Civic next on D/Force hit list as soldiers aim for third place DPL finish

Defence Force head coach Marvin Jones. (Photo: www.ttproleague.com)
Friday 10 April 2015

Defence Force, still fresh from Tuesday's impressive 4-1 win over reigning Digicel Pro League champions and second-placed DIRECTV W Connection, are now hoping to shrug off fourth-placed Point Fortin Civic on Sunday in Round Three Match Day Seven from 4 pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium to maintain hold of third position.

And with leaders Central FC (15-4-3, 49 points) and Connection (13-4-4, 43 points) already caging the top two positions, third position, which Defence Force secured last season, remains the best available finish in 2014-2015 for the army/coastguard combination, who are currently tied on 10-3-8, 33 points with Civic.

Defence Force head coach Marvin Gordon told www.ttproleague.com, “We had a couple rough patches but now our attitude is right and we want to make sure and finish third and even try to win a knockout title as we prepare for next season, which is also a present focus of the team.”

Tuesday's win extended Defence Force's undefeated league run to three matches, including a 4-0 mauling of Caledonia AIA and a 1-1 draw against leaders Central FC. Connection had defeated Defence Force 2-1 in Round One and Round Two but in arguably the soldiers best ever performance in recent years, prolific goal-scorer Devorn Jorsling scored twice in the first half, opening the scoring a minute and nine seconds into the match, while veteran midfielder Jerwyn Balthazar and winger Jemel Sebro grabbed a goal each against the “Savonetta Boys”.
Prolific Defence Force forward Devorn Jorsling, left, vies for the ball with W Connection captain Gerard Williams during their Digicel Pro League clash on Tuesday 7 April at the Marvin Lee Stadium. Jorsling scored twice against the defending DPL champions to stay ahead in the 2014-2015 DPL Goldon Boot race. (Photo: Allan V. Crane / www.ttproleague.com)
Gordon, a former assistant to Defence Force’s most successful coach of recent years and two-time (2010-2011 & 2012-2013) Pro League winning coach, Ross Russell, whose time in the military came to an end last December, credited a number of reasons for the recent rise of the army/coastguard outfit.

Gordon said, “It’s the moral behaviour within the team now which was even present when we trained over the Easter weekend. We now have support with the bosses and everyone from the (Defence) Force becoming more involved with the team.

“The technical staff has also been doing a tremendous job. I am even more comfortable now that I am confirmed as head coach, even for next season, and no longer interim coach. We also some additions to the staff with Kelshall Alexander, who came in as technical director.

“Against Connection we changed a bit from how we normally played against them. We decided to put them under pressure from early and high up the field and it worked.

“We would have the same approach against Civic. Things are going to change a bit tactically. We are going to prepare for each team as they come, like we did in the past seasons with Ross Russell. We are going counteract what other teams have. Like we did against Central, playing with a 3-5-2 system, which we don’t normally use. Against Civic we are going to be coming up with something to get the desired result.”

Following Sunday’s clash, Defence Force must face San Juan Jabloteh on 24 April, and against cellar-placed Rangers on the final 2014-2015 DPL match-day on 1 May, while Civic, who defeated 2-1 in Round Two after playing to a 1-1 tie in Round One, and are coming off Tuesday’s hard-fought 2-1 win over cellar-placed St. Ann’s Rangers, must tackle Central FC and Police FC in their last two league outings.
Point Fortin Civic ace Marcus Joseph. (Photo: Allan V. Crane / www.ttproleague.com)

There will also be a personal battle between Jorsling (16 league goals this season) and Civic forward Marcus Joseph (14 league goals this season) on Sunday, occupying first and second positions respectively on the DPL scoring list this season, as both former Golden Boot winners hunt this season’s personal scoring accolade.

Also on Sunday eight-positioned Caledonia AIA (7-4-10, 25 points), coming off Tuesday’s 1-0 win over seventh-placed Police FC (7-6-9, 27 points), will tackle sixth-placed San Juan Jabloteh (7-6-9, 27 points) from 4 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium.

While the Round Three Match Day Seven fixtures of leaders Central and second-placed W Connection against fifth-placed North East Stars (9-5-7, 32 points) and Police respectively, have been shifted to 28 April due to the DPL front-runners upcoming commitments in the 2015 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship which serves as the qualifier tournament to the CONCACAF Champions League.

Central and Connection, who have also secured berths at the 2016 CFU Club Championship by caging the top two spots in the current DPL championship, will head separate routes in the Group stage of this season’s 2015 CFU Club Championship, which runs from April 15 – 24.

The Group stage of the 2015 CFU Club Championship will be contested between April 15-19, while the semi-final and final rounds will be contested between April 22-24 to decide the Caribbean champions and determine the three Caribbean berths at the 2015-2016 CONCACAF Champions League.

W Connection, last season’s DPL champions and three-time Caribbean Club champions, will host Guyana Defence Force (April 15), Antigua & Barbuda’s SAP FC (April 17) and Jamaica’s Waterhouse FC (April 19) in Group 2 in Trinidad.

While Central, last season’s DPL runners-up, will make their CFU Club Championship debut in Group 1, hosted in Guyana, against Suriname powerhouse Inter Moengotapoe (April 17) and home team Alpha United (April 19).

Remaining Digicel Pro League 2014-2015 fixtures
Round Three Match Day Seven
Sunday 12 April 2015
Larry Gomes Stadium
Caledonia AIA vs San Juan Jabloteh—4 pm

Mannie Ramjohn Stadium
Defence Force vs Point Fortin Civic—4 pm

Round Three Match Day Eight
Friday 24 April 2015
Central FC vs Point Fortin Civic
W Connection vs Caledonia AIA
North East Stars vs St. Ann’s Rangers
Defence Force vs San Juan Jabloteh

Tuesday 28 April 2015
Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs Police FC—6 pm
Central FC vs North East Stars—8 pm

Round Three Match Day Nine
Friday 1 May 2015
Defence Force vs St. Ann’s Rangers
San Juan Jabloteh vs W Connection

Saturday 2 May 2015
North East Stars vs Caledonia AIA
Point Fortin Civic vs Police FC