Thu, May

La Horquetta Rangers' Tyrone Charles (middle) fends of a challenge from Defence Force's Matthew Woo Ling (left) while Brent Sam (right) looks on during a TTPFL match at La Horquetta Recreation Ground on Saturday, April 6th 2024.

With just three matches left in their season, the Trinidad and Tobago Premier League (TTPFL) title slipped a little bit further out of the grasp of defending champions Defence Force, when they suffered a late setback and drew 1-1 away to Terminix La Horquetta Rangers on Saturday.

Last season’s winners Defence Force (31 points) could well find themselves further adrift, as leaders Police FC (34 points) and second-placed AC Port of Spain (33 points) were due to meet in a season defining match last evening.

At La Horquetta, substitute Isaiah Lee struck late when roofing the ball at the far post after an interchange of passes in the 82nd minute, to pull Rangers level. The Army had led since the 23rd minute when defender Caleb Sturge sliced the ball past goalkeeper Jabari Brice for an unfortunate own goal, when trying to cut out a pass from busy winger Kendell Hitlal.

A game of much excitement and also contentious moments, it could have gone either way, but having equalised, Rangers were terrors on their Phase 2 ground at the end, threatening to take full points.

Tensions also threatened to boil over, after referee Crystal Sobers awarded a controversial 60th minute penalty, when burly Ranger’s stopper Jevon Morris went in hard, clearly got to the ball first, but collided with Defence Force midfielder Shaquille Bertrand.

The penalty presented Defence Force a chance to take a two-goal advantage. What resulted was a fracas, as both camps became ‘hot’ before Sobers rescinded her decision on the advice of an official on the sidelines.

Much earlier, there was an early first-half chance for Defence Force, with La Horquetta-based central defender Justin Garcia heading over Bertrand’s cross.

The Army dominated the first half, with Hitlal particularly causing no end of trouble up the left flank.

Rangers came alive in the second half and, having equalised, scorer Lee had several chances to get a winner, the same as striker Brent Sam, who on the other end, produced a point-black header which goalie Brice blocked with his body. Keeper Christopher Biggette was also busy in the Army goal, as Lee, Akido Weeks and Tyrese Bailey each threatened his goal with shots.

SOURCE: T&T Express