the penalty box almost gave Stars a second on the half hour, but he did not get good power when heading Aquil Selby’s long ball into the box.
The high profile Caledonia attack, including Jamal Gay, Densill Theobald, Nathan Lewis, Akim Armstrong and overlapping Noel Williams at right-back, was stifled for long periods.
Caledonia had their fair share of the ball, but everything they did was challenged. So the passes were too quick, and not always falling as anticipated. One chance came their way as the first half ended, when Lewis’ shot was charged down, but spun close to a post before going for a corner.
Gay was also on the end of Williams’ cross in the 59th, but was taken wide enough by Stars central defender Glenton Wolfe, and later the Stars right back Kennedy Hinkson stopped Lewis heading in Williams’ cross at the back post by getting his body between attacker and ball. It was otherwise a routine night for Stars keeper Cleon John.
Stars played exclusively on the counter-attack, with Caesar being the main attacking threat. Caesar almost got a second on the hour when a great piece of improvisation saw him flick the ball past the AIA keeper, but central defender Nuru Muhammad ran back to clear at the last second.
Caesar also seemed to have won a penalty three minutes into the second half, when Aubrey David appeared to clip him from behind as the “mouse” dangerously weaved between the last two defenders. However, the referee was uninterested. But attacking the same two players late in the match, Caesar successfully split them to score his second goal.
DIGICEL PRO LEAGUE RESULTS
W Connection 2 (Kurt Fredrick 15’, Jomol Williams 59’) St Ann’s Rangers 0
North East Stars 2 (Trevin Caesar 14’, 88’) Caledonia AIA 0
UPCOMING DIGICEL PRO LEAGUE MATCHES:
6 (p.m.) - St Ann’s Rangers vs Point Fortin Civic, Marvin Lee Stadium
8 (p.m.) - San Juan Jabloteh vs W Connection , Marvin Lee Stadium
6 (p.m.) - Police FC vs Caledonia AIA , Ato Boldon Stadium
PRO LEAGUE STANDINGS
P W D L GF GA GD Points
W Connection 10 8 2 0 21 4 17 26
North East Stars 10 5 2 3 11 6 5 17
Caledonia AIA 10 3 4 3 16 13 3 13
Police FC 9 4 1 4 15 13 2 13
Central FC 9 3 4 2 13 11 2 13
Defence Force 8 4 1 3 15 14 1 13
San Juan Jabloteh 9 3 1 5 16 21 -5 10
Point Fortin Civic FC 9 3 1 5 9 14 -5 10
St Ann’s Rangers 10 1 0 9 11 31 -20 3