|Trinidad & Tobago||St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Hector Sam (84')|
Angus Eve (91')
World Cup Qualifier
|2004-11-17||Hasely Crawford Stadium||Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||10000|
Poor Soca Warriors edge St Vincent 2-1
|AFTER possibly one of the worst first-half performances by a national
football team, Trinidad and Tobago rebounded with two goals in the
final six minutes to come away fortuitous 2-1 winners over St Vincent
and the Grenadines (SVG) in their final CONCACAF Zone World Cup
semi-final qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Wednesday night.|
Crewe Alexandra goalkeeper Clayton Ince had half-dozen first-half stops, paving the way for T&T substitutes Hector Sam and Angus Eve to produce the match-saving goals.
Eighty-three minutes into the match, the Vincentians were still holding onto Renson Haynes' 49th minute strike which had given them a much deserved 1-0 lead.
But from a free-kick in the 84th minute, Wrexham striker Sam caught the SVG defence napping and drilled a hard, low shot and finally breached the stubborn guard of Vincentian keeper Melvin Andrews, who was outstanding throughout the match.
With a 1-1 draw looking a good result for T&T's Soca Warriors considering what went before, the home team then "stole" an unlikely victory when Eve curled a free-kick around the St Vincent and the Grenadines wall in time added on.
Having also come on as a late substitute, Wake University striker Scott Sealy had won the free-kick at the edge of the penalty area, only because of dogged determination to get past the last Vincentian defender, Matthew Charles, who felled him and was promptly ejected from the game.
Commenting afterwards on what probably had to be the Warriors' most disappointing performance of their World Cup qualifying campaign, T&T coach Bertille St Clair was thankful for the three points which swept his team into the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, but was less enthusiastic about the overall performance.
"The team did not play as well as I expected," St Clair admitted. "I do not know if they underestimated the team or because I made a few changes to strengthen the midfield."
Still, St Clair showed a defiant face, stating that Trinidad and Tobago would still qualify for the 2006 World Cup, despite doubts which others are expressing.
The coach faulted his team for not putting the ball on the ground and also admitted that some of his changes, including giving defender Brent Sancho a midfield role, did not work.
He added he had done some re-shuffling at the halfway stage, resulting in a slightly better second-half showing.
At kick off, T&T started aggressively and striker Errol McFarlane Jr grazed the SVG right upright just three minutes into the match.
But the visitors answered soon after when midfielder Kendall Velox eluded T&T defender Marvin Andrews and Sancho to set up striker Marlon James, whose close-up shot flew straight at goalie Ince.
After that, it was all "Vincy Heat" and as the Zoran Vranes-trained visitors grew in confidence, Ince's goal was peppered from all angles as the T&T keeper rendered yeoman service to keep his team alive.
Having looked shaky at the back, T&T too had their brief moments in attack and half-hour on, Anthony Rougier brought out the best out of the Vincentian keeper, who dropped down quickly to stop a low shot.
But it took just four minutes into the second session for the Vincentians to take the lead.
Ince again showed brilliant form when racing off his goal-line to smother the initial raid down the left flank, but was a helpless spectator as the ball rebounded down the centre of his goal.
T&T's United States-based defender Avery John took a big swing at the ball, missed completely, and in a split second Haynes had the ball in the empty T&T net to give St Vincent and the Grenadines the lead.
Only then did T&T show signs of urgency.
Two minutes after going behind, McFarlane hit a low shot which looked like the equaliser, until the acrobatic Andrews got a hand on it to turn away his effort.
Goalkeeper Andrews also came up with some other good saves as the Warriors turned up the heat later on. But just when it seemed he couldn't be beaten, first Sam and then Eve found a way through for Trinidad and Tobago.
It was certainly a hard way for St Vincent and the Grenadines to lose, but had they converted their first-half chances, they and not T&T would have been through to the final qualifying round, which starts next February.
|4.||Marvin Andrews (capt.)|
|2.||Avery John 40 ' 93 '|
|7.||Brent Rahim 47 '|
|69' Angus Eve|
|69' Hector Sam|
|78' Scott Sealy|
|Bertille St. Clair|
|69'||Angus Eve for Brent Rahim|
|69'||Hector Sam for Errol McFarlane|
|78'||Scott Sealy for Jerren Nixon|