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Sam sizzler fails to thwart Army’s “Ro-Jo” combination

Thirty-four-year-old former UK-based striker Hector Sam rolled back the years with a brilliant strike for St Ann’s Rangers this evening at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain. But it was not enough to peg back Defence Force who held on for a 2-1 in the 2012/13 Digicel Pro League season opener.

In the second match at the same venue, North East Stars stunned Neal & Massy Caledonia 3-1. Cornell Glen, Kerry Baptiste and Kaydion Gabriel all got on the score sheet to give coach Angus Eve a dream debut for the Stars while Kareem “Tiny” Joseph got a consolation item for Caledonia. (Read full report here)

There was a debut to savour in the opening fixture too as local football fans got their first sight of the Richard Roy and Devorn Jorsling partnership. And so far so good as Jorsling and Roy scored within two minutes of each other as Defence Force predictably bettered the St Ann’s team.

The ball movement and spatial awareness of the army/coast guard troops was too much for the young Rangers team that was arguably flattered by the final scoreline.

Photo: St Ann’s Rangers defender Elijah Belgrave (centre) wins this battle with a Defence Force opponent but the army/coast guard outfit won the Digicel Pro League war.
(Courtesy Photos868)

It was an especially difficult debut for Rangers’ right side midfielder Kyle Bartholomew. Or, to be more precise, it was a torrid evening for his right back Devon Modeste.

Defence Force left back Aklie Edwards was full of running and Bartholomew didn’t seem to think that it had anything to do with him.

Bartholomew’s disinterest in defensive duties, which was generally symptomatic of Rangers’ unwillingness to sacrifice self for a team result, might have led to Defence Force’s opener in the 32nd minute. Once more, Edwards was alone in acres of space and his driven effort towards the last post was unconvincingly fended away by goalkeeper Zane Coker.

Jorsling, on his first game back for the “Teteron Boys” since two seasons away with Orlando City and Caledonia AIA respectively, made no mistake with the loose ball.

Two minutes later, Defence Force doubled its advantage as Roy finished confidently from the penalty spot after Coker had clattered Roy Russell Jr. Not a bad start for the “Ro-Jo” front pairing.

Defence Force failed to add to its tally though and Rangers nearly found a way back into the game through a special Sam strike.

Sam spent eight years in the English lower leagues at Wrexham, Port Vale, Walsall and Notts County before returning to Trinidad in 2009. For the first 70 minutes, he looked as lively and useful as a public servant at 3 pm on a Friday afternoon.

Photo: Hector Sam (right) takes on a Rhyl defender during his stint with Wales-based Wrexham.

And then, in the 73rd minute, he flicked a switch.

Elijah Belgrave invited Sam to chase a pass through the channel between Defence Force’s left back and central defender but nothing seemed to be on as he closed in on the ball down the right side of the penalty area.

Sam thought otherwise as he spanked a brilliant first time right footed effort that flew past the surprised custodian Kevin Graham and nestled itself just inside the far upright.

It was as good as it got for Rangers on the night but, hopefully, it will give the squad something to rally around as it prepares for the next fixture.

Defence Force was presumably satisfied with three points.


Digicel Pro League

(Fri Sep 14)

Defence Force 2 (Devorn Jorsling 32, Richard Roy 34 pen), St Ann’s Rangers 1 (Hector Sam 73) at PoS

NE Stars 3 (Cornell Glen 51, Kerry Baptiste 66, Kaydion Gabriel 90), Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA 1 (Kareem Joseph 74  pen)


(Sat Sep 15)

Police FC v T&TEC at Hasely Crawford Stadium, PoS


Defence Force:

1.Kevin Graham, 14.Cory Rivers (Capt), 5.Devin Jordan, 20.Rodell Elcock, 21.Aklie Edwards; 11.Kevon Carter, 15.Jerwin Balthazar, 18.Sean Narcis (3.Keston Williams 78), 17.Ross Russell Jr (16.Kerry Joseph 74); 9.Richard Roy, 10.Devorn Jorsling (12.Josimar Belgrave 76).

Unused Subs: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK), 4.Marvin Jones, 6.Michael Edwards, 19.Dexter Pacheco.


St Ann’s Rangers:

1.Zane Coker; 10.Devon Modeste, 11.Elijah Belgrave, 12.Jamal Jack, 13.Christon Thomas; 27.Kyle Bartholomew (26.Jemel Berot 84), 15.Mikhail Awai, 7.Jason Marcano, 31.Andrew Smith (30.Nicholas Castellano 85); 9.Hector Sam, 14.Cameron Roget.

Unused Subs: 22.Akel Clarke (GK), 5.Justin Harper, 23.Kadeem Drayton, 24.Luke Hernandez, 28.Kurdell Braithwaite.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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  1. I am not sure which game this reporter was watching , but in this world people are very unfair and do not like to give praise where praise is due. I am a Caledonia A.I.A supporter always been, but the Rangers game , I saw in the first half of the game Rangers were all over the Army. It was the one sided game and Elijah Belgrave dealt with the Army men as they were little boys and in the second half the same. The only thing Rangers need is a good striker and the Army goal was a very scrappy goal and and stupid error by the keeper so please give credit where it is due. Not because Jorsling has a big name he will get the credit.
    On another note, North East come with a bomb squad and beat us real bad, it hurt but they played the better football and Mr reporter next time watch the game that is playing in the Stadium not outside or not one from last season.

    • Hello Adelle. We agree to disagree. In my opinion, Rangers left far too much free space for Defence Force to exploit and could have easily conceded more while they did not get the ball into dangerous positions often enough to compensate. The fact that you singled out a Rangers central defender as the team’s outstanding player might say something.
      Still, thanks for taking time to share your comments and I’m happy that you support local football.

  2. Ras Abdalla Tafari Wadada

    Ro-Jo in flow on day one.