|Trinidad & Tobago||St. Kitts and Nevis|
|Gary Glasgow (39')|
Kerry Noray (60')
CONCACAF Gold Cup Qualifier
|2002-11-15||Hasely Crawford Stadium||Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||1500|
T&T stop St. Kitts 2-0
|THERE were no extra points on show for elegance yesterday evening at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, and it was just as well.|
The Trinidad and Tobago national football team were interested only in the three points promised to the victors and they accomplished as much with a 2-0 CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying win over St Kitts/ Nevis.
It was the third consecutive shut-out by the Soca Warriors and the first from international competition under new technical director Hannibal Najjar.
At the same time, the result ended a rut for the national team who had gone five successive matches without a win since their 3-2 friendly triumph away to Grenada in January.
They were positive statistical notes for the start of Najjars tenure.
A draw tomorrow against St Lucia at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya or even a loss by a single goal will be enough for the Warriors to progress to the final phase of the Caribbean qualifying rounds. This game kicks off 3.30 p.m.
Yesterday, Najjar was oozing with confidence and self-praise.
I think it came through as we were hoping from the work we have put in and the quality of our players, said Najjar after the match. The ingredients I was looking for in my players from my selection came through...
Solid defence and creative and flairy attack.
The word flairy was, of course, created in the heat of the moment.
Somewhat like striker Kerry Norays exquisite 60th minute strike which gave the host team a two-goal cushion and ended the match as a contest.
It was Norays first international strike and he almost lost his shirt in frenzied celebration that had to be cut short by the match official.
Najjar too may have been guilty of over exuberance.
The approximately 1,000 spectators present may have been satisfied with the result but the foundation set down at the Stadium yesterday will need to be built on quickly if the young team are to realise their potential.
It might have been a different story altogether had Kittian striker Keith Gumbs kept his wits about him.
Gumbs should have been more familiar with the host team than even Najjar.
There were seven CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh players in the red, white and black jerseys yesterday, while Gumbs himself was a past servant of the Bourg Mulattrasse squad.
And, six minutes into the match, he had an excellent chance to embarrass his former team-mate and Warriors goalkeeper Kelvin Jack.
A through pass from Kittian captain Austin Huggins had caught the T&T defence as flat as a Gregory Ballantyne (GB) note and Gumbs was alone in the penalty area.
Jack, as surprised as the patrons, remained rooted on the goalline long enough for Gumbs to collect the ball while the burly custodians late dash was nonchalantly side-stepped.
But then Gumbs lost his footing and watched bemused as the ball bounced off his trailing boot and rolled a foot away from the goalmouth.
It proved to be a costly error.
The visitors, who edged St Lucia 2-1 in their opening game Wednesday, had started brighter, keeping the Warriors at bay with some meaty challenges while trying to force themselves past the central defensive pairing of Keyeno Thomas and Brent Sancho.
It was an unenterprising tactic as effective as trying to prise open a lock with a feather.
And, seven minutes before the interval, T&T poured scorn on their efforts as Gary Glasgow latched on to a right side cross from captain Travis Mulraine to head into the far corner despite a touch from goalie Akil Byron.
It was the only thing that separated the two teams at the break, though, and Kittian coach Elvis Brown may not have been too unhappy with his troops.
Then came Norays 60th minute effort.
A long, perceptive clearance from Jack and an unfortunate slip from Kittian stopper Darren Allers left Noray in possession with at least two yards of space from the nearest retreating defender and the goal at his mercy.
The Jabloteh striker slowed to a crawl allowing sweeper Keith Eddy to catch him before pretending to turn back for help.
A flick of his body the opposite direction left a confused defender requesting directions and Noray alone with Byron in the penalty area.
Again, Noray paused long enough for the dreadlocked custodian to commit himself before neatly lifting home at the near post.
Off came his shirt as he celebrated with gusto.
Shawn Williams tried to bring St Kitts back into the match with an angled thunderbolt in the 73rd that rebounded off the bar behind the goalline--and not the upright as signalled by the referees assistant.
But there was little else worth recalling from yesterdays match.
It was, for the most part, a scrappy affair with an acceptable result.
Najjar and Noray may disagree, though.
|52' Uz Taylor|
|62' Anton Pierre|
|Travis Mulraine (capt.)|
|80' Ashford Leggerton|
|52'||Uz Taylor for Nigel Daniel|
|62'||Anton Pierre for Rick Titus|
|80'||Ashford Leggerton for Cornell Glen|