Defence Force stretched a three points gap ahead of inactive Caledonia AIA at the top of the Digicel Pro League standings on Saturday after surviving a late courageous challenge by cellar positioned T&TEC FC.
A 3-2 result pushed Defence Force in front with 13 points from 6 games, while Caledonia sits in second with 10 points and defending champions DIRECTV W Connection in third with 9 points, both with a match in hand.
Michael Edwards opened the scoring in the 31st minute and provided a penalty in the 42nd minute which was converted by Josimar Belgrave before Belgrave added a third in the 63rd minute for the Ross Russell and Marvin Gordon coached Defence Force.
But Defence Force's somewhat of a late auto pilot performance, after going up 3-0, could have cost the Soldiers the Round One Match Day Six fixture against T&TEC led by Sylvester Teesdale's determination.
Edwards first smashed a strike past goalkeeper Akini Adams and defender Glen Sutton's attempt to block off the line with an extended arm only award him a yellow card, all following a scrappy contest inside the area.
Edwards was later brought down inside the six yard area by defender Avery John and referee Neil Brizan didn't hesitate in pointing to the spot.
Belgrave stepped up and potted comfortably past Adams to double the Soldiers advantage 2-0 before the half.
Three minutes inside the second period and Edwards was at it again, but spilled wide after Jerwyn Balthazar's strike rebound off the bottom of the upright.
However Belgrave doubled his tally in the 63rd minute for a 3-0 score by hooking an Aklie Edwards cross past a hapless Adams.
Defence Force hadn't foreseen that T&TEC watched on by rescue-coach Dexter Cyrus would only power-up late in the match. And it could have been as a result of the 'Electric Boys' late arrival at the Hasely Crawford Stadium because of mechanical problems with the team bus. As a result, T&TEC were unable to warm up before the match.
But showed true grit after conceding three goals by charging into the Defence Force area on a number of occasions.
Defence Force defender Rodell Elcock who managed to cancel out Tessdale for most of the match, was left disappointed in the 82nd minute when the T&TEC attacker pulled a goal back reducing the deficit 3-1.
And it was on the rebound of a Teesdale strike which goalkeeper Kevin Graham failed to wrap in the 91st minute, striker Bevon Bass notched the visitors second item for a 3-2 finish.
Defence Force 3 - 1 T&TEC FC
Michael Edwards 31', Josimar Belgrave 42', 63' ; Sylvester Teesdale 82', Bevon Bass 90'+
Defence Force--Kevin Graham, Corey Rivers (capt.), Keston Williams (Sean Narcis 71st), Devin Jordan (Yellow Card), Michael Edwards (Ross Russell Jr. 58th), Josimar Belgrave, Jerwyn Balthazar (Dexter Pacheco 81st), Kerry Joseph, Rodell Elcock, Aklie Edwards (Yellow Card), Jemel Sebro.
T&TEC FC--Akini Adams, Keeron Benito (capt.), Cebastian Bailey (Anthony Noriega 81st), Eustace Darius, Tigana Sparks (Daniel Garcia 73rd), Kern Peters, Bevon Bass, Brent Garcia, Adarryl John (Yellow Card), Sylvester Teesdale, Glen Sutton (Yellow Card).