Defending champions Defence Force fell to a 2-0 defeat to Central FC on Tuesday night at Ato Boldon Stadium, after returning to the Pro League following a one-month absence. The “Army” were pulled from competition in January by the national security authorities, as a response to the worsening crime situation.
“Sharks” captain Marvin Oliver scored first near the half hour mark, and midfielder Jason Marcano doubled the score midway through the second. The “Sharks” moved up three spots into third with 23 points, but still 10 points adrift of leaders W Connection. Defence Force remain seventh of nine teams with 13 points, but have five outstanding matches. Army coach Ross Russell is still confident of the team doing well this season.
“The league is still open. We have five games in hand and I think W Connection have started to slide. If we win all our (remaining) games, including (beating) W Connection, we still win the league. I won’t count (our chances) out yet,” Russell said. “Central didn’t play all over us. We were in the game for the 90 minutes and had chances. So it was about our sharpness. Other teams have been playing regularly, while we haven’t been playing at all.”
Rookie assistant coach Marc Lesie was in charge of Central FC, after head-coach Terry Fenwick returned to England because of a family emergency. Fenwick is due to return on Wednesday. On the field, striker Willis Plaza’s low left footed strike brought the first save out of Defence Force’s second choice goalie Sheldon Clarke in the 24th, and ex-soldier Samuel Delice struck the crossbar in the 27th minute.
Defence Force came closest to scoring in the 32nd minute through Devorn Jorsling, who unfortunately slipped inside the six yard area and allowed goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams to save with his legs. A minute later, the soldiers conceded. Oliver put Central into a 1-0 advantage by volleying past Clarke at the first post for a 1-0 advantage after Plaza headed a poor Army clearance back into the area.
Defence Force came close to equalising in the 70th minute, but Kevon Carter’s weak header was easily gathered by Williams. A minute later, Marcano doubled Central’s lead 2-0, for his third consecutive goal in as many matches. The energetic attacking midfielder picked up a pass into the area from substitute Johan Peltier’s, slipped away from the Army keeper and shot past two defenders and the Army goalie.