ATO BOLDON STADIUM, Couva, 2 MAY 2014 – Digicel Pro League leaders W Connection needed to twice equalise on Friday night to pull off a 2-2 draw in dramatic style against title contenders and defending champions Defence Force to retain a one point lead.
Connection right-back Alvin Jones flipped zero to hero in the 81st minute when he blasted in the final equaliser for the longstanding Stuart Charles Fevrier coached-leaders.
The drawn rescheduled Round Two Match Day Eight result saw Connection's tally to 45 points and Defence Force to 44 with two matches remaining.
Both sides will meet again on Tuesday from 8 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Round Three Match Day Eight, before Connection ends against Caledonia AIA on May 13 and Defence Force against San Juan Jabloteh.
Central FC, third with 41 points and against Jabloteh and St. Ann's Rangers in its final two matches, are still within a mathematical chance of finishing second to qualify for the Caribbean Club Championship, which is also the qualifying stage for the Concacaf Champions League.
Defence Force grabbed a 1-0 lead on the 20th minute on Friday when midfielder Jerwyn Balthazar executed a wonderful left-footed half volley past Connection goalkeeper Julani Archibald off a short cross by Curtis Gonzales.
But Connection fired back nine minutes later leveling the scoring 1-1 with a header by Suriname forward Stefano Rijssell after a left-footed effort by Jerrel Britto crashed off goalkeeper Kevin Graham’s crossbar.
Fans expecting an intense and exciting contest, got exactly what they turned up to see from the top of the table performance.
The “Savonnetta Boys” had just made up for two missed opportunities and an offside goal by Joevin Jones.
Graham was forced to make a low stop against a 3rd minute Alvin Jones free kick and a gather against a deflected Britto strike in the 14th minute.
The Defence Force custodian faced another Jones (Alvin) free kick from distance in the 53rd minute and was relieved to see effort deflect just wide.
Connection, however, were reduced to 10 men a minute later when Colombian utility player Christian Viveros was shown a second yellow card by referee Neal Brizan for a foul on Gonzales midway inside the “Savonnetta Boys” half.
Connection head coach responded with the introduction of veteran midfield hard-man Silvio Spann at the expense of forward Britto, and later replaced forward Hashim Arcia and Neil Benjamin Jr. and in search of three points against the side that held them 1-1 in Round One.
Archibald then avoided another Army goal after he was forced into two saves at the near post in the 75th minute: first keeping out Josimar Belgrave’s strike before putting behind a follow-up effort by Corey Rivers.
In the 80th minute however, the St. Kitts/Nevis international goalie was beaten by Defence Force substitute Devorn Jorsling's laser just inside the upright as Coach Ross Russell's soldiers celebrated a 2-1 advantage.
Jorsling, coming off a hamstring injury, was picked out by substitute Kerry Joseph’s pass and turned sharply against Jones (Alvin) before letting off his deadly left-footed strike.
But it only took Jones only a minute to make up in the 81st by blasting into the Defence Force net for a 2-2 score when he met Rijssel’s low cross which managed to slip past four defenders inside the area.
Rijssel was later replaced by Jamal Clarence, but the substitute's low stoppage time effort wasn’t enough to manage full points against Defence Force.
On Tuesday 6 May, Round Three Match Day Eight will see Central against Jabloteh from 6 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium following by Defence Force against W Connection.
And at the Hasely Crawford Stadium North East Stars will meet cellar positioned Rangers from 7 pm, followed by Caledonia against Point Fortin Civic from 9 pm.
W Connection 2—2 Defence Force
Stefano Rijssel 29', Alvin Jones 81' ; Jerwyn Balthazar 20', Devorn Jorsling 80'
W Connection—18. Julani Archibald, 3. Gerard Williams (C), 4. Daneil Cyrus, 2. Kurt Frederick, 10. Joevin Jones, 14. Hashim Arcia (65. Neil Benjamin Jr. 78th), 15. Mekeil Williams, 20. Stefano Rijssel (17. Jamal Clarence 87th) (Yellow Card), 25. Christian Viveros (Yellow Card + Yellow Card), 12. Jerrel Britto (7. Silvio Spann 58th), 39. Alvin Jones
Unused substitutes—13. Devaughn Elliot, 19. Leslie Joel Russell, 22. Aquelius Sylvester, 40. Jomol Williams
Coach—Stuart Charles Fevrier
Defence Force—1. Kevin Graham, 14. Corey Rivers, 3. Keston Williams, 4. Dave Long (Yellow Card) (18. Sean Narcis 90th) (Yellow Card), 6. Rodell Elcock (Yellow Card), 8. Curtis Gonzales (9. Devorn Jorsling 61st), 15. Jerwyn Balthazar, 17. Ross Russell Jr. (Yellow Card), 21. Aklie Edwards (23. Kerry Joseph 54th), 10. Josimar Belgrave, 30. Akeem Roach
Unused substitutes—5. Devin Jordan, 7. Balondemu Julius, 13. Marvin Jones, 25. Sheldon Clarke