Thirty-four-year-old former UK-based striker Hector Sam rolled back the years with a brilliant strike for St Ann’s Rangers this evening at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain. But it was not enough to peg back Defence Force who won the 2012/13 Digicel Pro League’s season opener 2-1.
Local football fans got their first sight of the Richard Roy and Devorn Jorsling partnership today and so far so good. Jorsling and Roy scored within two minutes of each other as Defence Force predictably proved too much for the St Ann’s team.
The ball movement and spatial awareness of the army/coast guard troops was too much for the young Rangers team that was arguably flattered by the final scoreline.
It was an especially difficult debut for Rangers’ right side midfielder Kyle Bartholomew. Or, to be more precise, it was a torrid evening for his right back Devon Modeste.
Defence Force left back Aklie Edwards was full of running and Bartholomew didn’t seem to think that it had anything to do with him.
Bartholomew’s disinterest in defensive duties might have led to Defence Force’s opener in the 32nd minute as Edwards ran into acres of space and drove the ball towards the last post. Goalkeeper Zane Coker flicked out an arm at it but only fended it into Jorsling’s path.
Jorsling, on his first game back for the “Teteron Boys” since two seasons away with Orlando City and Caledonia AIA respectively, made no mistake.
Two minutes later, Defence Force doubled its advantage as Roy finished confidently from the penalty spot after Coker had clattered Roy Russell Jr. Not a bad start for the “Ro-Jo” front pairing.
Defence Force failed to add to its tally though and Rangers nearly found a way back into the game through a special Sam strike.
Army, Stars win
By Ian Prescott (Express).
Just like old times.
Devorn Jorsling and Richard Roy, the top scorers in the last two seasons both found the net as 2010 champions Defence Force opened the 2012-2013 season of the Digicel Pro League with a 2-1 win over St Ann's Rangers at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday night.
And Angus Eve won his opening match as head-coach of a Pro League team when North East Stars shocked Caribbean champions Neal & Massy Caledonia 3-1. Cornell Glen and Kerry Baptiste once terrorised defences as a tandem at San Juan Jabloteh when Eve was assistant coach there, and both netted early in the second half to give Stars a 2-0 lead.
Kareem Joseph then brought Caledonia back into contention at 2-1 in the 74th minute before Kaydion Gabriel got a third goal for Stars deep into injury time.
Having recruited heavily during the off season, Rangers sported bright new red uniforms and a new attitude. The St Ann's team made most of the running against the Defence Force in the opening 20 minutes, but failed to convert their chances. Ultimately, the missed opportunities came back to haunt them. But early on, Rangers looked good.
A clever backheel from Luke Hernandez set up an early chance for Rangers' Cameron Roget, but the latter's shot deflected off a defender and just curled wide of an unguarded net.
Sam also missed a sitter when turning the ball wide with his left foot from six yards out following Roget's set-up, and new recruit Jason Marcano lifted a header over the bar soon after.
Rangers central midfielder Mikhail Awai also stung the fingertips of Defence Force goalie Kevin Graham from long range, and forced the keeper to push his powerful shot over the bar.
Indeed, Defence Force had done nothing of significance until scoring twice in two minutes to take control of the match. Even then, they were well aided by a shaky Rangers goalie Zane Cooker, who contributed significantly to both goals.
First, Aklie Edwards' cross should never have reached the back post. But when Coker nervously pushed the ball towards Jorsling, the striker put the ball into the net in the 32nd to give Defence Force a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Coker conceded a penalty when he pulled down Defence Force winger Ross Russell Jr. and Roy (34th) converted the spot kick to give the army side a 2-0 lead. Coker had initially gone timidly into a tackle, and when the ball rebound to Russell, the keeper was forced to foul the wide left midfielder.
Although looking capable going forward, Rangers looked unsteady at the back, particularly on the right and later survived a few more scares. But they got a deserved goal when Sam scored in the 73rd, applying a clinical low finish to a straight through ball.
Gabriel gives Eve winning start.
T&T Guardian Reports.
Substitute Kaydion Gabriel scored a goal and set up another as a revamped North East Stars under new coach Angus Eve made a winning start to the 2012/2013 Digicel T&T Pro League.
Stars whipped last year’s third place finisher and Caribbean Football Union Club Championship holders, Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA 3-1, on Friday night. This was in the second match of the “Super Friday” double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo to kick off the 2012/2013 season.
In the earlier match, the defending league champion Defence Force got a goal each from strikers Devorn Jorsling and Richard “Shaka” Roy, the league topscorers in the past two seasons to hold off a spirited St Ann’s Rangers, 2-1.
In yesterday’s lone encounter Todd Ryan scored a 47th minute penalty and substitute Kareem Perry in the 87th minute for Police to shut-down last year’s runner-up T&TEC, 2-0 at the same venue.
However, on the night, it was Eve’s Stars’ which made the biggest impression on the partisan crowd with former San Juan Jabloteh and Soca Warriors strikers, Cornell Glen and Kerry Baptiste leading the Sangre Grande-based club attack.
But early on despite enjoying the better of the exchanges in the first 45 minutes, Stars’ which also featured off-season signings Kevon Villaroel, Kareem Moses, Elijah Manners, Jayson Joseph and goalkeeper Cleon John in its starting line-up, failed to break down the sluggish looking Caledonia which had the benefit of playing two matches already this season in the Concacaf Champions League.
Six minutes into the second-half, Stars finally get a deserved go-ahead item Glen wrong-footed defenders Aquil Selby and Nuru Muhammad at the top of the 18-yard, made some space for himself on his less fancied left foot and fired a shot back across the outstretched Glenroy Samuel into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal for 1-0 scoreline.
Not satisfied with his team’s 1-0 lead a relaxed looking Eve on the Stars’touch-line introduced the nippy Gabriel for the workman-like Jean-Luc Rochford, a former Caledonia player in the 61st minute and within four minutes he set up Baptiste inside the area for an easy finish and a 2-0 lead.
Against the run of play, Caledonia with former India-based Densill Theobald back in its line-up was gifted a chance to get back into the match after defender Joseph was adjudged by referee Neil Brizan, to have shoved Caledonia leftback Walter Moore to the ground as the two players contested a pass from Jamal Gay.
From the resulting spot-kick, Kareem Joseph easily converted to cut the lead in half at 2-1 but despite their late efforts, Caledonia could not salvage a point as Gabriel found the target, four minutes into time added on, to the delight of the club’s travelling supporters and its coach.
In the night’s opener, former England-based striker Hector Sam missed a glaring chance to put Rangers ahead when he failed to connect cleanly with a left sided centre from Cameron Roget.
Rangers was then made to pay in the 32nd minute when goalkeeper Zane Coker could only parry a low left sided cross from the lively Aklie Edwards onto the onrushing Jorsling and two minutes later Coker was at fault again, as he needlessly bundled over Ross Russell Jr. in the 18-yard box for a penalty which was converted by Roy.
Sam made amends for his early miss with a clinic finish into goalkeeper Kevin Graham’s far post with 17 minutes left in the match, but in the end the “Teteron Boys” held on for a narrow victory.
Police 2 (Todd Ryan 47th pen, Kareem Perry 86th) vs T&TEC 0.
Defence Force 2 (Devorn Jorsling 32nd, Richard Roy 34th pen) vs Rangers 1 (Hector Sam 73rd).
North East Stars 3 (Cornell Glen 51st, Kerry Baptiste 66th, Kaydion Gabriel 90+4th) vs Caledonia 1 (Kareem Joseph pen)