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Army blanks Stars, W Connection held
Jerwyn Balthazar and Devorn Jorsling were both on target as defending champion Defence Force kept alive its hopes of retaining the Digicel T&T Pro League crown with a hard fought 2-0 win over fellow title hopefuls North East Stars. This was in a rescheduled league encounter at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, yesterday. Following their disappointing exit from their Caribbean Football Union Club Championship qualifying campaign in Jamaica last week, a qualifier to the Concacaf Champions League, the Army/Coast-Guard combination was eager to extend its three match winning streak in the league, against an Angus Eve-coached Stars team that was unbeaten in its last eight.
Balthazar eventually broke the deadlock in the 17th minute for Defence Force while the prolific Devorn Jorsling added the other in the 68th to give his team a cushion. Stars’ which was hoping to take advantahe of leaders’ W Connection 1-1 draw with third place Pt Fortin Civic FC at the same venue on Friday night ended the match with ten men after inform striker Trevin Ceasar’s frustration on the day resulted in a straight red card from referee Michael London for dissent with less than two minutes left in the match. In the end it was a crucial three points earned for fifth placed Defence Force, now with 29 from 16 matches, 13 behind W Connection, but with four matches in hand.
Stars’, meanwhile remained fourth on the standings with 33 points from 20 matches, the same as Pt Fortin which has a better goal-difference while Central FC which had its match against Police on Friday night postponed stayed second with 35 from 19 matches. On Friday, Pt Fortin’s Sean Cooper snatched an equaliser for his team in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time, keeping W Connection within striking distance with four matches left to play. The 32-year-old Cooper, a January signing blasted past goalkeeper Julani Archibald from the right of the area and inside the near upright. Earlier on, W Connection had taken an eight minute lead when an Alvin Jones’ free-kick from 25-yards out took a wicked deflection off former “Savonnetta Boys” player Nickholson Thomas, standing in the defensive wall, to beat an unlucky goalkeeper Marvin Phillip inside the far upper corner. Phillip then kept his team in the match with saves to deny Jerrel Britto and Jamal Clarence before Cooper stunned W Connection.