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T&T vs Scotland (30-May-2004).
Mon May 31, 2004 09:43

Strong lessons as Soca Warriors slump to Scotland.
By: Shaun Fuentes.

Stern John’s 49th goal in 63 international appearances and an improved second half performance were the only highlights for Trinidad and Tobago’s senior team as they slumped to a 4-1 defeat to Scotland before a partisan crowd at the Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh on Sunday afternoon.
The first 45 minutes may have been the longest ever experienced by a T&T faithful as the homeside piled on the pressure early and made skipper Angus Eve and his men pay dearly for their mistakes which resulted in at least two of the goals.
Apart from John’s clinical finish from Carlos Edwards‘ right side cross in the 55th minute, a promising performance from English-born midfielder Andre Boucaud and a hardworking Brent Sancho and Marvin Andrews, along with a few moments of steadiness and one to two pressing moments going forward were all for coach Bertille St Clair to take away from the game.
But the Tobago-born coach made no excuses for his team’s inept performance, saying that there were valuable lessons to be learnt from the heavy defeat which was also witnessed by CONCACAF President Jack Warner who arrived from Canada mere moments before kick off.
“This is indeed a great lesson for us. We need to start realizing that it’s 90 minutes of football we got to play with full urgency. We went into the game making the same simple mistakes and sometimes we looked as though we were afraid to face them out there. And it was obvious that we were a shadow in the first half because it was a completely different performance from us in the last 45 minutes,” St Clair told TTFF Media after the game as the players were coming to terms with the result in the company of former teammates Dwight Yorke and Clint Marcelle in the dressing room.
With the Scots up through goals by Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher (6th), Gary Holt (14th), Gary Caldwell (23rd) Nigel Quashie in the 34th, it looked all downhill for the “Soca Warriors” from there on. But some stern words from John and encouragement from St Clair during the half time break seemed to give Eve and company a desperate push but by then the damage had already been done. A close effort by substitute Kerwyn Jemmott, a low power shot by Boucaud and a Nixon squander followed for T&T in the late stages.
“What we had to say to them is what we have been trying to instill all along. If you are in control of your play and then make simple mistakes, you are always going to pay the price. The guys needed to play with more urgency and to believe in themselves and that showed with an improved performance after the break but there is a lot of work to be done still” St Clair added.
“We were just under too much pressure from too early in the game and things became frustrating,” John said. “We have got to learn how to counter these kind of teams because this is where the big stage is.”
Rangers defender Marvin Andrews was just as disappointed saying: “We never got a chance to settle down in the first half. They came right at us from the start and unfortunately we didn’t click neither. But we could only take this as an experience and turn it into something positive.”
New Southampton midfielder Kenwyne Jones was in the starting team but never settled and St Clair hopes that players like him learn from the experience. Arnold Dwarika, Eve and second half substitute Jerren Nixon never flourished.
“He (Jones) was miserable today and I hope that players like him can learn from what happened today because it’s not the end of the world but we need to step up and rise to these sort of occasions. They are still young players and can only grow,” St Clair commented.
Yorke still had some words of encouragement for the team. “It was a big occasion for the guys because even me as a player never had the chance to play for my country against a team like England or Scotland so in that regards it was wonderful for them to have this opportunity. I only saw 40 minutes of the match but while the result was obviously a disappointing one I think we got to pick ourselves up and go again because there are going to be days like these,” Yorke told TTFF Media.
Scottish coach Berti Vogts enjoyed one of his biggest wins in some time and was an elated man afterwards as it was the first time Scotland have scored four goals since a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win against San Marino in March, 2001.
“I'm very happy with both matches (1-0 win over Estonia) and the first half was fantastic," Vogts said. “Our movement was great, we pressed the ball very well and scored good goals.It's a great way to finish the season and it was a fun atmosphere in the stadium."
The T&T side is schedule to arrive home on Monday evening to prepare for next Sunday’s friendly with Northern Ireland at the Dwight Yorke Stadium and the 2004 World Cup qualifiers against Domincan Republic on June 13 and 20. New York/New Jersey Metrostars striker Cornell Glenn who was forced off the pitch with a thigh strain, Wrexham duo Carlos Edwards and Dennis Lawrence and English born pair of Ian Cox and Andre Boucaud will arrive in Trinidad midweek.

T&T Line-Up:
Clayton Ince, Brent Sancho, Marvin Andrews, Ian Cox, Carlos Edwards (Denzil Theobald 90th) Stokely Mason, Angus Eve (capt) (Kerwyn Jemmott 81st) Arnold Dwarika (Jerren Nixon 74th), Kenwyne Jones (Marlon Rojas 46th), Stern John, Cornell Glenn (Andre Boucaud 28th).

Scotland Line-Up:
Craig Gordon, Jackie McNamara, Jamie McAllister, Gary Caldwell (Stephen Caldwell 78th), Malky Mackay (David McNamee 85th), Steven Pressley (capt), Darren Fletcher, Gary Holt (Brian Kerr 54th), Stephen Crawford (Kenny Miller 67th), James McFadden (Andy Webster 85th), Nigel Quashie (Richard Hughes 71st).
Up-close with SW Online supporter, behind-the-bridge.
Back from Scotland, my views on the game.

Football aside, I had a great time Scotland, but that's beside the point. There were over 16,000 fans at the game and less than 30 were T&T supporters. My friend and I were the only two T&T supporters in a stand surrounded by about 5,000 Scottish fans, you can just imagine! These are my views game.

Overall play: We were outplayed and outclassed in the first half. They are not so much a great team, but we were 'school boyish'. We played better in the second half, but that was due to a combination of the Scots taking their foot off the 'gas' and the coming on of Boucaud (he had an OK game). We clearly had no game plan or if we did, no player stuck to it. All their goals were down to poor defending and 'ball watching' on our part. Cox was the chief culprit of ball watching, but still made some important tackles.

Bertille clearly did not do his homework on the Scots and that shows an amateur approach to his management. For example, Darren Fletcher is their star player and their playmaker. He made 3 of their goals and scored 1. Yet he was allowed all the freedom in the world to 'run things' in the midfield. No one marked him, no one gave him a hard time and no one prevented him from passing the ball. If we approach our WC qualifiers in his amateur way, our campaign will be over before you can say 'Dominican Republic'.

We have no speed in attack, most of our players are 'workman-like' rather than have blistering pace. We need someone like that.

Bertille wants to play a 3-5-2 formation. All well and good, but the 3 back men were too narrow, thereby giving the Scots time and space to get crosses in. If we persists with this formation, Andrews, Cox and Sancho need to spread themselves wider, and prevent as many crosses from coming in. The 5 men in midfield will also have to do a lot more defending that they are currently doing.

Our midfield not our defending remains our biggest problem. We do not have a ball winner or a playmaker in the midfield. That spells trouble to me. Eve and Dwarika are too slow, too feeble and are not good passers of the ball. Eve has done nothing in the last 2 games to suggest that he should be in the squad, let alone the starting 11 and worse the captain! Dwarika needs to cool it with all the 'small goal-post bearskin'. Each time he tries those 'beaks' he either lost the ball or the T&T players were not on the same wave length with him. Boucaud is the best that I have seen so far who can fill the role as a playmaker and Jones is the closest I have seen to a ball winner.

Stern had 3 attempts at goal in the last 2 games and has scored them all. You don't need to be Einstein to work out that if you give Stern the ball in a goal scoring position, he is likely to score. But for that to happen, we need a functional midfield. No other player in the current team has posed a serious threat to the opposition goal in the last 2 games and that is also concern. We need goals from other players too!

My rating of each player:

Ince: Kept reasonably well. Can't be blamed for 3 of the goals. Made a crucial save in the first 2 minutes. 7/10.

Cox: Was ball watching in the first half and his poor defending resulted in at least 2 of the goals. Otherwise did make some important tackles. 6/10.

Andrews: Boss defender. Tackles accurately and controls the penalty area well. 8/10.

Sancho: His error resulted in the 4th goal. Otherwise defended well. 7/10.

Edwards. Improved on his Iraq performance. Crossed and passed the ball well and was also all over the pitch. His cross led to Stern's goal. Was the best player on the day for me. 8/10.

Mason: Not international standard. Gives the ball away far to often, without trying to win it back. The fact that he played the full game, first on the left, then on the right, suggest that he is definitely in Bertille's plans (can't see why). 6/10.

Eve: Look in the dictionary for the word Lame, and you are sure to see a picture of Angus! He is slow, can't pass well, is not a ball winner and is no threat to the opposition goal. He was anonymous for large parts of the game. 4/10.

Dwarika: Next to a picture of Angus, will be a picture of Arnold. This guy has no body strength and the Scots kept taking the ball off of him so easily. He keeps trying unnecessary dribbles, when the simple pass would be far more effective. 4/10.

Jones: Played reasonably well in the first half. His shot on goal won us our first corner. Has the potential to be the ball winner. But is very young and lacks experience. 7/10.

Boucaud: Came on when it was 3 nil and did well. Passes well and does not give the ball away as frequently as the others. Links well with the strikers and the defenders. Had a good shot on goal which the keeper just saved. 7/10.

Rojas: Played the second half. Decent, steady game. Passes well and tracks back well. 7/10.

John: Give him the ball and he will score. If he can get better service from the midfield, he will be even more lethal. 7/10.

Glenn: Did not really get a kick, and had to be subbed in the first half. That's a shame, because I was looking forward to see him play. Deservers another chance.

Jemmott: Came on late in the second half. This guy slow but made one or two good passes. 6/10.

Nixon: Also too slow and has no right foot. Does not link up well with Stern in the 2 games that I have seen. Had a half chance to score, but kicked the ball over bars. 6/10.

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  • T&T vs Iraq (23rd-May-2003)...fleX, Mon May 24 09:06
    Stern John sinks Iraq. By Lasana Liburd. Trinidad and Tobago striker Stern John had mixed emotions yesterday evening at the Hawthorns Stadium. John's double guided Trinidad and Tobago to a 2-0 win... more
    • T&T vs Scotland (30-May-2004). — fleX, Mon May 31 09:43
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