D/Force resurrects title defence with 3-2 comeback win over Civic; Caledonia ends slide

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The determination of defending league champions Defence Force, not to easily surrender the Digicel Pro League title, was vividly clear on Tuesday night when the Ross Russell coached-outfit executed a combative 3-2 come-from-behind win over top-two contender Point Fortin Civic.

Civic had led the rescheduled Round Two Match Day Six fixture at the Ato Boldon Stadium by two goals through items by Kelvin Modeste and Weslie John, and looked set for three points.

But in a space of thirteen minutes midway through the second half, following the introduction of attacking midfielder Josimar Belgrave, the army/coastguard combination stormed back with a goal each by Devorn Jorsling and substitutes Belgrave and Balondemu Julius for a win and three valuable points.

Defence Force, with three games in hand and fifth on the standings with 32 points, are one point behind third and fourth positioned respectively, Civic and North East Stars – as an unprecedented five teams are contesting for the league title and the million dollar cash prize in tow.

Ahead of them are second positioned Central FC (35 points), and seven points clear, leaders DIRECTV W Connection (42 points).

Jorsling first reduced the deficit 1-2 in the 63rd minute, hitting past goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, who had charged down an initial strike by Belgrave. And two minutes later, Belgrave levelled the scores 2-2 by heading past Phillip from a left-side cross.

Then on the 75th minute Julius punished another defensive lapse by Civic, hitting past the Trinidad and Tobago international goalie from close range for the 3-2 winner from a low right-side cross by Rodell Elcock.

Civic, who had taken a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute when midfielder Kelvin Modeste headed past goalkeeper Kevin Graham off a Kevin Rouse cross, failed to rebound.

Graham, who was defeated by Weslie John’s header in the 55th minute off a right-side Marcus Joseph free-kick for Civic’s second item, preserved Defence Force’s lead by denying Kariym Balthazar in the 70th minute and substitute Sean Cooper in stoppage-time.
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Civic and this season’s league’s joint top-scorer Marcus Joseph only managed to hit the base of the upright in the 5th minute and forced a save out of Graham in the 37th minute.

Defence Force meanwhile, failed to take the early lead when in the 10th minute of play, striker Richard Roy, with Phillip at his mercy after meeting a Marvin Jones cross, gifted the Point Fortin goalie an easy take.

And in the 15th minute, midfielder Jerwyn Balthazar’s strike on target following a smooth sequence of passes by the soldiers was cleared off the line by Civic defender John.

Balthazar tried again in the 52nd minute with a crack at goal from distance only to see his effort measured by a fully sprawled Phillip.
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While in the earlier rescheduled Round Three Match Day Three rescheduled fixture at the Couva venue, troubled Caledonia AIA also registered a come-back win, defeating Police FC 2-1 to end a four-match winless slide.

However Keyon Edwards’ winning strike, six minutes from time, only improved Caledonia’s seventh position to 24 points – three points behind sixth positioned Police (27  points) on the nine-team table.

Edwards had struck past goalkeeper Adrian Foncette from close up when his smart run inside the area completed a brilliant exchange by substitutes Dylon King and Kareem Joseph on the right.

King was one of a few young talents—Purnell Schultz, Nical Stephens, Jameel Neptune and a very familiar Nathan Lewis the others—unleashed by Caledonia coach Jamaal Shabazz for the rescheduled Round Three Match Day Three contest at the Couva venue.

Lewis was denied a strike on goal, following a break from near the middle in the 7th minute, when an excellent tackle by Akiba Peters intervened.

But the speedy Caledonia winger was composed in the 35th minute and levelled the scores 1-1 before the break.

Lewis was picked out on the left by Neptune and raced into the area, rounded goalkeeper Adrian Foncette, and hit into a vacant net.

Police meanwhile were clearly paying for two early missed chances by their young talents, Vernell Ramirez and Joel Kevin Lewis, who tamed their respective efforts in the 2nd and 4th minutes against goalkeeper Shemel Louison.

Although it was Joel Kevin Lewis that produced a confident strike past goalkeeper Louison in the 22nd minute for a 1-0 Police lead after a well-placed Trent Noel free-kick was knocked down into his path.

But moments later the “Lawmen” were back to their wasteful ways with Ramirez and Lewis both failing to find the back of the net after Caledonia and Louison had trouble defending a cross into the area.

Then in the 33rd minute Ramirez slid into the six yard area but failed to make contact to Elijah Belgrave’s dangerous low cross.

Belgrave, whose brother later starred for Defence Force, had a wide left-footed strike in the 42nd minute, and a minute from the break, his tame effort was easily gathered by Louison.

Caledonia however, failed to add a third item when in the 70th minute when goalscorer Nathan Lewis volleyed overbar with the goal at his mercy from a powerful Edwards cross.

Digicel Pro League 2013/2014
Tuesday’s results at the Ato Boldon Stadium
Rescheduled Round Three Match Day Three fixture
Police FC 1—2 Caledonia AIA
Joel Kevin Lewis 22’  ;  Nathan Lewis 35’, Keyon Edwards 84’

Rescheduled Round Two Match Day Six fixture
Defence Force 3—2 Point Fortin Civic
Devorn Jorsling 63’, Josimar Belgrave 65’, Balondemu Julius 75’  ;  Kelvin Modeste 31’, Weslie John 55’

Police FC—18. Adrian Foncette (GK), 10. Trent Noel (C) (21. Todd Ryan 71st minute), 2. Jasimar Ashers, 25. Kemron Purcell (Yellow Card), 6. Kenaz Williams, 8. Akiba Peters (Yellow Card), 24. Ariei Mc David, 12. Vernell Ramirez (23. LJ Akeem Mitchell 81st minute), 13. Elijah Roberts (Yellow Card), 20. Elijah Belgrave, 39. Joel Kevin Lewis (15. Jameel Perry 75th minute)

Unused substitutes—1. Errol Charles, 34. Keston Mata (GK), 5. Anton Hutchinson, 26. Wendell Joseph

Coach—Richard Hood

Caledonia AIA—1. Shemel Louison (GK), 3. Nuru Abdullah, 7. Stephan David (C), 5. Akeem Thomas, 9. Keyon Edwards, 6. Marcus Ambrose, 22. Jameel Neptune (14. Dylon King 66th minute), 19. Nical Stephens (12. Kareem Joseph 82ndminute), 21. Densill Theobald, 27. Nathan Lewis, 28. Pernell Schultz (16. Tyrone Charles 46th minute)

Unused substitutes—4. Raymond Alleyne, 34. Kevin Graham (GK),  13. Julian Wade, 32. Kyle Bartholomew

Coach—Jamaal Shabazz

Defence Force—1. Kevin Graham (GK), 3. Keston Williams (C), 6. Rodell Elcock, 8. Curtis Gonzales, 9. Devorn Jorsling, 12. Jemel Sebro (18. Sean Narcis 85th minute) (Yellow Card), 13. Marvin Jones, 15. Jerwyn Balthazar, 17. Ross Russell Jr., 23. Kerry Joseph (7. Balondemu Julius 66th minute), 26. Richard Roy (10. Josimar Belgrave 57th minute)

Unused substitutes—2. Glynn Franklyn, 5. Devin Jordan, 14. Corey Rivers, 25. Sheldon Clarke

Coach—Ross Russell Jr.

Point Fortin Civic—1. Marvin Phillip (GK), 7. Nickholson Thomas (C), 2. Garyl Doldron, 4. Weslie John, 30. Akiniyel Rouse (14. Bevon Bass 72nd minute), 29. Kevin Rouse, 18. Akeem Redhead, 6. Kelvin Modeste (11. Andre Toussaint 72nd minute), 19. Andrei Pacheco (15. Sean Cooper 55th minute), 35. Kariym Balthazar, 10. Marcus Joseph

Unused substitutes—22. Akini Adams (GK), 33. Jamille Boatswain, 21. Andre Alexis, 27. Jared Bennett

Coach—Reynold Carrington