Battle of the forces: D/Force and Police renew rivalry

Police FC midfielder Kareem Perry celebrating his first of two goals scored against Defence Force during their semi-final clash of last season’s Digicel Pro Bowl on May 16. Kareem later received a red card and missed the Final against W Connection.
Issued on Thursday 2 October 2014

For one team it's picking up where it left off, and for the other it's about revenge when Police FC and Defence Force renew their rivalry from 8 pm at the Marvin Lee Stadium on Friday in Round One Match Day Two of the 2014-2015 Digicel Pro League.

Two hours earlier, from 6 pm, at the same Macoya venue, St. Ann’s Rangers will attempt to rebound following an embarrassing 7-0 defeat against last season's runners-up Central FC a week ago, when the Jason Spence-coached side meet San Juan Jabloteh.

Jabloteh meanwhile, played to a goalless draw with Police in their opening league match.

“I was disappointed in the result against Jabloteh but fairly pleased in our performance," said Police FC head coach Richard Hood.

He added, "I thought we played well although we did not execute in the final third and should have scored a lot. We have identified some of our problems and focused on them during the training sessions, so we hope to get it right against Army on Friday.”

The last meeting between both teams saw Police execute a 4-2 Digicel Pro Bowl semi-final round win over the Army on May 16 to book their first final in 18 years.

Brothers Jameel and Kareem Perry each scored twice for the “Lawmen” but the latter went on to receive a red card and missed the Final.

Police, the unfamiliar finalists, went on to lose that Final 3-0 against reigning league champions W Connection, who bagged a tally of five 2013-2014 titles: four major trophies (Digicel Pro League, Toyota Classic, FA Trophy and Pro Bowl), and the Digicel Charity Shield.

Now Hood and his men are focused on Friday’s new challenge: to seize maximum points from the Army.

“It’s always a big clash between the Army and us," declared Hood. “There is always a nice rivalry between the two forces over the years and they have gotten the better of us on many occasions. But last season we ended with a win against them (in the semi-final of the Pro Bowl) and we want to continue that way ...we certainly plan to do so on Friday.”

Both Hood and Defence Force's caretaker/assistant coach Marvin Gordon, holding the fort in absence of Ross Russell, are expected to make changes in their line-ups.

Hood will have available experienced midfielder Trent Noel, who missed the opening game due to illness, but must still do without midfielder and team captain Todd Ryan for another match because of a hamstring problem.

Gordon meanwhile boasts that his squad is now at full strength with all players available for selection, and that he will field the best squad against Police.

Last weekend Gordon guided his team – without the services of such players as Rodell Elcock, Keston Williams and Kerry Joseph through illness – to a 1-0 win over North East Stars but needed a stoppage-time penalty converted by forward Richard Roy to do so.

“Police under Richard Hood for the last two years have improved a lot,” Gordon said. “He (Hood) added a few decent players, including the experience of Hector Sam, in the transfer window and we expect a competitive game. But I have confidence in my team to get the job done. We had good pre-season preparation and haven't lost a pre-season game including our opening league game.”

On Saturday, home side Point Fortin Civic, coming off a 2-1 defeat against visiting Caledonia AIA after taking the lead, will seek to satisfy its supporters at the Mahaica Oval when coach Reynold Carrington and company welcome North East Stars from 3.30 pm, as both sides seek their first point(s) of the season.

The Stars head coach Angus Eve must do without the services of pivotal midfielder Jeromie Williams through suspension. The Tobago-born Williams picked up a direct red card for dissent following the penalty call against his side in the contest with Defence Force.

Caledonia sits out on the bye while the Round One Match Day Two contest between Couva-rivals W Connection and Central FC has been postponed.

Digicel Pro League 2014-2015
Round One Match Day Two
Friday 3 October 2014
Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya
San Juan Jabloteh vs St. Ann's Rangers—6 pm
Defence Force vs Police FC—8 pm

Saturday 4 October 2014
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
Point Fortin Civic vs North East Stars—3.30 pm