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Bermuda v T&T (03-Nov-2002) - U-17
Mon Aug 2, 2004 11:00

T&T Under 17s let it slip.
By: Shaun Fuentes in Bermuda.

Trinidad and Tobagoís Under 17 footballers saw the last gasp chance to advance to the final stage of the World Under 17 qualifying series slip away from their grasps as the final whistle brought to end a match which ended 1-1 with hosts Bermuda at the National Sports Centre.
T&T had their final match well set up as St Lucia earlier stunned Guyana 3-2 in the opening match of the double header, Clemacus Nanton scored 2 goals while Justin St Clair added the third for the St Lucians- Guyana goal scorers where Dwight Peters and Carlos Monkhouse. That result meant that a victory for coach Ron La Forrestís unit would send them through while a draw or win would have done it for the home team. As it turned out a 74th minute strike Damon Swan did it for the Bermudans. Bermuda advanced to the final CFU stage while Guyana (four points), St Lucia (four points) and T&T (three points) finished accordingly on the final table.
"This turned out to be an experience which could only be described as unlucky for us. Not taking anything away from the other teams and not making any excuses for us, I think we were unfortunate not to pull off the result in this match at least. We had our chances and like the other two games, we didnít put them away," La Forest told TTFF Media. "Again itís a learning experience for these players who are only 14 and 15 year olds and given more time I think we would have come up trumps. I hope now that despite the disappointment of not going through, that the team continues to be groomed and the players are looked after following this experience," he added.
T&T began the match in positive fashion and enjoyed better possession during the early stages but there was little for the T&T fans present to cheer on in T&Tís attack. Strikers Gorean Highley and Simba Aberdeen had rare looks at the Bermudan goal as their teammates in defence held firm. The midfield led by playmakers Marlon Ramsumair and Josimar Belgrave had the home team on their toes with intelligent passing but nothing seemed to be going T&Tís way.
T&Tís Andre Charles again enjoyed a creditable performance in goal as some timely interceptions kept the homeside from scoring. His first bit of action came in the 22nd minute when Taurean Manders shot forced him to save low and recover to grab the ball as it slipped out of his gloves.
Highley then collected a ball from Kwesi Thomas but could only manage a weak effort which Ďkeeper Daniel Johnson handled with ease. Moments from the end of the half, Aberdeen picked out Highley in a crowded penalty box but his effort went straight to the Ďkeeper.
The 3,000 odd fans of which at least 300 were backing T&T, seemed hungry for more attacking football but this was not to be as the Bermudans broke down most of T&Tís forward bursts as Highley and Aberdeen constantly ran into traffic in and around the Bermudan box.
Fifteen minutes into the half, Marvin James was able to sneak one through to Ramsumair on the inside right of the box but as he cut in with only the Ďkeeper to beat, the result was feeble right footer which Johnson handled with ease.
La Forrest saw the need for more urgency in T&Tís attack and introduced nippy striker Akil De Freitas in place of Aberdeen.
T&T went into the game without sturdy defender Jamal Warner, who was forced out with a thigh injury, and had his place taken by Ansel Bobb. La Forest was also forced to make a 6th minute replacement as Machel James pulled his hamstring and had to be replaced by Wesley Fredericks. Still the T&T defence with Matthew Cupid, Fredericks and Bobb held firm for the majority of the match. However they were made to pay for a slip up. A Bermudan on the right was allowed room to collect as Charles advanced and played the ball in for Swan to bury into an unprotected net with Charles out of position.
Belgrave and company didnít hang their heads and were rewarded for their efforts. A long ball from just inside T&Tís half by Belgrave and De Freitas collect on the left of the box and eluded three defenders and kept his composure to beat Johnson from close up.
The goal seemed to spur T&T on but the final desired outcome was not to be.. Six minutes from the end Highley powered his way into the box and saw his powerful effort bringing the best out of Johnson and his follow up on the rebound was cleared off the line by Bermuda defender Antonio Lowe. The T&T contingent was also left appealing in the 87th minute when De Freitas sneaked past a defender but was tripped on his way to goal. The referee waved play on and soon after T&Tís hopes of advancing were also waved goodbye. T&T returns home at 3:30pm on Monday while Bermuda will now move on to face Group D winner Cuba in a home-and-home series, with the winner advancing to one of the two Confederation Under-17 tournaments early next week. The winner of each, to be played in Canada and Guatemala, advance to the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Finland next year.

T&T line-up:
Andre Charles, Mathew Cupid, Machel James (Wesley Fredericks 6th), Marlon Ramsumair (Kitwana Abosi 70th), Marvin James, Josimar Belgrave, Kwesi Thomas, Sean Bateau, Simba Aberdeen (Akil De Freitas 66th), Gorian Highley.

TnT Reserves:
Thorne Holder, Gerron McKnight, Jamal Warner.

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