The Rangers-Tobago lopsided result preceded a typical combative clash between CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh and W Connection at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo with both teams battling to a 1-1 draw.
Former Trinidad and Tobago striker Errol McFarlane recorded a hat-trick for Rangers, with national midfielder Kerwyn “Hardest” Jemmott and Christian Thomas adding one apiece for the St Ann’s-based outfit.
McFarlane and fellow forward Devon Modeste missed early chances before Jemmott opened the scoring in the 29th, controlling a deep cross from right-back Todd Ryan and thundering his right-footer past the lunging Tobago goalkeeper Andrew Durant. McFarlane got his first item in the 42nd, powering his drive from 20 metres after a neat pass by another veteran Marc Borde.
The Tobago defence were non-existent, and they conceded their third in the 61st, with Thomas slotting a rebound home after McFarlane’s lob (from a fantastic pass by Jemmott) rebounded off the post.
Durant failed to handle a Modeste’s cross on the left and McFarlane banged the loose ball home in the 81st, and the strongly-built forward completed his hat-trick two minutes later via the penalty spot after he was brought down by the keeper.
National midfielder Aurtis Whitley had the first effort for Jabloteh, with his 30-metre blast going wide in the 15th. Jabloteh, who fielded a pair of top youth players Elijah Manners, captain of Intercol champs San Juan Senior, and TT Under-20 midfielder Elton John, skipper of Big 5 title-holders St Augustine, never got on track against a strong Connection outfit.
The “Savonetta Boys” lost their defensive midfielder Christian Viveros in the 22nd through a concussion, and the Colombian-born teenager needed treatment at the St Clair Medical Centre in Port-of-Spain. But his teammates rallied to take the lead, controversially, in the 37th, as lanky central defender Douglas Da Costa met a corner from fellow Brazilian Jose Luis Seabra and headed past goalie Daurance Williams, who was noticeably impeded in the play.
Jabloteh’s protests to referee Shane De Silva and assistant ref Joseph Taylor were in vain, and they nearly went two down in stoppage time when Ronaldo Viana’s drive was parried by Williams.
The second half saw a number of defending and hard-tackling by both teams, but Whitley missed a golden chance to equalise in the 80th when he drove straight at Jan-Michael Williams on a one-and-one chance.
Connection’s Gefferson Goulart was fortunate to receive a yellow card for a full-blooded elbow on national wing-back Cyd Gray in the 88th, but Gray was given his marching orders a minute later for a low elbow to Connection’s sweeper Elijah Joseph.
The match had a final twist when, in the fourth minute of injury time, Jabloteh’s Wendell Joseph found fellow midfielder Trent Noel who slotted the ball home following a goalmouth scramble. North East Stars are second on the standings after they fought to a 1-1 draw against Caledonia AIA in the first of back-to-back matches at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar.
Guyanese striker Nigel Codrington broke the deadlock in the 25th, drilling a shot past North East’s goalie Marvin Phillip.
Codrington’s countryman Randolph Jerome equalised in the 66th, slotting home a loose ball after keeper Michael Woods failed to clear a shot from midfielder Akiel Guevara. National players Seon Power, Anthony Noreiga and Gary Glasgow all scored via headers as the defending champs Joe Public strolled past Defence Force 3-0 in the second match at Arima.
Power buried home a freekick from former national midfielder Arnold Dwarika in the 32nd, while Noreiga converted a corner from TT midfielder Kerry Baptiste in the 55th. And, seven minutes from time, Dwarika’s freekick found Glasgow who made no mistake from close range.
Police shook off their opening day defeat to Rangers to record a convincing 3-1 win over United Petrotrin at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.
Jerol Forbes put the hosts in front after 29 minutes, driving home, on his second attempt, past keeper Anthony Marshall before Christopher Sam knotted up the scores for Police four minutes later, blasting a Curt Danclair centre beyond the reach of Perry Martin in the Petrotrin goal.
Sean McClashie put the lawmen ahead in the 40th and Kenwin Matthew, a minute later, sealed the win for Police.