Defence Force became two-time winners of the First Citizens Cup on Friday night ending a six-year trophy drought when they defeated Bmobile Joe Public 1-0 in this year's Final at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
Striker Richard Roy miscued his shot from outside the area six minutes from regular time however it was enough to see it beat the entire Joe Public defence before bubbling past goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa and inside the far upright to hand the Soldiers the 2009 First Citizens Cup.
But it wasn't easy road for Army starting the tournament with a 2-1 qualifier against Tobago United and without a title in the last six seasons. Their last title was the 2002 First Citizens Cup.
Two-time finalists Joe Public who suffered a 6-5 defeat in last year's competition against W Connection after a 2-2 draw threw everything at Defence Force, however couldn't get past goalkeeper Kevin Graham who was voted Player of the Tournament.
Public who started the match without a win against the Soldiers this season in three previous meetings showed promise from early on.
Hayden Tinto had a shot from outside the area in the 6th minute and Trent Noel unleashed another in the 15th minute, but it was too high to test Graham.
Defence Force's Richard Roy who finished the tournament as top goalscorer with three goals had a volley just wide of the in the 19th minute.
But it was back on the defence with Joe Public's mid-season Japanese import Yu Hoshide having the best early opening in the 25th minute but his half volley swooshed past goalkeeper Kevin Graham's far post after Gorean Highley left Corey Rivers beaten on to left to whip in a cross which Kerry Baptiste knocked down into Hoshide's path inside the area.
Highley was at his tricks again leaving Rivers beaten a second time in the 31st minute to play a low pass across the face of goal to find onrushing Trent Noel, however the Trinidad and Tobago midfielder's stretch under defender Keston Williams tackle only guided the ball just wide.
Joe Public continued to show their offensive strenghts with Highley again proving a handful disposessing Rivers to whip a pass across the area to find Hoshide who's first time cross found the head of Seon Power who finished just wide in the 40th minute.
Mere minutes inside the second period and Defence Force were on the defensive again.
Highley hooked a left footed shot on goal from just outside the area in the 48th minute only to see it deflect out for a corner and later on Graham had to pick out to balls inside his six yard area.
Graham pulled off a magnificent save in the 62nd minute equaling a superb strike from Trent Noel on a 20 yard free kick after Kerry Baptiste went down under Keston Williams' challenge.
Joe Public coach Derek King then made his first change replacing Highley with Micah Lewis in the 66th minute.
And less than two minutes after making his appearance Lewis was denied by Graham after unleashing a shot from inside the area on the right.
Meantime Defence Force too was having a miserable time with their finishing with Richard Roy hitting the side netting in the 65th and then poking a shot just wide of the upright in the 68th minute.
Joe Public had another set piece in the 75th minute and again Graham's gloves was in Trent Noel's way tipping the powerful effort behind for a corner.
King then boosted his offence with Conrod Smith replacing injured defender Seon Power in the 76th minute.
However in the 84th minute Richard Roy stunned Joe Public to score the winner in what seemed destined for penalty kicks.
Less than a minute earlier Joe Public was denied a goal by the brilliance of Graham who made an excellent reflex save to deny Hoshide after the ball took a deflection on its way to goal.
Kevon Carter pulled the trigger one last time for Defence Force in the 90th minute however Figueroa got legs to the blast to keep it out.
But that wasn't the end for Graham's night pulling off an injury time save against Trent Noel.
Graham's heroics on the night not only gave the Soldiers the $65,000 first prize money, but a piece of silverware-something that has evaded the Tetron based guys for a long time. And their strong support of fans, a Defence Force rhythm section and the presence of Chief of Staff Edmund Dillon at the Macoya venue surely provided the desired atmosphere.
Joe Public 0-1 Defence Force;
- Richard Roy 84th
Bmobile Joe Public--Alejandro Figueroa; Keyeno Thomas (Teba McKnight 88th), Seon Power (Conrad Smith 76th), Carlyle Mitchell, Keon Goodridge; Hayden Tinto, Yu Hoshide, Trent Noel, Kareem Young; Gorian Highley (Micah Lewis 66th), Kerry Baptiste (capt).
Defence Force--Kevin Graham; Corey Rivers, Keston Williams, Devon Jordan, Anton Joseph (Balondemu Julius 72nd); Kevon Carter, Sean Narcis, Aklie Edwards, Ronald St Louis (Christian Baptiste 57th); Richard Roy, Devon Jorsling (Rawle Fletcher 89th).
Match Referee--Gregory Hospidales.
Big dreams for Army in Big Six.
By: Randy Bando (ttproleague).
Defence Force may have squeezed into the Big Six round of the Digicel Pro League at the expense of United Petrotrin, but the Tetron based men are aiming at a Big Bang in the Big Six round.
Defence Force earned their Big Six spot at the last stroke defeating Tobago United 3-1 in Round Two Match Day Eleven to hump United Petrotrin by two points after the Oilmen slipped 3-2 against Caledonia AIA of Morvant/Laventille in their final Round Two match.
“Our hopes will surely be to finish high so that we can return to the CONCACAF club level,” said head coach Ross Russell.
Defence Force were once recognized as the powerhouse of the Caribbean, and a very competent force in CONCACAF, having won the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup (now called the CONCACAF Champions’ League) in 1978 and 1985. They were also runners-up in 1987 and 1988.
Russell continued, “I know that it will take a lot to accomplish such a task, but we are keeping our focus. It will mean that all the top clubs will have to drop points by either losing or drawing and we will need to win all our matches. So we will do our part by being focused and try to win all five matches in the Big Six.”
Defence Force(32 points) are nine points away from leaders Bmobile Joe Public(41 points) and separated by Ma Pau SC in fifth with 34 points, W Connection fourth with 34 points, San Juan Jabloteh third with 39 points and Caledonia second with 40 points in the 2009 Digicel Pro League standings ahead of the Big Six round.
Russell’s side will kick off the Big Six round against San Juan Jabloteh from 5pm in the first match of a double header at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Sunday. Caledonia will host W Connection in the second clash from 7pm and Ma Pau SC and Joe Public will contest eachother from 6pm at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
“We have already accomplished something we didn’t in 2008 and that’s to make the Big Six,” added the Army coach. “And there is no reason why we can’t accomplish more.”
Defence Force finished eight last season under coach Kerry Jamerson—the man Russell worked alongside as assistant coach.
Russell is equipped with two capable goalscorers in Devorn Jorsling and Kevon Carter who have 22 goals between them in the League, along with Balindumo Julius and Richard Roy. In defence Michael Edwards, Aklie Edwards, Keston Williams, veteran Anton Pierre and Rawle Flecther are available for the backing of goalkeeper Kevin Graham for the Big Six round.
But this Friday, Defence Force’s focus will be on the Final of the 2009 First Citizens Cup from 8pm against Bmobile Joe Public at the Marvin Lee Stadium as they target their first piece of silverware in the six years.
2009 First Citizens Cup Final
Friday 02 October
Marvin Lee Stadium
Joe Public vs Defence Force—8pm
Pro League Coaches vs Media Team—6pm
Round Three Match Day One (Big Six)
Sunday 04 October
Marvin Lee Stadium
Ma Pau SC vs Joe Public—6pm
Ato Boldon Stadium
San Juan Jabloteh vs Defence Force—5pm
Caledonia AIA vs W Connection—7pm
First Citizens Cup Final—Lions, Soldiers both hungry.
By: Randy Bando (ttproleague).
Bmobile Joe Public and Defence Force will both think that their chances of capturing the 2009 First Citizens Cup is better than the other, for many different reasons. However it’s really down to who proves to be the hungriest on Friday night at the Marvin Lee Stadium from 8pm.
Joe Public may have new coach Derek King at the helm, but the club have had much better success than that of Defence Force in recent years.
Defence Force last won silverware in 2002, grabbing the First Citizens Cup that time.
Meantime since then Joe Public have won the 2006 League Championship, the 2007 Toyota Classic and FA Trophy. Also in 2007 the Lions made it into the final of the CFU Club Championships followed by the CONCACAF Champions’ League 2007-2008 edition.
With that in mind, and that they are the current Digicel Pro League leaders, Joe Public will definitely think that this is their time to pick up their first ever First Citizens Cup after a slim 6-5 penalty defeat against W Connection in last year’s edition following a 2-2 draw.
Defence Force will also be a confident bunch not only making it into their second final of the season after making it into the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield final against W Connection back in June which they lost 3-0. But on a good note, they are unbeaten against Joe Public after three meetings this season enjoying a 2:1:0 record.
Defence Force came from the bottom defeating Tobago United in the qualifier 2-1, then registered a superb 3-2 comeback victory from two goals down in the quarterfinals and finally secured their place in the Final with a 2-0 win over Ma Pau SC—who defeated defending champions W Connection in the quarterfinals.
To go on and win the title now will be a great triumph for the Tetron based guys.
Coach Ross Russell has the fire power in 2008 Pro League Golden Boot winner Devorn Jorsling, Kevon Carter and Richard Roy all with two-a-piece to their names. But their defence seems a bit slack having conceded three goals.
They will have to be on high alert against the Lions, with attacker Kerry Baptiste also having two goals to his name in the tournament after just two matches.
Baptiste who has 29 goals after 20 League matches helped the Lions to a 5-1 victory over St Ann’s Rangers in the quarterfinal round. Teammate Hayden Tinto also picked up a double in that match. In the semi-finals Joe Public ousted San Juan Jabloteh 2-0 thanks to goals by mid-season signing Trent Noel and defender Seon Power.
With Trent Noel, Kerry Baptiste, Hayden Tinto, Gorean Highley and Conrod Smith all available for selection in attack, Joe Public coach Derek King should be safe in offence.
But with strong attacking options on either side of the pitch, it would be a match of defences when the whistle for kickoff is blown at the Marvin Lee Stadium 8pm.
Two hours earlier, the Pro League Coaches will take on the MEDIA representative team in a highly anticipated re-match. Back in June the Pro League Coaches inclusive of Russell Latapy, Jose Luis Seabra, Peter Granville, Dexter Skeene, Michael McComie, Leonson Lewis and Earl Jean among their squad defeated the MEDIA team 4-0.