A second-half double from speedy Defence Force winger Kevon Carter snapped CLICO San Juan Jabloteh's 11-match unbeaten streak as the 2008 T&T Pro League and Lucozade Big Six champions were dumped out of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) FA Trophy competition yesterday at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.
Yesterday's result propelled Defence Force to the semi-finals and was a welcome boon for their coach and former national player Kerry Jamerson, who has endured a largely forgettable season this year.
Defence Force were easily the country's dominant force just before the establishment of the local professional league with their quick, direct and often confrontational style. In many ways, Jabloteh are their successors and it is not difficult to picture Englishman Terry Fenwick barking instructions in a military uniform.
Fenwick is likely to have resisted the urge to court martial his squad last night, though. Every good run is bound to end at some point and Jabloteh went down with boots on.
Of course, it looked to be a different story when Lester Peltier put Jabloteh ahead after just four minutes with an angled strike from inside the opposing box. But it was not vintage Jabloteh and Defence Force must have been fairly encouraged by the interval after Carter and striker Devon Jorsling went close in the first half.
Fenwick introduced midfielder Marvin Oliver at the start of the second half as Jabloteh resumed their traditional shape but, ironically, Defence Force pulled level within seconds as Carter ushered a Christian Baptiste cross to the left of Jabloteh custodian Cleon John.
Carter repeated the trick in the 59th minute. This time, Jerwin Balthazar provided the creative spark and Carter's accurate finish in the same corner resembled the work of his more prolific partner, Jorsling.
Jabloteh captain Trent Noel, quiet until then, tried to rouse the Pro League champions but his impact yesterday was minimal as Defence Force held firm in midfield. And perhaps the die was cast when Fenwick replaced Forbes with Ataullah Guerra.
In recent months, Guerra has looked a shadow of the talented midfielder who knocked on the international door earlier this year. A weak punch from Defence Force goalkeeper Kevin Graham presented him with the chance to become a late hero but, almost predictably, he slipped.
Fenwick faces a challenge in restoring Guerra's mental sharpness for their 2009 campaign. Yesterday evening belonged to Carter, a quick and willing runner capable of the odd decisive flourish. Defence Force fans would need more of the same in the FA semis.