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Defending Digicel Pro League champion Defence Force failed to make the best of a rescheduled Round Two Match Day Three fixture against North East Stars on Tuesday, as it was held to a 1-1 draw.
With one point each, Defence Force sits seventh with 17 points and five matches in hand, while North East Stars, remain fourth, now with 23 points and a fixture in hand.
Ahead of the Stars are Central FC and Point Fortin Civic with 26 points each, in second and third positions, respectively, while W Connection is eight points ahead with 34.
Defence Force, playing catch up since coming off a self-imposed suspension a week ago, had a 32nd minute 1-0 lead against the Stars when midfielder Jerwyn Balthazar, from inside the area, directed Devorn Jorsling’s free-kick past goalkeeper Cleon John.
But Ross Russell’s side surrendered that advantage four minutes from the break after central defender Devin Jordan failed to control a forward pass by the Stars, allowing forward Lemuel Lyons a free run at goal.
Lyons, who joined the Angus Eve-coached San Grande club in the December/January transfer window, capitalised on the opportunity with a low strike past a hapless goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke to tie the score at 1-1.
Lyons, who was denied by Clarke in the 17th minute, and headed overbar off a Keron Cummings’ free-kick four minutes later, was replaced by speedy forward Trevin Caesar thirteen minutes inside the second period.
By then Defence Force was still adjusting to a sending off of right-back and captain Corey Rivers seconds before the half-time whistle.
Rivers had picked up his second yellow card of the afternoon for a foul on Kennedy Hinkson and was shown no mercy by the relatively unknown (to the Pro League level) referee Marvin Pierre.
Pierre’s assignment from then on was a cool trot on the artificial turf.
While the Stars, with an extra man, failed to take advantage of the situation, and only forced a save out of Clarke in the 64th minute.
It was from an attempted cross by Chike Sullivan on the right, that turned out an attempt on goal, and Clarke had to cleverly tip the ball overbar.
The Stars however, were also lucky not to concede in the second half after Jemel Sebro struck the side netting in the 51st minute following a positive string of passes by Army.
And in the 74th minute a 23-yard free-kick by Jorsling crashed off the upright.
North East Stars 1 (Lemuel Lyons 41st) vs Defence Force 1 (Jerwyn Balthazar 32nd)
Teams Pld W D L F A Pts
W Connection 18 10 4 1 30 9 34
Point Fortin 15 8 2 5 23 16 26
Central FC 16 6 8 2 28 15 26
N/E Stars 15 6 5 4 14 10 23
Police FC 14 6 3 5 19 20 21
Caledonia 15 5 6 4 22 16 21
Defence Force 11 5 2 4 19 17 17
Jabloteh 16 3 2 11 19 37 11
Rangers 15 1 0 14 11 45 3
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