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Lions leapfrog

By JOEL BAILEY Tuesday, December 11 2007

click on pic to zoom in

KERRY BAPTISTE scored an 80th minute winner yesterday to give the “Eastern Lions” Joe Public a 1-0 triumph against overnight leaders CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo to jump to the top spot in the Pro League standings.

Action was in the rescheduled Match Day Two of the Lucozade Sport Big Six, a competition which serves to determine both the Big Six and league champs.

Joe Public, the reigning Pro League title-holders, and Jabloteh have 56 points, but the “Lions” lead by a vastly superior goal difference (26 to Jabloteh’s 13).

Baptiste, who is in a fine run of form, got a long ball on the left flank by Roen Nelson and, with his marker Elton John backing away, sent a curling right-footer past the airborne Jabloteh goalkeeper Cleon John and into the back of the net.

Jabloteh, who made three changes from their goalless draw against Defence Force on Saturday, including the omission of their out-of-form Antiguan forward Peter Byers, had the greater possession in the second half but were unable to penetrate the well-organised Joe Public defence.

Midway during the first half, Lester Peltier met a volley from Trent Noel but failed to get past Joe Public’s keeper Jacomeno Barrett while, on the other end of the field, Nelson found Kendall Jagdeosingh who shot wide with only Cleon John to beat.

Teenaged midfielders Khaleem Hyland (Jabloteh) and Silas Spann (Joe Public) both went close before the half-time whistle, while Noel and Peltier failed to beat Barrett early in the second half.

The “Lions”, with four changes to the team that held Caledonia AIA to a goalless draw 48 hours earlier, absorbed all of Jabloteh’s attack until Baptiste decided the outcome.

North East Stars produced the day’s most surprising result with a 3-1 spanking of Caledonia AIA at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima. Guyanese forward Randolph Jerome (16th), midfielder Shervin Charles (57th) and striker Akeil Guevara (90th) were on target for North East, who earned their first win in the Big Six. Dreadlocked midfielder Marvin Oliver (49th) was the lone goal-getter for AIA.

And Big Six leaders W Connection was held to a 1-1 draw by Defence Force at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. Clyde Leon put Connection ahead in the 35th before another defensive midfielder, Keston Williams, equalised via the penalty spot in the 72nd.

Yesterday’s results eliminated both Defence Force and North East Stars from the League contention with Connection needing to win their last two matches to have any realistic opportunity of dethroning Joe Public. Match Day Four of the Big Six will be contested on Friday.

Big Six Points Standings - W Connection 7; Joe Public 7; Defence Force 5; North East Stars 3; San Juan Jabloteh 1; Caledonia AIA 1.

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