Reon Moore opened his Defence Force account with a double on Saturday afternoon as the Tetron Boys ended a five-game winless spell with a 4-1 hammering of a depleted 10-man W Connection in the first game of a Pro League double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Moore, who joined Marvin Gordon’s side in the pre-season, opened the scoring and completed the rout while teammates Dylon King -- another summer signing -- and Kellon Serrette each had a goal against Connection for only the Army/Coast Guard combination’s second win from seven outings to move two spots up into sixth.
Connection’s Couva rivals and three-time defending Pro League champions, Central FC, in the second game, were held to a late 1-1 draw by Club Sando and remain winless in three consecutive games ahead their round-of-16 first-leg clash against Panama’s Deportivo Árabe Unido from 8pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Thursday in the Scotiabank Concacaf League, which also involves San Juan Jabloteh.
Kaydion Gabriel fired Central ahead in the 66th minute when he pounced on a rebound after goalkeeper Kelvin Henry kept out the initial shot by Jason Marcano, only to see the ball off the upright and into the path of the Sharks’ left-back.
Sando head coach Angus Eve reacted with a double-change, replacing Keyon Edwards, who skied an attempt overbar in the first half and saw his second-half attempt cleared at the goal mouth, and Tyrone Charles with Jared London and Adan Noel respectively.
It proved a masterstroke by the former North East Stars and St. Ann’s Rangers coach when Noel’s cross in the final minute of regulation time was driven into the back of the Central net by Akim Armstrong to stretch Sando’s undefeated run to five games.
Sando improved their third position to 11 points, one more than Jabloteh, who have a game in hand, and two less than second-placed Connection (13 points).
North East Stars (16 points) who took the lead for the first time this season on Friday night with a 3-2 win over Police, stretched their unbeaten run to six games from as many this season.
Yesterday, however, Connection, in an attempt to regain the top spot were without regular defenders Triston Hodge, Maurice Ford and Alvin Jones, who were part of Trinidad and Tobago’s 3-1 international friendly loss to Ecuador in Guayaquil last Wednesday, while first choice goalkeeper Julani Archibald was rested out.
Grenada international Jason Belfon debuted in goal for Connection and it was a baptism of fire for the ex-Sando ‘keeper.
Reon Moore, a former North East Stars winger, put Defence Force ahead on 27 minutes. The lanky attacker turn his marker brilliantly on a Jerwyn Balthazar pass before entering the area and firing past Belfon with confidence.
Balthazar, though, failed to continue beyond the half-hour mark and was replaced by T&T international Hashim Arcia, who led the attacks in absence of the regular captain.
Belfon matched a Kerry Joseph free kick ten minutes into the second half with a diving save to his left, but the debuting Connection goalie was hung out to dry three times in the final thirty minutes.
Dylon King later made it 2-0 in the 64th minute with a brilliant solo goal—his first for Army--as Connection’s troubles tripled.
Connection hardman Briel Thomas had brought down Arcia inside the Defence Force half, but King, a former Morvant Caledonia and Rangers attacker, continued the play with a gallop from his own half down the left and into the Savonetta Boys’ box before curling a low strike past Belfon and into the far corner.
Thomas, the 22-year-old Dominica international, who earlier received a yellow card for dragging down Arcia outside the box, wasn’t spared by referee Rashby Mc Phie, who returned to the point of the second foul and gave the Connection midfielder his marching orders.
Serrette then put the match further out of Connection’s reach with a 3-0 lead in the 76th minute, redeeming himself with a neat chip over Belfon from above the area following a miss at the goal mouth two minutes earlier.
King and Moore then combined two minutes from time with the latter picked out free in the left of the area and rounded a hapless Belfon before hitting into an open net for a 4-0 score.
Connection forward Marcus Joseph, however, improved his personal tally to four goals with his new club after seven outings with a consolation item in stoppage-time and joins teammate Neil Benjamin Jr. at the top of this season’s scorers’ list.
Defence Force goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke had matched an earlier attempt from Joseph but was unable to preserve his clean sheet when the Connection striker unleased a left-footer into the far bottom corner for a 1-4 finish.
“Today we really executed the things we (did) in training over the last two weeks,” said Defence Force head coach Marvin Gordon. “Defence Force (are) a work in progress; we have a young team and it’s all about letting them believe in themselves. Today we stuck to the game plan. W Connection were same old W’, they don’t change their style (…) and what I did over the last two weeks was ask my guys to play more attacking so we can force W’ to defend and they don’t like to defend. I think the plan worked
“I think today the younger players coming into the Defence Force really showed their worth today. I think we are getting fitter and it’s all a work in progress going forward."
W Connection 1 (Marcus Joseph 90’+1) vs Defence Force 4 (Reon Moore 27’, 88’, Dillon King 64’, Kellon Serrette 74’), at the Ato Boldon Stadium;
Central FC 1 (Kaydion Gabriel 66’) vs Club Sando 1 (Akim Armstrong 90’), at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers vs Morvant Caledonia United (did not play--to be rescheduled)
W Connection: 33.Jason Kendell Belfon (GK), Gerard Williams, 7.Neil Benjamin Jr. (Capt.), 10.Dimitri Apai, 11.Malik St. Prix (13.Hughtun Hector 35th minute), 19.Briel Thomas (Y+Y=Red Card), 21.Rondell Paul (Yellow Card), 23.Jamal Ray Charles (17.Qian Grosvenor 46th minute), 26.Isaiah Garcia, 30.Shaquille John (32.Isaiah Hudson 71st minute), 99.Marcus Joseph.
Unused substitutes: 12.Jevaughn Humphrey, 20.Daniel Diaz, 24.Jameel Antoine.
Coach: Stuart Charles-Fevrier
Defence Force: 25.Sheldon Clarke (GK), 3.Jamali Garcia, 4.Dave Long (8.Christopher Durity 82nd minute), 5.Jerome Mc Intyre, 16.Kellon Serrette, 17.Curtis Gonzales, 18.Reon Moore (Yellow Card), 19.Thurlani George (Yellow Card), 23.Kerry Joseph (39.Akil Morris 72nd minute), 45.Dylon King (Yellow Card), 99.Jerwyn Balthazar (Capt.) (10.Hashim Arcia 32nd minute).
Unused substitutes: 1.Andre Marchan (GK), 6.Rodell Elcock, 9.Devorn Jorsling, 15.Shaquille Bertrand.
Coach: Marvin Gordon
Referee: Rashby McPhie
Central FC: 1.Stephon Seepersad (GK), 5.Keston George, 6.Carlos Edwards, 7.Jason Marcano, 8.Sean De Silva (Capt.), 10.Johan Peltier (44.Kerville Jeremiah 87th minute), 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 18.Tyrik John, 19.Nathaniel Garcia, 26.Mickaeel Jem Gordon, 40.Sean Bateau (13.Rhondel Gibson 62nd minute).
Unused substitutes: 30.Prince Walter (GK), 11.Jabari Carasquero, 17.Jesse Joseph, 24.Jules Lee, 29.Ross Dowden.
Coach: Dale Saunders
Club Sando: 34.Kelvin Henry (GK), 4.Rondell Payne (5.Nical Stephens 77th minute), 6.Kemuel Rivers, 8.Kevon Piper, 10.Keron Cornwall, 11.Akim Armstrong, 13.Tyrone Charles (35.Adan Noel 73rd minute), 15.Keyon Edwards (17.Jared London 73rd minute), 18.Trevin Latapy, 23.Nicholas Thomas, 27.Jay-son Joseph.
Unused substitutes: 33.Enrique Changiah (GK), 9.Akeem Redhead, 12.Michael Basdeo, 14.Ruhsawn Murphy.
Coach: Angus Eve
Referee: Gordon Maloney