Action was in the first round of the Lucozade-sponsored Big Six tournament, which serves the dual role of determining both the Big Six and the overall Pro League champs.
After shooting high less than two minutes earlier, Baptiste netted his 11th goal of the season, as he got around defensive midfielder Keston Pierre with Gregory Richardson’s low cross to easily finish past goalkeeper Curtis Granger to give Joe Public the lead in the eighth minute. North East had a nice share of the possession, but they were disappointing when they got into the Joe Public area. Baptiste heaped more pressure on them, when he netted his second by beating goalkeeper Granger from inside the area in the 27th minute, after stand-in captain Marlon Stoute failed to clear a Dale Saunders’ long-ball which was aimed at Richardson.
In other matches in the Big Six playoffs, Defence Force tamed Caledonia AIA 1-0 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo and W Connection saw their way past reigning Big Six champs San Juan Jabloteh 2-1 at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
The soldiers took the lead on the half-hour mark, when after a short corner by TT’s marksman Devon Jorsling took a wicked deflection on its way past Caledonia’s goalie Richard Reynolds.
Two goals in the space of six minutes added insult to the injury of losing two players in a typically ill-tempered match between W Connection and arch-rivals Jabloteh.
Connection snatched the lead when Hughton Hector was fed by a perfect pass from St Lucian forward Earl Jean in the 20th minute and he lifted it over the outstretched legs of keeper Cleon John. Five minutes later, defender Dwayne Jack awkwardly attempted to clear a curling right-side corner from Brazilian Jose Luiz Seabra and it landed beautifully into his own net giving Connection a two-goal cushion.