Tue, May

HAD Stern John not had such a terrible time in front of goal, Trinidad and Tobago's Warriors might well have walked away with a double-figure score from their friendly international against Bermuda at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Wednesday night.

Coventry City striker John probably had about half-dozen good chances to score, before converting the last goal in T&T's comfortable 4-0 victory which gave coach Leo Beenhakker his first win since taking control of the T&T national team on May 1.

The Dutchman has a chance to double his win tally today when the Warriors take on Bermuda for the second time in a 6 p.m. opening match of a double-header at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, which will also feature the T&T Pro Bowl final.

Beenhakker will be using the game to have a look at UK-based players Ian Cox, Brent Sancho and Marvin Andrews, who were all given a rest on Wednesday after their long trip from England.

Playing a 4-4-2 formation, Trinidad and Tobago had full control of Wednesday's match and maintained possession for long periods.

But because of the quality of the Bermudans, it's difficult to rate the improvement of the Warriors. Not that the Bermudans were not good individually, but they were never allowed to play as Beenhakker's Warriors kept the ball for sustained periods.

In goal, T&T keeper Clayton Ince was never threatened and made just one save when dropping low to grasp a speculative shot midway through the first half.

At the other end, Nigel Burgess was kept busy trying to keep out a couple of hot, long-range shots from Leslie "Tiger" Fitzpatrick in the T&T midfield.

But with the hosts controlling the midfield, it was the out-of-form John who had the most tries at punishing the Bermudans.

England-born 20-year-old Port Vale player Chris Birchall has been a terrific addition to the national team and, assuming a playmaker's role in midfield, forged a wonderful link with Carlos Edwards. On several occasions they combined well to split the Bermudan defence, creating chances for John, who skilfully flicked Edwards' low cross towards the Bermudan goal in the 14th minute, but only struck the body of keeper Burgess.

And after a forceful run down the right, Atiba Charles laid the ball on a platter for John in the 25th minute. Former national striker Philbert Jones was much maligned after a bad miss against the United States many years ago, but his folly would probably be now forgotten following John's spectacular scoop over the Bermudan goal.

Five minutes after the miss, Kenwyne Jones again set up John for another effort which John powered over the bar. Soon after, Edwards rolled another pass to John, but, before the striker could pounce, stopper Kentoine Alexander diverted the ball into his own net to give T&T the lead. John, T&T's most prolific striker for many years, continued to struggle and missed a couple more chances before the half ended.

But at the start of the second session, Jones showed no such uncertainty when pushing a square pass from Edwards into the penalty box and slipping Burgess to give T&T a 2-0 lead. John later had a shot cleared off the line, before T&T defender Dennis Lawrence stabbed in the ball from close in to make it 3-0 in the 51st.

John had another glaring miss when placing the ball wide of the Bermudan far post, before his limp chip from Birchall's pass finally bounced into the Bermudan goal to give T&T a 4-0 lead in the 64th minute.

Having only recently spoken of the "stick" he got from Coventry fans this season, John probably felt more of the same when he received a standing ovation after his goal as the applause seemed to reek more of sarcasm than praise.