my ball!: St Ann's Rangers' Kaashif Thomas, left, attempts to shield the ball from overlapping Defence Force left-back Aklie Edwards. Defence Force earned a 3-1 extra-time victory after the FA Trophy quarter-final ended 1-1 at the end of the regulation 90 minutes. —Photo: Ishmael Salandy

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'Cali' scrape past Joe Public's Super Leaguers

By Ian Prescott ian.prescott@trinidadexpress.com

The last two minnows went out of the Trinidad and Tobago FA Trophy competition at the quarter-final stage of Friday night, leaving Pro League teams San Juan Jabloteh, Defence Force, Caledonia AIA and North East Stars to contest January's semi-finals.

Super League side Joe Public put up a great fight and rallied from two goals down at half time to hold Pro League outfit Caledonia AIA 2-2 at the end of regulation time at the Marvin Lee Stadium (MLS), Macoya. But following 30 minutes of extra-time, Caledonia won a penalty shootout by a 5-4 margin.

A fight was also expected from SFA representatives La Brea All Stars, but they were blown out 5-0 by Jabloteh in the late match at the Ato Boldon Stadium. Willis Plaza (12th), Marvin Oliver (26th), Cyrano Glen (69th), Atuallah Guerra (80th) and Ejijah Manners (90th) all scored as Jabloteh won comfortably.

Meanwhile, Anthony Wolfe's 25th minute goal gave North East Stars a 1-0 win over Ma Pau, while Defence Force also saw off St Ann's Rangers 3-1 in extra-time. Defence Force only pulled square at 1-1 in the 83rd minute through in-form striker Devon Jorsling, but the Pro League leaders Defence Force finished off Rangers in extra-time with goals from Jorsling and Kurt Williams. Rangers looked good and began the match with aggressive intent. Striker Josimar Belgrave had a chance to put them ahead in the 15th, but failed to pass Army keeper Kevin Graham. However, the ball rebounded to Rangers captain Devon Modeste who put the ball in the net from the top of the penalty box.

At the MLS, the youngsters of Joe Public's Super League team provided the best chance of an FA Trophy upset. Languishing just seventh in the semi-professional bmobile Super League, Joe Public made pro team Caledonia AIA work hard for victory. AIA, currently third in the Pro League, struggled against their lower division opponents for the second successive match.

They had barely managed a 2-1 extra-time victory over the Super League team from the Defence Force in the last round. But, after taking a sixth minute lead through Guyanese Shawn Beveney, "Cali" looked completely in control against the 2009 Super League champions Joe Public, and indeed doubled their tally in the 43rd through Ricardo Bennett.

However, a controversial moment allowed Joe Public back in the match. Caledonia's Jamaican goalkeeper Kevin Graham dropped a crossball after a Joe Public opponent crashed heavily into the goalie as he gathered the ball. It looked a clear foul. However, referee Rangie McPhie allowed play to continue, and Tyronne Charles put the ball into the open net in the 56th.

The youthful Joe Public smelled blood and took the fight to their opponents. And there was no controversy as Charles produced a powerful finish. superbly converting a free-kick from outside the penalty area which levelled the scores at 2-2 in the 90th minute. A further 30 minutes of extra-time could not separate the teams and eventually kicks from the penalty mark decided the outcome.

"Cali" looked about to go out during the shootout when midfielder Kareem "Tiny" Young had his shot saved. But, Cali's Graham rescued the Morvant-Laventille team with two stops to give AIA a 5-4 advantage. During the shootout Caledonia and T&T midfielder Densill Theobald tried a cheeky chip similar to the one Dwight Yorke produced against Arsenal when playing for Aston Villa many years ago. Theobald would have looked foolish had it missed, but he executed the chip perfectly and got a hero's applause afterward. Wrong-footed, Joe Public goalie Jevon Bourne made a desperate grab but could not clutch the ball which was only just a few feet above him.

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