A brilliant individual performance from North East Stars captain and goalkeeper Cleon John was not enough to deny Defence Force tonight as the army/coast guard combination clinched a 1-0 win at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
It was Defence Force’s sixth straight win as coach Ross Russell’s men continue to set the pace in the 2012/13 Digicel Pro League.
In contrast, the Stars’ League form has been dim. Coach Angus Eve has mustered just one win from his last five outings before tonight although three of the other results were draws.
Stars might have managed another draw tonight too if John had his way.
Eighteen minutes into the contest, John produced a superb double save to deny Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling from just six yards. And the Stars goalie bettered himself in the 68th minute with a brilliant effort at full stretch to again keep out Jorsling as the prolific marksman sidefooted a cross from Josimar Belgrave towards the far corner.
The Sangre Grande-based team did have a sight at goal in the 75th minute when defender Kareem Moses got into a promising position but failed to keep his header down from a Kerry Baptiste cross.
But, just as Stars felt another point was on the way, Defence Force struck.
Busy winger Kevon Carter sprinted to a long, diagonal ball that no other player could have caught and Jorsling finally beat John with a cushioned, left footed volley from his cross.
Jorsling celebrated by whipping off his jersey. And, predictably, referee Rashby McPhie booked him for the show.
Just as predictably though, it was another three-point haul for Defence Force.
Defence Force: 1.Kevin Graham; 14.Cory Rivers (captain), 5.Devin Jordan, 20.Rodell Elcock, 21.Aklie Edwards; 8.Curtis Gonzales, 3.Keston Williams; 29.Jemel Sebro (17.Ross Russell Jr 79), 15.Jerwyn Balthazar (12.Josimar Belgrave 61), 11.Kevon Carter; 10.Devorn Jorsling (6.Michael Edwards 90).
Unused substitutes: 25.Sheldon Clarke, 4.Marvin Jones, 16.Kerry Joseph, 18.Sean Narcis.
Coach: Ross Russell
North East Stars: 22.Cleon John; 11.Elton John, 2.Kareem Moses, 3.Charles Pollard, 19.Glenton Wolfe; 6.Jeromie Williams (13.Cornell Glen 70), 25.Keryn Navarro; 17.Jayson Joseph, 32.Keithy Simpson, 8.Micah Lewis (15.Kaydion Gabriel 74); 4.Kerry Baptiste (45.Marcus Gomez 89).
Unused substitutes: 1.Adrian Foncette, 16.Jean-Luc Rochford, 18.Kaashif Thomas, 23.Kennedy Hinkson.
Coach: Angus Eve
Referee: Rashby McPhie
Digicel Pro League
(Friday January 11)
Defence Force 1 (Devorn Jorsling 82), North East Stars 0 at Hasely Crawford Stadium
Caledonia AIA 0, W Connection 0 at Hasely Crawford[standings league_id=1 template=extend logo=true]