Jabloteh lost 3-0 to St Ann’s Rangers in the second of back-to-back matches at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima, their heaviest defeat of the year.
Shane Rennie opened the scoring for Rangers, who entered the game with four previous defeats, in the eighth minute, tapping home a pass from Christon Thomas.
A counter-attack resulted in the second goal after 48 minutes, with Keyon Edwards’ left-sided pass dummied by Rennie to the path of Shem McFarlane who blasted his shot past goalkeeper Cleon John.
The game was a physical one, with referee Ishmael Mohammed refusing to issue cards for a series of rash tackles, the most blatant was in the 58th when Rangers’ Michael Brown took down Lester Peltier and followed up with a kick to Peltier’s head.
That incident came three minutes after Rangers sealed the win, when wing-back Elijah Belgrave’s diagonal ball met Thomas who broke the offside trap, wrong-footed John and placed his left-footer into the open net.
At the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, W Connection trimmed the gap between themselves and Jabloteh to three points after a 1-1 draw against United Petrotrin. Brazilian-born Jose Luiz Seabra’s ninth minute goal for Connection was not enough for the main title challengers as Kevon Woodley levelled the scores on the hour-mark.
The earlier match at Arima saw a pair from the season’s top goal-scorer Devon Jorsling as Defence Force came from a goal down to edge Caledonia 2-1.
Conrad Smith’s 33rd minute goal gave Connection the lead but Jorsling replied in the 77th and 90th to extend his total atop the scoring charts to 20.
North East Stars needed a pair of late strikes to earn a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Tobago United at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet.
Tishard Joseph’s 18th minute opener for the hosts was cancelled out by North East’s midfielder Akiel Guevara (28th) before Kelvin Hernandez put Tobago back in front in the 63rd.
North East avoided any embarrassment against the table-proppers with goals from utility player Marc Leslie (87th) and striker Sean Cooper (90th) — his eighth for the season.
Jamaican striker Roen Nelson had the biggest success on the day, netting a hat-trick as Joe Public trounced Ma Pau 4-0 at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Tunapuna.
The 28-year-old extended his season’s tally to 12 goals with items in the 37th, 51st and 78th minutes, while former Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 midfielder Terrence McAllister ended the scoring in the 89th.
The race for the Lucozade-sponsored Big Six tournament (which features the top six teams after Round Three Match Day Nine) continues today as the penultimate round of matches — Round Three Match Day Eight - is contested.
Jabloteh will try to redeem themselves when they meet Ma Pau from seven o’clock at Marabella while Defence Force must get at least a point against Joe Public, at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Tunapuna (with a 5 pm kick-off) to stay in the hunt for a top six spot. W Connection will be seeking another win, away to Tobago United (from 5 pm) to keep the pressure on Jabloteh.
And, in a double-header at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Caledonia meets Rangers at 5 pm while North East squares off against Petrotrin two hours later.
Pl W D L F A Pts
San Juan Jabloteh 25 17 4 4 50 23 55
W Connection 24 16 4 4 47 18 52
Caledonia AIA 25 11 5 9 41 36 38
North East Stars 25 12 2 11 32 30 38
Joe Public 24 11 4 9 42 31 37
St Ann’s Rangers 25 9 7 9 49 49 34
United Petrotrin 25 9 6 10 31 40 33
Defence Force 25 8 5 12 38 39 29
Ma Pau SC 25 6 4 15 31 60 22
Tobago United 25 3 3 19 24 59 12