The competition is serving to decide both the Big Six and overall Pro League champs.
Jabloteh were held to a goalless draw by Defence Force at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, while Caledonia AIA and Joe Public, in a preview to their Wednesday meeting in the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) FA Trophy final, battled to a 1-1 tie at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima.
Hayden Tinto put Caledonia in front after 62 minutes before the in-form national midfielder Kerry Baptiste equalised via the penalty spot four minutes later.
Both teams played the second half with ten men apiece as AIA’s veteran Guyanese centre-back Charles Pollard was ejected by referee Neal Brizan, in the 30th minute, for a foul on countryman Gregory Richardson, while Richardson himself was shown a red card for a robust tackle on AIA’s captain St Lucian Sheldon Emmanuel.
W Connection won their second successive Big Six match, as they spanked North East Stars 3-0 at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
The “Savonetta lads” fielded a number of their reserves in their 18-man lineup, as left-back Jose Luis Seabra and their midfield duo of Clyde Leon and Hughton Hector were suspended, the temperamental pair of goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and midfielder Aurtis Whitley were reportedly ill and midfielder Leslie “Tiger” Fitzpatrick was on a trial stint in Sweden. Conversely, North East do not have such strength in reserve, which is reflected in the fact that they only have one registered goalie in Curtis Granger.
Without ex-national forward Anthony Wolfe and St Vincent’s Kendall Velox on Saturday, they hardly posed a threat to their most experienced opponents.
However, North East came close to breaking the deadlock twice, midway in the first half, as Nigerian forward Christian Okonkwo had a close-ranged effort blocked by Connection’s keeper Joao Mansano from Brazil while Belizean winger Marc Leslie caught Mansano off-guard with a right-sided centre which the keeper tipped against the crossbar and out of play.
The Sangre Grande-based team was left to rue those errors on the stroke of half-time when Granger was forced to parry a cross from Connection’s overlapping right-back Nickolson Thomas, with St Lucian Earl Jean slotting the rebound into the open net.
A marvelous midfield interchange in the 54th minute resulted in Connection’s second, a move started and finished by Dominican Republic’s forward Jonathan Frias. Caught in traffic, Frias sent the ball back to Thomas on the right who brilliantly picked out defensive midfielder Christian Viveros on the left and the Colombian slipped the ball to his fellow teenager Frias who calmly rounded Granger and placed his right-footer into the vacant goal.
The result was put beyond doubt in the 73rd as striker Andre Toussaint, in the midst of a terrible slump, got a wonderful diagonal ball from Thomas on the left before squaring the ball to Frias and the lively forward simply lobbed the advancing Granger.
Match Day Two of the Big Six, which was postponed on Tuesday last, will be contested today with Jabloteh meeting Joe Public at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, Connection opposing Defence Force at Couva and Caledonia facing North East at Arima. All three games will kick off at 5 pm.
Big Six Points Standings – W Connection 6; Defence Force 4, Joe Public 4, San Juan Jabloteh 1, Caledonia AIA 1; North East Stars 0.
P W D L F A Pts
San Juan Jabloteh 29 16 8 5 43 29 56
Caledonia AIA 29 16 7 6 44 25 55
Joe Public 29 16 5 8 48 23 53
W Connection 29 14 8 7 56 29 50
Defence Force 29 13 7 9 41 36 46
North East Stars 29 10 10 9 37 30 40
United Petrotrin 27 10 5 12 38 35 35
Superstar Rangers 27 9 5 13 48 42 32
Police 27 5 1 21 28 79 16
Tobago United 27 3 2 22 25 80 11