The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force can put the champagne on ice this weekend as a victory over Central FC will guarantee the army/coast guard combination its second Digicel Pro League title in three years and a third crown in the 14 year history of professional football in this country.
Thus far, DIRECTV W Connection and the now defunct San Juan Jabloteh have both won the Pro League four teams each while the Joe Public Football Club, which has also withdrawn from the competition, has two titles and North East Stars tasted success once.
The Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA club, which is five points adrift of Defence Force with three games remaining, has never lifted the top domestic prize and it appears that time has run out on Morvant/Laventille ambitions this season again.
On Tuesday evening, Defence Force regained its poise with a hard-fought 2-0 triumph over Police at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Coach Ross Russell’s men managed just one point from their last two outings against Caledonia and North East Stars and there might have been nerves as both teams were goalless at the interval. But Defence Force’s two leading marksmen, Devorn Jorsling and Richard Roy, chipped in with a goal apiece to keep the “Teteron Boys” on course.
Also at Couva, North East Stars again swapped places with Connection to move in third place after a brilliant first half Elijah Manners header helped the Sangre Grande outfit to a 1-0 win.
Meanwhile in Macoya, Caledonia whipped bottom placed T&TEC 4-1 to maintain its faint hopes.
Trinidad and Tobago striker Jamal Gay has endured an injury plagued season but the 24-year-old giant gave a timely reminder of his ability with a first half double for Caledonia. And winger Nathan Lewis scored twice too in the second half for “Eastern Stallions.”
T&TEC has endured a horrible time in 2012/13. But let it not be said that the “Electricity Boys” brought nothing to the Pro League party. Talented midfielder Nathaniel Garcia, who is still a schoolboy at Shiva Boys, got a consolation item.
It means that since Garcia joined T&TEC in January, he has scored against defending champions, Connection, the possible future champions Defence Force and the Caribbean Club champions Caledonia. Let it not be said that the cupboard is bare of future stars in the local game.
Also at Macoya, Central lost an opportunity to keep up with the front four as the “Couva Sharks” were held 1-1 by St Ann’s Rangers.
Fresh-faced striker Darryl Trim put Central ahead in the first half but Rangers grabbed a share of points through attacker Cameron Roget’s first league goal this season.
Next stop for Central is the 2012/13 Pro League champion-in-waiting, Defence Force, and the two clubs clash from 8 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Friday.
Triumph for Defence Force would leave them just three points shy of an unreachable lead and the soldiers would expect to pick those up against T&TEC while they also have an outstanding match against Connection remaining.
On Tuesday evening, the soldiers’ campaign spluttered back to life in the 57th minute as Jorsling calmly converted from the penalty spot after Police custodian Adisa Alleyne was adjudged to have impeded Kevon Carter.
Roy came off the substitutes’ bench to replace Jorsling and promptly converted from close range in the 85th minute after a terrific cross from Jemel Sebro. It was Roy’s first goal in two months and just his second item in this calendar year.
Roy will not have a chance to add to his tally against Central though as he was ejected in stoppage time for a word out of turn to referee Cecile Hinds.
Defence Force will hope that he is not missed on Friday as the soldiers aim to take a giant step towards the ultimate domestic football prize.
Digicel Pro League Results
(3 April 2013)
Defence Force 2 (Devorn Jorsling 57 pen, Richard Roy 85), Police 0 at Couva
W Connection 0, North East Stars 1 (Elijah Manners 16) at Couva
Caledonia 4 (Jamal Gay 7, 37, Nathan Lewis 83, 86), T&TEC 1 (Nathaniel Garcia 42) at Macoya
Central FC 1 (Darryl Trim 42), St Ann’s Rangers 1 (Cameron Roget 68) at Macoya