By IRVING WARD
REIGNING national champions Joe Public will have to go back to their Craven A Professional Football League drawing board today.
The Eastern Lions camp was left in disarray yesterday after they were handed a 1-0 defeat by Defence Force at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, their second loss in as many games.
Public skipper Arnold Dwarika's side have aspirations of lifting both the Caribbean Football Union and Concacaf Club titles this year with their ultimate goal being a place in next year's Fifa World Club Championships
But after yesterday's performance, which left them third on the table with seven points, they will have some serious soul searching to do.
However, the second-placed Army-led by veteran skipper Hutson Charles-are not complaining. Victory helped them cut into current leaders W Connection's lead atop the eight-team table.
Connection have a maximum 15 points from five games but the Army are now three points back and are now in a position to even the scores on Sunday when they travel to the southerners' Guaracara Park home for a top of the table clash.
However, while Charles's men walked away with full points they will not want to remember the game for too long.
As a matter of fact neither of the teams nor their fans walked away from the venue totally happy with what had transpired as, apart from Army striker Errol McFarlane's lone 68th minute strike, the game failed to live up to its billing.
Particularly disappointing on the day was the finishing from both teams and the Army in particular. In a first half in which the Army created the better scoring chances their striker's lack of composure inside the penalty box proved their undoing.
McFarlane himself was guilty of throwing away at least two clear cut chances the easiest coming in the 18th minute when he collected a through ball from teammate Granville Millington and then blasted a right-footer wide for Public goalie Michael McComie's upright from eight metres out.
The Eastern Lions also had their fair share of chances but found Army custodian Clayton Ince in impeccable form on the day.
But the coaches on either side must have had stern sessions with their outfits at the interval for on the resumption there was a concerted effort to lift their play.
Still it was not until McFarlane's effort that there was anything to really cheer about and only the Army fans could celebrate then.
McFarlane was lurking just outside the penalty area as teammate Millington beat two Public defenders to a loose ball on the right flank and managed to deliver a telling cross which the former ran on to and beat an advancing McComie to his left with a well placed right footer.