“Army! …Army! …Army!” shouted the jubilant soldiers after receiving the 2012-2013 Digicel Pro League trophy from TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene and Digicel (Trinidad and Tobago) Limited, Sponsorship and Promotions Manager, Wendy Alleyne on Friday night at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
Defence Force, winners of the League title now with 46 points, had just defeated bottom of the table T&TEC FC 4-0 in the second match of a Round Three Match Day Seven double header on the final night of this season’s championship.
Clad in t-shirts printed “Digicel Pro League Champions 2012-2013”, the soldiers were finally exhaling after being chased relentlessly by runners up Caledonia AIA (now 42 points).
But the title was Defence Force’s to celebrate since Monday night despite losing 4-0 against third place finishers DIRECTV W Connection at the Ato Boldon Stadium, because Caledonia, the only other team with a shot at the title, had fallen 2-1 in their penultimate match later that night against Central FC.
The soldiers walked through a guard of honour formed by the T&TEC team including its Head Coach Dexter Cyrus on Friday night, but despite the ‘Electric Boys’ thoughtfulness, Defence Force toyed with the cellar positioned club from the first whistle sounded by referee Neil Brizan.
Just seven minutes into the play, a casual looking Defence Force nearly found the back of the net.
At first T&TEC rookie goalkeeper Tevin Archer pulled off a save against Kevon Carter but the ball was cleared as far as Jerwyn Balthazar just outside the area, and the midfielder’s effort crashed off the upright after taking a deflection.
And seven minutes later Balthazar curled another effort just wide of the upper right corner.
But by the 31st minute Defence Force were in front 1-0 from an own goal by Cebastien Bailey.
Devorn Jorsling had dragged the ball towards the T&TEC goal and Bailey did the rest in slipping the ball past Archer at first post in an attempt to clear.
Defence Force then made it 2-0 by the 38th minute when Carter completed a simple tap in at the back post, beating Archer, after Curtis Gonzales dispossessed Tigana Sparks in the middle of the T&TEC half and played a quick pass to Jorsling who found Carter.
It got worse for Bailey and T&TEC by the 52nd minute when the defender and own-goal scorer pulled Carter to the ground inside his area forcing referee Brizan to point to the spot.
Jorsling was comfortable over the ball and completed his 20th League goal this season a minute later. The League’s leading goalscorer was replaced soon after by Balondemu Julius.
And in the final minute of regulation time, a stroke of brilliance by Balthazar from distance let off a swerving blast that swooshed past the attempt of Archer for the 4-0 end result.
Caledonia meantime, were 3-0 winners over St. Ann’s Rangers in the second match at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Friday night.
Stephan David had the Morrvant-Laventille club in front by the 31st minute from the penalty spot, and second half goals by Jamal Gay (47th minute) and Vurlon Mills (65th minute) completed the victory for the second positioned finishers.
In the earlier match at the Couva venue, Connection (now 38 points) defeated Police FC 5-0 to secure a third position finish ahead of North East Stars with a better goal difference.
The Stars were 1-0 winners over fifth positioned Central FC in the first match at the Marvin Lee Stadium thanks to a first half strike by Kerry Baptiste.
Digicel Pro League Championship
Full Round Three Match Day Seven results
Police FC 0—5 W Connection
Neil Benjamin 15’, Andrei Pacheco 20’, 48, 50, Stefano Rijssel 29’,