T&T's international striker Jamille “Balo” Boatswain marked his return to the Defence Force Football team with a late goal off the bench on Saturday, but it came in a losing effort as the Tetron Boys were edged 3-2 by rivals Police FC in one of two rescheduled Pro League clashes at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Kareem “Scooby” Freitas scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season in all competitions to cushion the Lawmen after veteran Defence Force forward Devorn Jorsling had cancelled Shakuile Williams’ second-minute opener with a free kick early in the second half.
Jorsling, though, failed to level the game at the death after Boatswain, 24, who first joined Tetron Boys in January 2017 from Point Fortin Civic before moving to Costa Rica’s LD Alajuelense, put the Marvin Gordon coached-Defence Force within striking distance of a point.
Earlier, Keion Goodridge, Joshua Alexander and debuting 20-year-old Grenada international forward Saydrel Lewis all scored their first Morvant Caledonia United goals to lift the 'Eastern Stallions' to their first Pro League win of the season with a 3-0 win over Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers.
The Jerry Moe-coached Morvant Caledonia (on 5 points), with a game in hand against bottom-placed North East Stars, however, continue to occupy eighth spot, one down from Rangers (6 points) while Police (9 points) are sixth, one point less than, in descending order, Defence Force, Central FC and Club Sando. Last season’s runners-up W Connection (16 points) and San Juan Jabloteh (13 points) lead the pack ahead of the break.
Goodridge, 27, a multiple-time league winner with former club Central FC, headed his latest employers Morvant Caledonia in front 1-0 after 18 minutes when he steered a Renaldo Francois corner past Rangers goalie Jabari St. Hillaire.
Hillaire’s second half continued the way the first ended and was forced into action seconds into the restart by Daniel.
Alexander then put his name on the scoresheet for the first time in his professional career with a goal he’d never forget after smashing the ball past the towering frame of Hillaire from distance six minutes into the second half to make it 2-0.
Lewis, six minutes after replacing Andrew Murray who failed to convert a one-on-one chance with Hillaire and two days after arriving in T&T, smashed in Morvant Caledonia’s third item to make it 3-0 after he was picked out by overlooked T&T international Aikim Andrews in the 64th minute.
Lewis, formerly of Paradise FC in his native Grenada, missed a second two minutes later when he turned an Andrews cross directly at Hillaire who gathered comfortably.
In the second contest, Shakuile Williams made the best of a rare start for the Richard Hood coached-Police, and it took the diminutive forward one minute and 34 seconds to fire the Lawmen in front, 1-0 with his first top-flight goal.
Williams controlled sharply in the box before quickly jabbing the ball past Defence Force goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke. Williams found the back of the net again on 36th-minute but that time his celebrations ended prematurely with the flag already raised for offside.
Hardworking Christian Thomas, who had won the ball from right-back Jemel Sebro to provide the opening assist, tested Clarke from above the area on the half-hour mark, but the Defence Force ‘keeper was equal to the task as he did again two minutes from the break after Thomas’s nutmeg on defender Aklie Edwards to create a look on goal.
However, Jorsling levelled the Tetron Boys 1-1 three minutes into the second half when Police goalkeeper Adrian Foncette spilled the striker’s free-kick into his own net – after Brent Sam was brought down at the edge of the box.
But Freitas, who has now scored in three consecutive outings for Police, headed the Lawmen back in front 2-1 after 53d minutes of play after towering in the Defence Force six-yard area to put a Christon Thomas cross past Clarke.
Freitas later completed his third double of the season in all competitions with his sixth league goal by way of the penalty spot when he wrong sided Clarke to cushion the Lawmen 3-1 in the 71st minute after referee Gordon Maloney pointed to the spot for a handball in Defence Force in the area.
Defence Force came within striking distance of a draw after substitutes Reon Moore and Boatswain, whose latest stint was in South America with CD Honduras Progreso, combined three minutes from time for the latter to score at close range, beating Foncette.
However, with Police leading narrowly 3-2, Jorsling struck overbar at the goalmouth on another Moore feed into the area in the 90th minute as the Lawmen held on for a third straight win.
Pro League action is scheduled to return from Sep. 14 with Morvant Caledonia and Defence Force against Jabloteh and Sando, respectively, in a doubleheader at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers 0 vs Morvant Caledonia United 3 (Keion Goodridge 18’, Joshua Alexander 51’, Saydrel Lewis 64’), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Defence Force FC 2 (Devorn Jorsling 48’, Jamille Boatswain 87’) vs Police FC 3 (Shakuile Williams 2’, Kareem Freitas 53’, 71’ pen.), at Ato Boldon Stadium.