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Trinidad and Tobago's Kaihim Thomas (#17) in action during an International Friendly against Jamaica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on Friday, March 1st 2024.
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JAMAICA’S Reggae Boyz took first run from their two-match friendly international series against Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s team, with a 1-0 win yesterday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium (HCS), Mucurapo.

Nineteen-year-old Kahiem Dixon, on debut, scored in the 55th minute, following an evenly-contested first half and a second half dominated by Reggae Boyz.

Both coaches used mainly locally-based players. T&T head-coach Angus Eve did not use the strongest combination available to him, and instead gave debuts to Liam Burns, Coventry City striker Justin Obikwu, USA-born Kai Moos, Shervohnez Hamilton, Michael Chaves and Rhondel Gibson.

“I wasn’t disappointed at all,” stated Eve. “Actually, we had a lot of players out there playing at this level for the very first time and I thought they acquitted themselves well. We were in the game for the most part and we gave away a sloppy goal and that was the difference in the game.”

The expectation is that Eve will use a stronger local side for the second match tomorrow at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar, kick off from 4 p.m. Eve has Michel Poon-Angeron, Nathaniel James, Duane Muckette, John-Paul Rochford, Kevin Goddard, Ross Russell Jr, and goalkeeper Denzil Smith still looking for some action, while Alvin Jones and Kaile Auvray only saw limited playing time yesterday.

“We have to give people exposure,” explained Eve. “We made minimal amount of changes because we wanted to expose the guys as much as possible. Young Burns and those guys would have never played at this level before. So, this is a good exercise for them to understand the pace of the game, and then to give the guys who are more established a run out (tomorrow), going into the playoff tournament.”

The closed-door game gave both Jamaica’s Icelandic head coach Heirmar Hallgrimsson and Eve the chance to make unlimited changes, as Eve handed 17-year-old Fatima College striker Chaves his senior debut, in the second half.

Jamaica will face USA in a CONCACAF Nations League semi-final on March 22 and Hallgrimsson is using the five-day T&T camps to have a final look at local and fringe players. Likewise, Eve used yesterday’s match ahead of selecting his final squad for a March 23 Copa America qualifier.

Played without fans due to preparation work for the Carifta Games, the first half saw both teams having periods in control. Defence Force winger Kahim Thomas had the first real chance, forcing Jamaican goalkeeper Kemar Foster to touch the ball away.

Jamaica had better of the opening 20 minutes, with wide players Kahiem Dixon and Alex Marshall both penetrating dangerously, with Marshall getting past Shervohnez Hamilton a couple of times down the right.

Eve was forced into the early change, bringing in Rondell Gibson to replace veteran Nathaniel Garcia midway through the first half, and Gibson made an immediate impact.

T&T began to grow into the half and for the first time Foster was called upon to work. Gibson and Thomas both threatened from free kicks, Thomas especially coming close, his set piece deflected dangerously wide with the Jamaican keeper wrong footed. Obikwu came close to scoring on his T&T debut, meeting a corner kick and just guiding a header over the crossbar. Jamaica also began the second half well. After gliding past Hamilton again, Arnett Gardens winger Dickson forced in a low shot at the far post for the game winner, exposing goalkeeper Adrian Foncette and beating several defenders on the T&T goalline. And substitute Devonte Campbell did enough to create a second goal, but no-one got a touch as his low cross whizzed across the goalmouth.

Dickson had a chance of getting a second goal, when meeting a cutback inside T&T’s penalty area but having his shot deflected for a corner in the 75th minute. Coming on as a second half substitute, Defence Force custodian Christopher Biggette produced a spectacular dive to his left, denying Campbell, who had broken clear of defenders and was bearing down on the T&T goal in added-on time.

TEAMS

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 21.Adrian Foncette (GK, captain) (1.Christopher Biggette GK  62); 2.Liam Burns (16.Alvin Jones 90+3), 4.Josiah Trimmingham, 12.Robert Primus (5.Jamaal Jack 80), 18.Shervohnez Hamilton; 19.Kai Moos, 7.Nathaniel Garcia (15.Rhondel Gibson 22); 17.Kaihim Thomas, 23.Justin Sadoo, 13.Kai Garvey (20.Kaile Auvray 80); 11.Justin Obikwu (24.Michael Chaves 80)

Unused substitutes: 22.Denzil Smith (GK), 2.Ross Russell Jr, 6.Kevon Goddard, 8.Michel Poon-Angeron, 9.Nathaniel James, 10.Duane Muckette, 14.John-Paul Rochford.

Coach: Angus Eve

Jamaica (4-4-2): 13.Kemar Foster (GK, captain) (1.Jaiden Hibbert GK 61); 14.Sue-Lae Mc Calla (22.Emelio Rousseau 80), 17.Garth Stewart (5.Richard King 73), 19.Stephen Young (2.Joel Cunningham), 15.Ricardo Thomas (3.Kyle Ming 85); 8.Alex Marshall (7.Andre Fletcher 68), 16.Jamone Shepherd, 6.Jashaun Anglin (18.Shamour Smith 80), 21.Kaheim Dixon (11.Shaniel Thomas 85); 9.Fabian Reid; 12.Devonte Campbell 68), 10.Justin Dunn.

Unused substitutes: 4.Romario Guthrie, 20.Jason Wright, 23.Shaquan Davis.

Coach: Heimir Hallgrimsson

Referee: Nikolai Nyron


SOURCE: T&T Express