CLEAR CHANCES were few, far between and limited to Richard Roy's late effort that was cleared off the goal-line in the dying seconds, as Pro League leaders Defence Force (37 points) and second-placed Caledonia AIA (34 points) played out a nevertheless competitive draw on Friday night at Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya.
Also on Friday, defending champions W Connection (29 points) moved to third after coasting to a comfortable 3-0 victory over strugglers St Ann's Rangers. W Connection never got out of first gear, getting all three goals from their midfielders. Influential attacking midfielder Joevin Jones scored once, the second goal with a low, curling finish to the far corner in the 48th minute. Jones also swung in a corner-kick for central midfielder Clyde Leon to head in for the opening goal in the 20th minute, and he also provided an opportunity for hard-working Surinamese midfielder Stefano Rijssel to stroke home from close up in 75th minute.
At the very top, Defence Force maintained their four-point lead over Caledonia with just four matches left in their 2012-2013 Digicel Pro League season. The Army finish the season with difficult matches against W Connection and Central FC "The Sharks", but also play bottom teams Police and Rangers. However, Defence Force assistant coach Marvin Gordon and Caledonia head-coach Jerry Moe both agreed that the Friday's goalless result favoured the Army.
"The draw was not bad for us," stated outstanding former Defence Force midfielder Gordon. "We went looking for a victory to open up a seven-point margin, but the draw was not bad. It is Caledonia AIA that needed to win. We now go into the last four matches with a lead of four points. If we can win our next two matches, I think that will more or less signal that we have won the League".
The closest anyone came to scoring on Friday was in the very last minute when a cross flew across the Caledonia goal. Grenada national goalkeeper Shemel Louison touched the ball to the top of the penalty area, from where Army substitute Richard Roy let loose a shot that was cleared off the goal line. Earlier, Army winger Kevon Carter twice only got caught by a whisker trying to beat the offside trap, and influential Caledonia midfielders Densil Theobald and Keyon Edwards both had brief looks at goal within the Defence Force penalty area before defenders pounced on them.
"The game was a difficult one.......a game of tactics," Gordon said. "I thought that the midfield of both teams were brilliant with their marking and tracking back. We cancelled out each other a bit, that is why there was not much clear-cut chances".
Moe agreed that Caledonia suffered more from the goalless results. But with four matches left, he felt they still have some chance of winning the 2012-2013 league competition.
"The results wasn't a total disaster. But, at the same time the result favoured the Defence Force," Moe said. "The game began a little cagey early on because of the importance of the match to both teams. The first half was a bit slow and I think Defence Force was better in the midfield then. The second half was much more up-tempo, since both teams went for the win.
"There were some chances, but not clear chances, mainly because both teams defended well. Defensively, I knew that we had to be at the top of our game, because Defence Force have a lot of match winners in their squad."
Friday's DIGICEL PRO LEAGUE RESULTS:
W Connection 3 (Clyde Leon 20, Joevin Jones 48, Stefano Rijssel 75) vs
St Ann's Rangers 0
Caledonia AIA 0 vs Defence Force 0
DIGICEL PRO LEAGUE STANDINGS:
Teams P W D L GF GA GD Points
Defence Force 17 11 4 2 43 17 26 37
Caledonia AIA 17 10 3 4 43 24 19 33
W Connection 17 8 5 4 32 18 14 29
North East Stars 16 7 6 3 22 14 8 27
Central FC 16 6 5 5 23 26 -3 23
Police 16 3 5 8 22 31 -9 14
St Ann's Rangers 17 2 4 11 19 43 -24 10
T&TEC 16 2 2 12 12 43 -31 8