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Defending Digicel T&T Pro League champions Defence Force continued its climb up the nine-team table with a second win in four days, 1–0 over fourth-placed Point Fortin Civic FC at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Sunday night.
The lone goal came in the 34th minute through defender Glynn Franklyn who was later red carded.
With the win, Defence Force improved to 26 points from 14 matches in fifth spot, while Point Fortin, which had its eight-match unbeaten run snapped, stayed fourth with 29, three behind joint second placed Central FC and North East Stars while leaders DirecTV W Connection has 37 from 17.
From early as the seventh minute Point Fortin’s 22-year-old striker and league top scorer Marcus Joseph threatened to add to his 12 goals, however his blast crashed off the base of the right upright, and from the rebound, team-mate Andre Toussaint struck the opposite post.
Defence Force, despite being forced back also had multiple tries at goal, beginning with a left footed volley by defensive midfielder Dave Long ten minutes into the match, which forced a save out of goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.
Phillip’s goal also came under threat in the 24th minute, when a blast from distance by Josimar Belgrave sizzled inches over-bar, and seconds later an evenly powerful crack from the top of the six yard area left the Civic goalie temporarily winded after getting his body in the way.
The “Teteron Boys” finally made a short period of pressure count when they went ahead in the 34th minute through Franklyn who got the last touch for his team off a Kerry Joseph corner from the left before it went in off a Point Fortin player.
Devorn Jorsling then had a chance to extend his team’s lead two minutes later but his effort was thwarted by Phillip and four minutes from the break Civic’s upright came to its team rescue after defender Weslie John’s cut-off on a Jemel Sebro cross, directed the ball onto the side of the frame and luckily out for a corner.
Four minutes into the second-half Jorsling tested the Point Fortin goal again and in the 55th minute it had a shout for penalty waived off by referee Michael London when veteran winger Kerry Joseph went down inside the area.
At the other end of the field, Joseph was again denied by the frame in the 56th minute, hitting the near upright, with Defence Force goalkeeper Kevin Graham and his defenders left stranded by a neat Akeem Redhead pass into the area.
And from the rebound, substitute Sean Cooper spilled high and wide from just inside the area.
A minute later Toussaint flashed an effort just wide of the far upright, and the talented attacker did so again in the 65th minute as the Reynold Carrington-coached club, backed by hundreds of travelling supporters, pressed for the equliser.
Then in the 71st minute Phillip pulled off an excellent save for coach Reynold Carrington’s side, keeping out a low strike by Belgrave, who should have done better when Kerry Joseph played a Sebro cross into his path.
A minute later, Franklyn went from hero to villain after being shown a straight red card by referee Michael London in the 72nd minute for a foul on Point Fortin substitute, Kelvin Modeste.
And ten minutes from time, Ross Russell Jr spilled wide with Phillip at his mercy after racing onto a Kerry Joseph pass.
However, the “Teteron Boys”, with three matches in hand, will temporarily put their league title defence on the back burner as they to travel to Jamaica tomorrow, ahead of fixtures for the 2014 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship first round.
Defence Force are one of two teams that will represent T&T in the regional tournament, which also serves as the Caribbean qualifying phase to the CONCACAF Champions League.
The T&T Pro League champions will contest Group Three of the CFU Club Championship hosted in Jamaica from March 21-25, against Guyana’s Alpha United, Suriname’s Sporting Vereniging Notch, and home team Habour View FC.
Meanwhile, last season’s Pro League runners-up, Caledonia, will contest Group Two during the same dates against Sportive de Mirebalais of host country Haiti, Inter Moengotapoe of Suriname and Jamaica’s Waterhouse FC.
Group One will be contested in Puerto Rico, with Centro Dominguito of the Netherlands Antilles, Unite Saint Rosienne of Curacao, Cayman Islands outfit Bodden Town and home team Bayamon FC making up that group.
The winner of each group will advance to the semifinal round with automatic berth, Valencia FC of Haiti.
But, today, action continues with a double-header at Couva when Point Fortin has a chance to rebound when it faces bottom of the table St Ann’s Rangers from 6 pm and W Connection comes up against San Juan Jabloteh two hours later.
Teams P W D L F A Pts
W Connection 17 11 4 2 32 12 37
Central FC 18 8 8 2 34 17 32
North East Stars 18 9 5 4 21 12 32
Point Fortin Civic 17 9 2 6 26 17 29
Defence Force 15 8 2 5 29 21 26
Police 17 7 3 7 23 26 24
Caledonia 17 5 6 6 24 21 21
Jabloteh 17 3 2 12 19 38 11
Rangers 18 1 0 17 12 56 3
Defence Force 1 (Glynn Franklyn 34th) vs Point Fortin Civic 0
Venue: Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
St Ann’s Rangers vs Point Fortin Civic, 6 pm
W Connection vs San Juan Jabloteh, 8 pm