Defence Force held another football pitch under siege in Division One of the Ascension Invitational League, emerging 5-1 victors over a hapless QPCC at St Mary’s College grounds on Sunday.
“Today was easy,” Hutson ‘Barber’ Charles, Defence Force assistant coach, chuckled after the match. “I don’t think QPCC offered us much. I think our guys came out and executed the game plan; to pressure them, win back the ball and attack quickly.
“We were also looking for the early goal, which we got, and I put out a challenge to them to see if we could score more than three goals. I was happy with the final score.”
Whatever ideas the QPCC bench had communicated to the squad in the dressing room had to be reworked as early as the 16th minute when captain Jerwyn Balthazar put the Army ahead.
“What you saw today,” QPCC assistant coach Wayne Sheppard said, “was the difference between a professional team and an amateur team; one stuck to their game plan, the other wavered.
He continued: “We practiced certain things and it was disheartening today to see it not being carried out on the field. And the coaching staff has to shoulder that now, we have to make sure that when we put an 11 on the field, that they stick to [our plans].”
As they did against Prisons the previous weekend, Charles’ unit continually found ways to impose their will over the match.
By the half-hour mark, Army was up 2-0. Aaron Lester’s shot, too much for the barricade QPCC had set up in the box, bounced into the net on the pavilion end.
Reon Moore should have made it three soon after, but he couldn’t find the net from the left of the area as Army continued to make light work of their Super League opposition.
While QPCC struggled to get the ball out of their area for long periods of the first half, they did draw blood.
Against the run of play, Emmanuel Bunting sized up his defenders, made an opening and took it, rolling in the third goal of the game past Aaron Enill to halve the deficit; 2-1 after 42 minutes.
“We got opportunities to get back in the game,” Sheppard said, “but one of the things we spoke about was giving away unnecessary free kicks on top the area.”
In the 44th minute, in the second match in as many weekends, Devon ‘Droggy’ Jorsling showed just why this advice was key. After Balthazar was fouled just to the left of the ‘D’, Jorsling took responsibility, dispatching it to Nicholas Dick’s left as he flailed at thin air.
The natural order had been restored and Dick had to extend a toe to keep Jorsling out on the very next possession.
But Jorsling would not miss from the corner, tucking away his second goal in the first half extra-time minute, taking the score to 4-1.
QPCC continued to show they were missing the Iceland-based quartet of Yohance Marshall (Kórdrengir), Sean De Silva (Haukar), Jared Bennett (Einherji) and Keston Goerge (Kórdrengir), as well as Elton John (HFX Wanderers, Canada), Leslie Joel Russell (Terminix La Horquetta Rangers) and Kevin Villaroel.
Sheppard conceded that these players’ absence has exposed a gulf in class.
“We haven’t been able to replace them like for like in terms of quality. Those guys were professional in their approach to training,” he said. “While we are happy with the players that we have, [those seven players] would have allowed us to match Defence Force today.”
QPCC lacked the quality all over the pitch, but most importantly in the midfield, where they looked bereft of ideas and bite to match a team that had already proven their superiority.
Charles told Wired868 that his team was ready should an opponent push them to play faster. But while QPCC had some exciting moments of pace, they lacked the touch, physical presence or guile to counter the Army onslaught.
Army’s Hashim Arcia could have had a hat-trick himself, but he threw away Army’s first two real chances after the break. Instead, he added to his first-half misses, the second from about eight yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Jerome McIntyre made good on all his promise after Army was allowed to cross the ball back and forth from either wing at least four times. Eventually, the ball fell to him all alone in the area, and he made it 5-1.
Army appeared to be playing with their food in the late exchanges. Jelani Felix played a sharp 1-2 with Curtis Gonzales to bring an awesome save out of Dick.
QPCC’s Devon Modeste had a late chance to make the score a little more respectable, but his heavy legs couldn’t muster a shot to challenge Enill. This one ended 5-1, Defence Force with a perfect 12 points from four matches.
Charles said Army’s stroll to the top of Ascension Division One was expected if only due to the opposition in front them so far.
“The first three matches we played were against Super League teams. We expecting by rights to get past those teams, so I could only make a judgment [of our title chances] after we’ve played the [Pro League] teams,” he said.
“I think we’re on the right track there are certain things we worked on and we see it happening in the games,” Charles continued. “We are using this league as preparation platform for the T-League. We have new players so it’s an opportunity for them to show themselves and [for the coaches to] get the right combinations.”
With just two points after three matches, Sheppard is still backing his side to rise in the Ascension. “The result today is a disappointing one. We anticipate we have some very tough games, but I don’t see any reason to despair. We have to put our shoulders to the wheel and execute. [If we had before] we would have been talking about six points today instead of two.”
QPCC (5-3-2): 1.Nicholas Dick; 21.Tevin Peters, 22.Dion Lewis (11.Ajani Clarence 53), 12.Kashif Clarke (30.Curtis Andrew 78), 17.Sherwin Noel, 23.Juaval Roberts; 7.Emmanuel Bunting (28.Enoch Charles 53), 4.Mikhail Awai, 27.Ronaldo Jacob (20.Shomari Antoine 40); 14.Ricardo John (10.Devon Modeste 75), 15.Trevon Mitchell.
Unused subs: 2.Dominic Hutchinson, 3.Jovan Marshall, 8.Alexis Ambrose, 26.Jameel Lashley.
Coach: Shawn Cooper
Defence Force (3-4-3): 80.Aaron Enill (GK); 5.Jerome McIntyre, 17.Curtis Gonzales, 13.Jules Lee; 18.Reon Moore (15.Shaquille Bertrand 80), 99.Jerwyn Balthazar, 27.Aaron Lester (26. Justin Garcia 64), 7.Jelani Felix; 10.Hashim Arcia (48.Dylon King 62 [32.Jameel Cooper 80]), 9.Devon Jorsling (11.Dwight Quintero 64), 14.Trevin Latapy.
Unused subs: 4.Kevon Blackman, 8.Brent Sam, 22.Darrius Ollivierra, 25.Sheldon Clarke.
Coach: Hutson Charles
Wired868 Man of the Match: Devon Jorsling (Defence Force)
Ascension Invitational Tournament
Division One Results
(Saturday 3 August)
Police FC 6 (Jameel Perry 41, 52, Kareem Freitas 46, Keion Wilson pen 72, Adriel Kerr 73, Joshua Leach 87), Matura ReUnited 0 at Police Academy, St James.
(Sunday 4 August)
QPCC 1 (Emmanuel Bunting 42), Defence Force FC 5 (Jerwyn Balthazar 16, Aaron Lester 29, Devorn Jorsling 44, 45, Jerome McIntyre 58) at St Mary’s College ground;
San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Nical Stephens 21, Shaquille John 25), Cunupia FC 1 (Domonique Roberts 15) at San Juan North Secondary ground;
Club Sando FC 1 (Keron Bethelmy 2), FC Santa Rosa 4 (Noel Williams 26, Giovanni Abraham 57, Kevon Cornwall 80, John-Paul Rochford 85) at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
Prison Service FC v Guaya United, 4pm, YTC, Arouca;
*—DNP due to waterlogged conditions.
Division Two results
(Saturday 3 August)
Moruga FC 1 (Nigel John 45), RSSR FC 0 at Grand Chemin Recreation Ground;
Police FC 0, UTT FC 3 (Kishun Seecharan 15, Cyrano Glen 51, Stevon Stoute 90) at Police Academy, St James;
Club Sando Uprising Yths 0, Deportivo PF 7 (Andrei Pacheco 11 pen, Jeremiah Kesar 50, Judah Garcia 56, Adan Noel 71, 88, Nathaniel Garcia 73, Ezekiel Kesar 90) at Guapo Recreation Ground;
(Sunday 4 August)
Marabella Family CC 2 (Darian Kennedy 26, Russell Orie 30), Erin FC 3 (Jardel Sinclair 43, 67, Shaquile Williams 58) at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium Training Field;
Petit Valley/D’go Martin Utd 1 (Kleon Melville 80), Bethel United 0 at St Anthony’s College Ground;
Harlem Strikers 1 (Wendell Archibald 53), San F’do Giants 4 (Kerville Jeremiah 20, 47, Johannes Richardson 67, 81) at Frederick Settlement Ground.
Ascension Invitational Standings