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MARVIN LEE STADIUM, Macoya - Defending Digicel Pro League champions Defence Force failed to make the best of a rescheduled Round Two Match Day Three fixture against North East Stars on Tuesday, which ended 1-1.
One point each, Defence Force are seventh with 17 points and five games in hand, while North East Stars, still fourth, now have 23 points and a game in hand.
Ahead of the Stars are Central FC and Point Fortin Civic with 26 points each, in second and third positions respectively, while leaders W Connection are eight points ahead with 34.
Defence Force, playing catch up since coming off a self-imposed suspension a week ago, had a 32nd-minute 1-0 lead against the Stars when midfielder Jerwyn Balthazar, from inside the area, directed Devorn Jorsling's free-kick past goalkeeper Cleon John.
But Ross Russell's side surrendered that advantage four minutes from the break after central defender Devin Jordan failed to control a forward pass by the Stars, allowing forward Lemuel Lyons a free run at goal.
Lyons, who joined the Angus Eve coached-San Grande club in the December/January transfer window, capitalised on the opportunity with a low strike past a hapless goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke to tie the score 1-1.
Lyons, who was denied by Clarke in the 17th minute, and headed overbar off Keron Cummings' free-kick four minutes later, was replaced by speedy forward Trevin Caesar thirteen minutes inside the second period.
By then Defence Force were still adjusting to a sending off of right-back and captain Corey Rivers seconds before the half-time whistle.
Rivers had picked up his second yellow card of the afternoon for a foul on Kennedy Hinkson and was shown no mercy by the relatively unknown (to the Pro League level) referee Marvin Pierre.
Pierre's assignment from then on was a cool trot on the artificial turf.
While the Stars, with an extra man, failed to take advantage of the situation, and only forced a save out of Clarke in the 64th minute.
It was from an attempted cross by Chike Sullivan on the right, that turned out an attempt on goal, and Clarke had to cleverly tip the ball overbar.
The Stars however, were also lucky not to concede in the second half after Jemel Sebro struck the side netting in the 51st minute following a positive string of passes by Army.
And in the 74th minute a 23-yard free-kick by Jorsling crashed off the upright.
At the sound of the final whistle the score stood locked at 1-1.
North East Stars 1—1 Defence Force
Lemuel Lyons 41' ; Jerwyn Balthazar 32'
North East Stars—22. Clean John (GK) (C), 19. Glenton Wolfe, 8. Keron Cummings (18. Kaashif Thomas 76th minute), 5. Aquil Selby, 48. Jesus Perez, (Yellow Card), 12. Jay-son Joseph, 6. Jeromie Williams, 23. Kennedy Hinkson, 11. Lemuel Lyons (20. Trevin Caesar 58th minute), 15. Chike Sullivan (4. Keithy Simpson 71st minute), 25. Keryn Navarro
Unused substitutes—1. Stefan Berkeley (GK), 7. Elijah Manners, 39. Andrew Smith, 49. Anthony Diaz
Defence Force—25. Sheldon Clarke(gk), 14. Corey Rivers (C) (Yellow Card), 5. Devin Jordan (Yellow Card),10. Josimar Belgrave (13. Marvin Jones 45th minute), 11. Kevon Carter, 9. Devorn Jorsling, 6. Rodell Elcock, 17. Ross Russell Jr., 15. Jerwyn Balthazar (18. Sean Narcis 85th minute), 12. Jemel Sebro (21. Aklie Edwards 73rd minute), 4. Dave Long
Unused substitutes—7. Balondemu Julius, 70. Dwayne Thomas, 23. Kerry Joseph, 26. Richard Roy
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