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It surely wasn’t the sort of baptism new boys FC South End expected against Defence Force in their opening DIgicel Pro League match on Saturday night at the Larry Gomes Stadium but it would be one to remember after conceding four second half goals to lose 4-1.
But it was the sort of baptism coach Ross Russell would gladly accept in his first match as head coach of the Pro League Defence Force.

Larry Bacchus headed in the opening item in the 18th minute for South End against a slow starting Defence Force for a 1-0 advantage which lasted the half but four second half goals inclusive of a double by Kevon Carter trashed the southerners.

Defence Force responded to Bacchus’ in the 27th minute with a rare attack on goal but only managed what looked more like a cross by Kevon Carter which was easily gathered by goalkeeper Perry Martin.

South End missed out on doubling their advantage in the 31st minute when captain Romauld Aguillera fired high above the area after collecting a loose ball above the area in of their many runs against the Army’s defence.

The southerners were at it again in the 38th minute but goalkeeper Graham was huge in goal for Army keeping out a 30 yard strike by Sean Leoung Tat and the follow-up by Kendell Davis keeping the score 1-0 in favour of the Anthony Rougier coached side.

But six minutes into the second period Army levelled the scores 1-1 through a well taken Christopher Durity strike after a cheeky backheel by Devon Jorsling set him goalbound.

Kevon Carter then pumped the Ross Russell coached side ahead 2-1 four minutes later—in the 55th minute— as South End watched their first half advantage disappear. Carter was picked out well by winger Jerwyn Balthazar and he did the finish touch to beat goalkeeper Martin.

2008 Godlden Boot winner Devon Jorsling then made it 3-1 in the 64th minute in one of the finest flicks of his head to beat Martin and give his team a good advantage against South End.

Army then extended their advantage to 4-1 when Carter completed his double in the 77th minute beating Martin after being picked out ‘workhorse’ Balthazar.

South End best second half effort was a 35 yard attempt by goalscorer Bacchus in the 75th minute but that was overshadowed by the brilliance of Defence Force who came from behind to win the match 4-1 at the final whistle.

Defence Force 4—1 FC South End
Christopher Durity 51’, Kevon Carter 55’, 77’Devon Jorsling 64’ ; Larry Bacchus 18’,

Defence Force—Kevin Graham, Michael Edwards (capt), Keston Williams, David Alleyne, Christopher Durity, Ronald St Louis (Sean Narcis 82nd), Jerwin Balthazar, Aklie Edwards, Raul Fletcher, Devon Jorsling (Dexter Pacheco 87th), Kevon Carter (Julius Babandemo 86th).

Coach—Ross Russell

FC South End—Perry Martin, Romauld Aguillera (capt), Kevin Rouse, Marlon Stoute, Anthony Haynes, Larry Bacchus, Eddison Smart (Sadiki Steward 68th), Kelvin Hernandez (Brenton De Leon  86th), Sylvester Teesdale, Sean Leoung Tat, Kendall Davis.

Coach—Anthony Rougier
Cheerful soldiers spank South End.
By: Lasana Liburd (Express).

There were smiles all around at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar on Saturday night as the Defence Force football team helped new head coach and former Trinidad and Tobago national goalkeeper Ross Russell to a dream start with a 4-1 spanking of debutantes FC South End 4-1 in their 2009 Digicel Pro League opener.

The winds of change have been irrepressible this weekend as Earl Jean's CLICO and Blink San Juan Jabloteh, Derek King's revamped Joe Public and Michael McComie's Ma Pau triumphed on opening day.

Defence Force's result was the most emphatic but that was just a part of the story.

Four items from the Regiment saw off a spirited South End side. But the camaraderie and pride taken in their job, as evidenced by their exuberant celebrations, was as ominous for future opponents-and United Petrotrin's Brazilian coaching staff observed proceedings from the stands-as the goals themselves.

When Kevon Carter completed the rout with a simple tap-in, he crouched behind a Digicel billboard and flagged his teammates to join him. More than half the Defence Force team followed suit for an impromptu game of hide and seek.

South End technical director Anthony Rougier might have hoped that they really did get lost.

The final result was harsh on the southern visitors who played their part in a lively contest. Rougier's troops lined up in a 3-5-2 formation and did not lack for structure or adventure.

The Pro League newcomers were first on the scoresheet as defender Larry Bacchus headed home from an accurate Sean Leoung Tat cross in the 17th minute. Bacchus and Leoung Tat were among a multitude of former Petrotrin employees in South End kit including their skipper Romauld Aguillera who skied an excellent chance to double their advantage in their 30th minute after being teed up by Sylvester Teesdale.

Defence Force custodian Kevin Graham made a splendid double save to keep the scores down too as he parried a long range Leoung Tat effort and then spread his body to deny the rebound from Kendell Davis, late in the first half.

But South End paid for their wastefulness when a more purposeful Defence Force emerged after the halftime interval.

Versatile midfielder Chris Durity neatly tucked home from close quarters to equalise in the 52nd minute, after a clever return pass from star striker Devon Jorsling, and gleefully flattened the corner flag as part of his goal celebrations.

Russell's men have clearly given a lot of thought to not just scoring goals but commemorating them as well.

Carter bettered Durity for artistic impression when he marked his first item, in the 55th minute by a chest bump with Jorsling, which saw both players crumble comically to the ground while their teammates also collapsed like a pack of cards. The speedy striker went even further for Defence Force's final item as he and his teammates hid behind a billboard.

Not that it was all fun and games in a close, competitive fixture.

Defence Force's right winger Jerwin Balthazar, a national futsal player, was arguably the difference between the teams as his clever footwork and accurate delivery created both of Carter's items. They were sandwiched by an outrageous strike by Jorsling who curled home at the near post with his left boot direct from a right side corner kick.

Jorsling, who was the 2008 Pro League top scorer with 21 items, converted an identical item in Malabar against Caledonia AIA last year and, like last season, responded with a sprint down the touchline with arms spread wide.

Jorsling might not get extra credit for choreography but Russell knows the benefit of having arguably the Pro League's most potent striker in top form. So does Rougier, unfortunately.

Pro League scores:

Defence Force 4 (Christopher Durity, Kevon Carter (2), Devon Jorsling) v FC South End 1 (Larry Bacchus)

Tobago United 1 (Reginald Payne (pen) v Ma Pau SC 2 (Anton Wolfe, Rennie Britto)