San Juan Jabloteh and Point Fortin Civic had difficulty rebounding from their exertions in last Friday’s Toyota Classic as they settled for a loss and draw in their respective Pro League games last evening.
Jabloteh, the 2014 Toyota Classic champions, were brought back down to earth with a 4-1 loss to a silky Caledonia AIA team while, in the second game, Defence Force and Civic played to a 1-1 draw.
Civic made two changes from their heart-breaking penalty shoot out loss in the Classic finale with Steven Joseph and Trent Lougheed making way for Kevin Rouse and Glenn Sutton who were slotted in at right back and right midfield respectively. And the Point Fortin team, led by the crafty pair of former national players Andrei Pacheco and Andre Toussaint, settled quicker than the “Teteron Boys” as they knocked the ball around with aplomb in the early stages of the game.
In the 16th minute, Civic’s passing game unlocked the Army defence to create a chance for striker Jamille Botswain who could not produce a final product after neatly rounding opposing custodian Sheldon Clarke.
Civic nearly paid for Botswain’s miss, moments later, as both Jerwyn Balthazar and Curtis Gonzales came close to breaking the deadlock.
By then, the momentum has shifted with Army doing most of the running while Civic was force to play on the counter attack. And coach Ross Russell must have wondered what more his team needed to do to score as Civic custodian Marvin Phillip had his woodwork struck twice before the end of the first half.
First, Balthazar hit the bar in the 28th minute after some good work down the left flank by Ross Russell Jr. And then in the 35th minute the bustling Roy skimmed the outside of the post after he was picked out by a beautiful through ball from holding midfielder Dave Long.
All square at the half then.
Army started the second half as rowdily as they ended the first and took the lead within 40 seconds of the restart.
Roy ghosted between Point Fortin centre backs Weslie John and skipper Andre Ettienne to sweep home a pin-point right-side cross by Jemel Sebro. It was no more than the Army deserved at that point.
The game decreased in its fluidity after Roy’s goal and stoppages due to substitutions while some niggling tackles did not help the flow of the game either.
Civic coach Reynold Carrington’s charges looked void of answers and, more importantly, void of goals. Army’s holding midfield pair of Long and Keston Williams had made Toussaint a peripheral figure as the Army/Coast Guard combination looked to have things under control. Or so they thought.
Clarke was forced into a spectacular point blank save in the 80th minute and, from the subsequent Pacheco corner, he was well beaten when his teammate Glynn Franklyn inadvertently sliced his clearance into his own net.
The game was there for the taking and, in truth, Army should have sealed it in the 89th minute. But substitute Devorn Jorsling failed to add to his prolific CV after the ball was laid on a platter for him by fellow substitute Josimar Belgrave.
Jorsling failed to mirror the effort of his compatriot Roy as he sent his left-footed shot well over the bar, much to the annoyance of the Army fans.
It meant a share of the spoils for two well-drilled teams although Defence Force coach Ross Russell was left feeling short-changed by his players.
“I thought we should have had the three points but we threw away some easy chances in the first and second half,” said Russell. “That’s how the game goes.”
Defence Force (4-2-3-1): 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK), 8.Curtis Gonzales, 2.Glynn Franklyn, 22.Jamali Garcia, 21.Akile Edwards (captain) (11.Akeem Roach 68); 4.Dave Long (10.Josimar Belgrave 66), 3.Keston Williams; 12.Jemel Sebro, 99.Jerwyn Balthazar, 17.Ross Russell Jr; 26.Richard Roy (9.Devorn Jorsling 74).
Unused Substitutes: 28.Andre Marchan (GK), 16.Kellon Serrette, 18.Sean Narcis, 23.Kerry Joseph.
Coach: Ross Russell
Point Fortin Civic (4-1-3-2): 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 23.Kevin Rouse, 4.Weslie John, 5.Andre Ettienne (captain), 2.Garyl Doldron (13.Tevin Belfor 78); 7.Kelvin Modeste; 12.Glenn Sutton, 19.Andrei Pacheco, 6.Akeem Redhead (3.Steven Joseph 64); 11.Andre Toussaint, 20.Jamille Botswain (21.Andre Alexis 64).
Unused Substitutes: 24.Miguel Payne (GK), 16.Ancil Wells, 17.Keswin Goolie, 15.Ronell Paul.
Coach: Reynold Carrington
Pro League results
Defence Force 1 (Richard Roy 46), Point Fortin Civic 1 (Glynn Franklyn OG 81) at Hasely Crawford;
Caledonia AIA 4 (Nathan Lewis 20, Kareem Joseph 26, Pernell Schultz 56 pen, Dario Holmes OG 59), San Juan Jabloteh 1 (Johan Peltier 64) at Port of Spain.