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Rangers, Central exchange gifts

By Ian Prescott ian.prescott@trinidadexpress.com

It truly is a season for gift-giving.
Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, seemed more the venue for a gift exchange than professional football on Saturday night. It’s Christmas, and presents were on offer by all. Central FC got more than they gave. All dressed in red, Rangers offered two “soft” goals and a penalty, while “Sharks” gave up an offside goal. After all courtesies were exchanged, the match ended in a 3-2 Central FC victory.
And at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, leaders Direct TV W Connection also shared a point, and a 0-0 draw with Caledonia AIA.
Central got a real scare from Rangers. But with the match likely to end in a stalemate, Rangers seemed to say, “take the points, you need it more than us”, by allowing Jason Marcano a free, match-winning header in the 89th minute. Victory kept Central on pace with the leaders and fourth in the Pro League, while the very young Rangers squad remain bottom of the heap in ninth spot.
Veteran Rangers playmaker Conrad Smith began the gift exchange, with a lame tackle, which allowed Johan Peltier to easily skip by and set up Keon Trim for a powerful left foot finish into the top of the net in just the second minute. The Sharks reciprocated by missing a number of easy chances within the first half hour. The officiating team headed by match referee Keilon Bacchus, also offered Rangers a gift by letting Duran Dillworth’s 44th minute equaliser stand, although there was absolutely no doubt the rasta-haired Rangers striker was clearly offside when he re-directed a miscued shot from almost inside the goal.
Of course, there are always the Scrooges, and both Central manager Norris Ferguson and head-coach Terry Fenwick objected to the generosity of the officials.
But, it’s Christmas.
Rangers ended the half level at 1-1 and still on course for a good result. Nigerian striker Michael Yaw Darko then netted from the centre of the penalty area to put the bottom team into a shocking 2-1 lead in the 55th minute, after left-midfielder Jelani Peters left Elton John for dead and drilled a hard, low cross to the centre of the penalty area.
Veteran midfielder Marvin Oliver then pulled Central level at 2-2 from the penalty spot in the 60th,
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