Caledonia finish second in Pro League
By JOEL BAILEY Sunday, January 30 2011
A DRAMATIC night on Friday saw Caledonia AIA overtake dethroned champs Joe Public for the crucial second place finish in the Digicel Pro League.
Joe Public entered Round Two Match Day Nine on 34 points, one more than Caledonia, in the race for second spot. The top two teams in the League will advance to the Caribbean Football Union Club Champions Cup. With Defence Force assured of a berth after claiming the League trophy, Friday’s results were crucial.
At the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima, Joe Public conceded a last minute penalty to draw 1-1 with North East Stars while Caledonia AIA got a late winner to edge San Juan Jabloteh 3-2 at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella. As a result, Caledonia finished one spot ahead of Joe Public and will be joining Defence Force in the CFU Cup, scheduled to take place in March.
Jabloteh took the lead after two minutes through Kennedy Hinkson but Keyon Edwards (fifth) and Hayden Vincent (24th) turned the tide in Caledonia’s favour. Johan Peltier evened up the scores in the 43rd before Akim Armstrong notched the winner for AIA in the 87th.
Joe Public, who lost two key players recently, Kerry Baptiste and Japanese Yu Hoshide, fielded a new recruit in defender Aubrey David.
But Marcus Joseph, who has taken over Baptiste’s role as striker, opened the scoring after three minutes in comical fashion, capitalising on a horrendous misjudgment between central defenders Charles Pollard, Kelvin Smith and goalkeeper Michael Woods to slot the ball into the open net.
In stoppage time, Micah Lewis also had to hold his position on the line to deny Sean Fraser’s header, from a corner by Akiel Guevara. But Joe Public’s defence struggled to clear the ball and Wolfe won a penalty from referee Shane De Silva after he was needlessly pushed by Jevon Morris. Wolfe beat Phillip with a powerful right-footed effort to earn a share of the points.
Defence Force, who led from start to finish this season, whipped a lacklustre St Ann’s Rangers outfit 3-0 in the first game at Arima.
The season’s leading goalscorer (with 12), Devorn Jorsling, was the only regular starter for Defence Force, and the 27-year-old was playing his last game before moving on to join Orlando City SC in the United Soccer League.
The striker could have capped off a fine campaign in the 39th minute, but his delicately chipped penalty sailed overbar, after Richard Roy was bundled over by Rangers’ Javon Wilson.
Roy won another penalty verdict by referee Gregory Lewis, following a foul by Keston Bibby-Cummings, and the forward sent goalkeeper Fortunato Valcourt the wrong way with his 52nd minute effort.
That goal broke Rangers’ resistance and, even though Jorsling was taken off on the hour-mark, they literally surrendered to the second-string Defence Force outfit.
Roy did well to get a loose ball and free up Jahvon Neptune who beat Valcourt on his near post with a well-placed right-footed strike.
And three minutes later (76 th), Roy capped off a fine midfield buildup with a close-range effort, after a feed from Jemel Seabro.
In the earlier game at Marabella, W Connection cruised to a 2-0 win over Ma Pau with goals, in either half, from Hughton Hector (29th) and Matthew Bartholomew (72nd).
P W D L F A Pts
Defence Force 18 13 2 3 38 13 41
Caledonia AIA 18 11 3 4 31 19 36
Joe Public 18 10 5 3 30 22 35
W Connection 18 9 4 5 35 13 31
Ma Pau 18 8 5 5 24 16 29
San Juan Jabloteh 18 7 6 5 25 14 27
North East Stars 18 7 6 5 29 24 27
St Ann’s Rangers 18 2 4 12 14 36 10
FC South End 17 2 0 15 10 42 6
Police 17 1 3 13 17 54 6