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fleX
Touches up close (PAN/T&T).
Sun Jun 5, 2005 16:38
4.236.207.183

Dear Forumites.

As Leo Beenhaker and his two assistants walked into Cro Bar on Aripita Ave at 10:45 he was greeted with a standing ovation from all and sundry.

It capped off a wonderful day of football and Leo and his boys calmly went by the bar and take they lil drink,mingling with the few fans who went to offer words of Congratulations.

TT sweetwhere else in the world could a national team coach go in a bar and chill without people bothering him after a WCQ match.

It was just one of the options available to those who witnessed an exciting match of football. St James was calling as there was WE Beat and pan in abundance there. Others opted to go to Pelican as it was closing down. But in truth most people was good palang already as the celebrations start from the time TT went 1-0 ahead.

Lew-we just say it was hardfought.But Panama while putting up some fight and getting into the game, ent ready for this level of ball yet. May I add we still not ready either but we getting there and the progress that has been made since the ST Kitts game and Digicel Cup are beginning to show. As my good partner Swima said, Panama have no brand and it was true, they have no kinda purpose, tactics or play about them. Its just a kinda hustle and knock, counter attack if they get a chance and whatever one-two they could do, they trying. Talk about vexation when they was sitting in they bus going back over to the Marriot across the road.

I arrived at the gates around 5 pm. I must congratulate TSTT and all the other sponsors for contributing to the cause. But TSTT you making fans happy too bad. They gave out jerseys, whistles, openers, rags......... and most of all which made a definite impact, The Thunder sticks noisemakers. Also they had a smoke machine/confetti machine at the entrance of the players tunnel and another one located behind the goal on the side with the clock.

I would say 15,000 people were in attendance. The entire grounds section was full except for behind the goals but it did not stop us from doing the wave. Covered stands however had more than there fair share of empty seats, but they were making the most noise and cheering wildly as they had the army/regiment band and the woodbrook playboys jamming tempo right there.

Now I took a seat right near an aisle in the hope that I wouldnt get a talker or waggonist next to me, but fellas as luck would have it a friend of a friend of my partner happened to claim the lucky spot. Who is the coach?.........that white man in the suit....which one of them....Seabra is the white boy in the middle?.....who is the two tall men?..Where angus Eve?.......why we only keeping the ball and not attacking?.........I had to have patience of Job and it was real hard to do since the man only hitting me when he asking questions and shouting hard at the top of his lungs for every play that happen. But at the end of the game he was a waggonist convert and promised to be in attendance for every TT game from now on....I ask him you doe follow football or the national team?.......Nah...I say you ever come a game here before?.....Nah.

Entertainment was by a dj and then the regiment band marched along the track, went unto the field and did a really nice marching/playing display a la DRUMLINE.

Then the players started coming out on the field.I got some info late last night that Jack would be starting since Ince had an injury. However I was secretly hoping that he would be fit in time for todays game. In fact I even see him doing some back flip during the warm up. But It was plain to see Jack was the player they were concentrating on and Ince was down crouching in some kinda pain after making some saves.

TT warmed up as usual, the first 11 by the touchine, in a closed area under the guidance of the trainer playing small touch football.

The subs near the half in a circle running around and playing one touch drills as well.

The Panamanians by contrast had me worried when I saw them. I could see why the coach said they would neutralise our aerial advantage.

They were all Tall and Big. They looked fitter than our players and had much more muscle on their frames. There was only one shortman....the number 10 a blonde fella. He was their playmaker and for some periods in the first half our midfield was giving him too much respect.

On to the game,Anthems start and this had to be the loudest the TT anthem has ever been sung. Then there were speeches by somebody about racism in football. But it was difficult to hear over in grounds as they doe have PA system speakers across there.

TT started with a 4-4-2 and Panama did the same.

TT squad:

Jack
Atiba Charles, Andrews, Lawrence, Avery
Edwards, Brichall, Whitley, Theobold
Yorke, John.

Ref Predergast in the middle, with his assistant countrymen.

Let me first say the fears I had about Prendergast rang true to form and the man bias as hell. We didnt get any 50-50 calls. many Panamanian fouls and hacks were left unpunished and the two linesmen clearly didnt know what offside was and made some bad calls.
There was a section of Bajan and Jamaicans, all clad in RED sitting neraby who seemed to know the ref and his assistants personally and also disagreed with some of their decisions.

TT started by attempting to hold onto the ball and maintain possession for the opening 20 minutes. However you could see that nerves were playing a part and we made some errors.making the bad pass, losing the ball unnecessarily etc.
Panama did not press but rather attempted to set up camp in the middle third of the field. Whenever they got the ball they tried to spring a fast counter with their fwds.

Now for the uninitiated, they would think TT just not going fwd but you could see the ploy being attempted by TT. Pass it around. Have the panamanians run. When the space open up in the transition switch, Attempt the long tru ball to Yorke or Stern. Who would pass it to the uncoming midfielder to shoot or one-two or attempt a flank play.

Now TT had two scares for the first half. Roberto Brown got the ball on his back in the 18 yard box..turned on Lawrence and fired. Save by Jack. The second scare was after a corner a lil scramble in the box and a Panamanian was free in the six yard box and Somehow.hit it wide. We were certainly fortunate but other than that they did not trouble us. In the Second half the few attempts they had on goal were NOT DEALT with competently by Jack and he cause plenty heartattack in the TT goal.

Then TT started to get into the game and looking at the clock you could see the tactics and systems being employed by Beenie. opening 15-20 possess the ball....The next 10 min Long balls only to Stern and Yorke. Last 10-15. Knock on the ground, quick passes and possession. You could see some kinda coaching and strategy being employed.not a hit and hope.

Otis seaton was bad in the opening 15 min, giving the shortman too much space. But he get some buff and lift his game.taking on men and spraying the ball around. Yorke touch is on, not losing the ball.roaming back into midfield helping the links and spreading the play.
Birchall was the workhorse in the middle. Tracking back, tackling and making the Simple plays. Threading the ball and moving efficiently.
His biggest assest is that he does the simple things correctly and quickly. He makes passes one time, no setta touch and look up and fake. He is an integral part of our team and is a SURE starter.

Carlos had a good game running the flanks making passes and having fun with Panamas left back.

Now Stern had people cussing.yes it was the norm but his Hit miss rate was a lil better tonight..he get 4 chances and he score 1.
The first one the keeper or a defender hit a long ball fwd. The Panama last stopper misjudge it, it bounce over his head and Stern continue running. He had a clear one on one.but wait.....he run and leave the ball. It get stuck under his foot. Then Yorke run fwd trying to pick up the loose ball. Stern gets the ball the panamanian defender closes him down but he beats the man. and is now on the ground. The keeper is out in no mans land and all the crowd bawling is SHOOT SHOOT. Yorke now runs in to bang it home but stern try to swing a kinda muff and the ball just bobbles around after...dead play. Yorke then give him a good buff.

After that ball is passed from Avery to theobold....to whitley.....spreads it wide, Edwards.plays a one two with birchall and Carlos ripps down the wing....beat the Panamanian twice. Reach the byline keeper on the ground, the whole defence open. he slips it to the penalty spot and Stern......calmly slots...........WIDE..........CUSS like fus time for him again.

That play was had goal all over it......Beenie stand up and start to pace in the coaching area. Yorke give John a small push and some more buff and the crowd start to bawl..SUB, SUB.

But then the midfield scrap start again and then I had a heart attack.......The big Dog (Andrews) went down and was not getting up. The stadium and the fans who knew what was going on get concerned. But then I had my neighbour asking who is dat man on the ground. WHats he story, how he gone down just so. A man start to warm up one time and people start to say shit........the ligament buss. The stretcher men prop up Dog and he hobble orf the field. But 5 min later he was back On. Big Big Cheer from the stands and people start to breathe easy.

In between Pendergast was just blowing foul, and we were not getting any calls. Some well timed runs were called offside and TT get a few cards well. Then Seaton settle down with Birchall and rough up the short man, neutralise him and the man in the back who was spreading the ball.

Carlos down the flank again crosses......Stern moves in.GOAL....GOAL...GOAL.

When I tell you utter Joy in the stadium.

I stand and jump up and down the stairs with meh bad knee. I hug up two girls sitting down in front of me. men start to pelt beers in the air and we get wet down and it was just the best feeling we had down here since we beat Mexico 1-0. Confetti and smoke start to fly and the thunder sticks start to beat.Well from that moment......men bawl OK fellas...celebration time.and Beers and grog start to flow. Man eye start to get red and the toilet line long long at the half.

Second half everybody pumped up and the exchange was fair until Jack start to move shakey. A man let go a shot from 40 yards out. It is a routine comfortable save, Jack didnt hold the ball but he PUNCHES the ball straight to a panamanian at the top of the 18 and scramble start.

Then, ATiba gets a ball under pressure.beats his opponent and passes back to Jack.who mistraps, panics and miskicks the ball to a panamainain in the area. Tackle start to fly in and shot....just wide. Jack and Atiba then have a small exchange out.
Then sustained pressure by Panama.three corners in a row but we hold on well.

TT now playing counter attack football and Andrews and Lawrence butting the ball out and making better pass with they head, than man making with they foot. Both off them making 30-40 meter pass with diving header straight to man in space and one sent Yorke on a run it is 2v 2 but he flicks it to John who instead of trying to pass one time, gets held up. Beauty of a counter attack foiled.

Then the moment of truth and PLay of the game by Dennis "Tallest""Giraffe " Lawrence. Pressure by panama and they hit a shot. Thow in . they fighting hard. But a ball is passed around in the back. A one two is played between Andrews and Charles. Lawrence gets the ball fakes a man in the back rips thru in the open space and gallops fwd. I say Wheyyy good play he then passes it to the wing, and every body clap and saying BALL BOYYYY. But then the unexpected happened...........Lawrence continues to run, passes half line.Puts his hand in the air and calls for the ball, Passes the center circle and get the return pass in the opponents area unmarked. Crowd going wild and every body bawling SHOOT DENNIS SHoot.

Eh heh. When I think its all over and as the Panamanian defender recovers Dennis Lawrence WAITS on the man to rush in........cut back and slaps with the left foot into the far corner.

GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Goal and play of the game knocking the wind out of Panama completely.

Then Beenie as the tactician makes a sub ONE TIME.

Stern off Jones ON.....WHen I tell you stern was vex. But I like That Beenie have balls and make a big change at the right time.

Kenwyne come on with fire in him and tackle a man one time and get a card........he last 10 seconds.

Then TT get the confidence back and the short passes start to run again. Whitley and Birchal Bun......but they giving heart and soul and Nuttin passing. Is pure blade and then a simple pass to the fwds. then Kenyne get a ball in free space and Every body bawl ing Goal. But insted of trapping and going fwd as he is unmarked......he try one for the TV and let loose a wild volley from 20 yards out. But he ent miss by much.

TT then went into possesion keep away mode.....and while the uninitiated saying why we ent attacking and going for more goals boy.only a setta pass pass......I was thinking to myself.Brilliant football..we finally learning how to play this game........just run down the damn clock.

Fans on they feet.....We jumping and waving and then is only OLE.........and the Mexican wave make 4 laps around the stadium.

Then the players start to get into it, urging the crowd to make noise and get up and for the last 5 min Stadium erupting in pure joy.

At the final whistle......men only saying............If we had this man from the Start we would be right there, and we shoulda beat Costa Rica tail last time. But if is one thing....from now on the Waggonists are on board and Stadium filling up in the next WCQ.

Thank you Leo for the job you have done for this team and I more importantly ..Thank you Socawarriors, for making people believe in this team once again. I tell you I see big man cry when the final whistle blow..pure joy from the diehards in grounds who backing this team and just waiting for the victories to start.

Player ratings:

Jack.....6.5, he kept a clean sheet but is rusty, he lacking confidence now and could have done better on the occasions he was tested. Very bad mix up with atiba charles.

Avery 8.....Solid in defence and attack, heart and soul. Nuttin pass.

Atiba 8....didnt make any mistakes or bad passes tonight, calm and composed.very good game.

Dog 8.....Did not miss a single header and tackled well..showed the Lion heart abilities.

Lawrence 10.......Entrance ticket 100$, Beers 60$, pies 8$........to see the Giraffe galloping down the field cutting back and scoring a crucial WCQ goal............[PRICELESS

Carlos 8.5.......another good game, dribbled intelligently and was the main attacking threat on the night

Birchall 8.5.....Tireless unassuming worker in the middle whos simple play and tru balls kept the team together.

Whitley....7.5...He get this grade because he start off slow, make some bad pass, and was giving the panama midfield too much room and respect, He also lost the ball in crucial situations giving the panamanians the counter.But then he start to look like the "Jabloteh" Whitley ripping 4 men and starting to string passes

Theobold...5..The poor fella was having the worst game I ever see him in a TT shirt. As the smallest of the midfielders he was closed down quickly and bumped off the ball easily. Didnt light up the wing with his talent. Is a good thing he was losing the ball on the wing rather than the middle..good job beenie

Yorke 9.....Yorke continues to show he is a class player, trapping and making plays controling the tempo and helping out when needed.

Stern 8........Congrats on the goal, but work needed on, also he have to eliminate the hand on hip star boy attitude.

Jones....6.5..Jones....6.5..Get a card chupid chupid and shoulda score to make it 3-0.

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