If tonight’s Digicel Pro League clash between Defence Force and St Ann’s Rangers was a boxing match, referee Neil Brizan would have been obliged to stop the contest after 45 minutes.
It was not just that Defence Force was landing its punches but the increasing ease in which the soldiers were hitting the target at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella. The young, dizzy Rangers team looked collectively short of confidence and certainly was not making much impression on its opponent.
Defence Force led 4-0 by the halftime interval and matched that output in the second session to finish with a resounding 8-0 victory.
The result pushed the army/coast guard combination six points clear of second placed Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA although the latter club, which plays North East Stars at 8 pm tomorrow, has two games in hand. More importantly, Defence Force has indicated that the free scoring “Eastern Stallions” can be matched in the scoring department too.
Caledonia’s goal difference is plus-13; now Defence Force can boast of a differential of plus-16.
Thus far, it is hard to look beyond either club when considering the contenders for the Pro League crown held by DIRECT W Connection at present.
In this evening’s earlier fixture at Marabella, Police FC defeated T&TEC FC 2-0 although the final result arguably flattered the “Lawmen”.
T&TEC should have gone ahead in the 47th minute when a loose ball fell to Bevon Bass inside the opposing penalty area but for a tremendous goalline interception by Police defender Karlon Murray.
And, four minutes later, it got worse for T&TEC as goalkeeper Akini Adams spilled the ball and Jameel Perry rammed home a scrappy opener for the Police. The Lawmen got a second in the 80th minute as Atiba Hutchinson expertly steered a Trent Noel free kick into the corner.
Police might have been reasonably pleased with the performance of its two new recruits, Elijah Belgrave and Christon Thomas, who made up half of the Rangers backline just last month.
And boy could Rangers have done with some extra defenders tonight.
A rare spill from Rangers custodian Zane Coker gifted Kevon Carter an opener in the 21st minute while Jerwin Balthazar doubled Defence Force’s advantage with a volley in the 30th minute after a Jemel Sebro knockdown.
But when Balthazar made it 3-0 with a brilliant half volley in the 43rd minute, one smelt serious trouble ahead.
Carter got Army’s fourth in first half stoppage time after being sent clear by Devorn Jorsling and Rangers were in disarray. Brizan, unfortunately, had no authority to stop the match.
Carter completed his hattrick, despite hitting a penalty off an upright, while Jorsling notched two items from close range and substitute Richard Roy, who responded to a light drizzle by donning black gloves, completed the score summary.
Defence Force made a statement tonight. But the better part of it was written in the first half; the rest was enough to make a non-partisan wince.
Defence Force (4-1-4-1): 1.Kevin Graham; 14.Cory Rivers (captain), 20.Rodell Elcock, 8.Curtis Gonzales, 21.Aklie Edwards; 3.Keston Williams; 29.Jemel Sebro (9.Richard Roy 62), 15.Jerwin Balthazar, 12.Josimar Belgrave (17.Ross Russell Jr 62), 11.Kevon Carter (16.Kerry Joseph 72); 10.Devorn Jorsling.
Unused substitutes: 25.Sheldon Clarke, 2.Glynn Franklyn, 4.Marvin Jones, 18.Sean Narcis.
Coach: Ross Russell
St Ann’s Rangers (4-5-1): 1.Zane Coker; 24.Jovon Pardassie (14.Cameron Roget 46), 23.Kadeem Drayton, 12.Jamal Jack, 20.Kyle Bartholomew; 28.Kurdell Braithwaite, 7.Jason Marcano, 15.Mikhail Awai (captain), 26.Julio Noel, 31.Andrew Smith (29.Cecil Jeffrey 58); 10.Devon Modeste.
Unused substitute: 22.Akel Clarke.
Coach: Dean Pacheco
Referee: Neil Brizan
Digicel Pro League
(4 January 2013)
Police 2 (Jameel Perry 51, Anton Hutchinson 80), T&TEC 0 at Mannie Ramjohn
Defence Force 8 (Kevon Carter 21, 45, 68, Jerwyn Balthazar 30, 43, Devorn Jorsling 66, 73, Richard Roy 78), St Ann’s Rangers 0 at Mannie Ramjohn[standings league_id=1 template=extend logo=true]