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Police, Army move up before Christmas break

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Police FC and defending champion Defence Force are now second and third, respectively, on the Digicel Pro League standings, and will remain there during the Christmas break which runs from today until January 2.


Police, previously third, tackled second-placed North East Stars in the first match of the Round One Match Day Eight double header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, on Friday night and edged the Angus Eve-coached Sangre Grande club 1-0.


Coach Richard Hood’s men, now with 13 points in second, grabbed what turned out to be the winner in the 31st minute, when midfielder and team captain Todd Ryan headed a well-placed goal towards Akiba Peters’ corner, which Stars midfielder Kaashif Thomas failed to keep out.


Stars, who have ten points, slipped a spot following the defeat, then a further spot into fourth by the end of the second match at the Mucurapo Road venue.


Defence Force, previously occupying fourth, moved a spot upwards with 12 points, after overcoming a stubborn eighth-placed San Juan Jabloteh 2-0.


The Ross Russell-coached Defence Force scored on either side of the half in a match that saw a couple flared tempers near the end.


Midfielder Jerwyn Balthazar broke the San Juan club a minute before the break for a 1-0 advantage, when he scored from close up, after the Jabloteh defence failed to clear a Devorn Jorsling free kick swung into the area.


Jorsling later spilled an excellent scoring opportunity in the 72nd minute, heading overbar from close up when he met a Ross Russell Jr corner from the left.


The ace forward was on target in the 75th minute but was denied by Jabloteh goalkeeper Kevin Dodds, who guided the well-struck 22-yard free-kick onto the crossbar and behind for a corner.


However, Defence Force doubled the advantage, 2-0, by the 86th minute when Russell Jr smashed in substitute Kerry Joseph corner at the back post, and his celebrations included his customary hug from his father and head coach, Ross Russell.


In the end, Army doing well to find the back of the net twice, while keeping Jabloteh and this season’s leading league goalscorer Kerry Baptiste (seven goals) at bay.


Baptiste’s best openings of the match came in the 90th minute and wasn’t his usual form; first slicing a Lemuel Lyons’ cross with an acrobatic attempt, and on the follow-up cross by Nyron Jones, Baptiste missed an attempted header.


Round One Match Day Eight continued last night with league leader DirecTV W Connection (18 points), fresh from Wednesday’s 6-5 penalty win, following a 2-2 draw in the Trophy Final against town rivals Central FC, was scheduled to face sixth-positioned Caledonia AIA (eight points).


Earlier, the seventh-positioned Central (8 points) was to host bottom of the table St Ann’s Rangers (3 points).


Fifth-positioned Point Fortin Civic, with nine points from seven matches, was on a bye, and will return to action when the league resumes on January 3 with Round One Match Day Nine.



Friday’s results


Police FC 1 (Todd Ryan 31st) vs North East Stars 0

San Juan Jabloteh 0 vs Defence Force 2 (Jerwyn Balthazar 44th, Ross Russell Jr 86th)


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