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T&T vs Grenada (26-Nov-2004).
Sat Nov 27, 2004 07:29
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Soca Warriors win Group D...Digicel Cup round-up.
By: Ian Prescott.


The largely locally-based version of the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors gave another solid performance to come away 2-0 winners over Grenada on Friday night at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.
In so doing, T&T clinched the Digicel Caribbean Cup preliminary Group D football competition with an unassailable six points from their two victories, having beaten Pureto Rico 5-0 in last Wednesday's opening match.
They now end the competition on Sunday against Suriname at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar. The game is of academic importance to Trinidad and Tobago, but a victory will mean everything to Suriname, who are battling both Puerto Rico and Grenada for second place in the group.
The Surinamese played to their second straight draw of the tournament when they were held 1-1 by Puerto Rico in a very balanced first match on Friday night, which saw Suriname taking the lead through Walking Boys midfielder Clifton Sandvliet on the stroke of half-time, only for Puerto Rico to pull level in the 79th minute through Rahael Huertas Ortiz.
The main match saw Trinidad and Tobago having a much easier game against Grenada than expected and controlling the match throughout.
Kerwyn Jemmott had another solid performance in the middle since his return to national duty and several times breached the Grenadian rear guard with nicely weighted passes behind the opposing defenders.
So dominating were the Soca Warriors, that although Grenada got some touches around the midfield, they had few threatening looks at the hosts' goal and hardly threatened the T&T back line, where big Keyeno Thomas made his presence felt with a few "biting" tackles.
Defence Force defender Anton Pierre also stood out with some timely interceptions.
Still, it took some trickery from Atlanta Silverbacks midfielder Leslie "Tiger" Fitzpatrick in the 22nd minute to force Grenadian newcomer Mark Marshall into conceding a penalty, which striker Nigel Pierre banged past goalkeeper Desmond Noel to give the Soca Warriors a 1-0 lead.
Earlier, T&T striker Cornell Glen failed to get a touch to Cyd Gray's wicked cross from close up in just the third minute, and later his (Glen) long speculative shot just inched past the Grenadian post.
Prior to going behind, Grenada sparked some confusion around the home team's goal-mouth when T&T keeper Daurance Williams missed a cross, which almost ended up in the T&T net.
Before the half ended, Glen, the scorer of three goals in the win over Puerto Rico on Wednesday, never looked as sharp and missed giving his team a second goal when he ran clear through the Grenadian right flank, but shot into the side-netting.
But just three minutes into the second session, flanking midfielder Gray converted from an almost identical run as Glen, to give T&T a 2-0 lead, when stroking the ball inside the Grenadian keeper's near post in the 48th minute.
After that, Grenada never once looked like scoring themselves.
Instead, Glen again broke through the right and prodded the ball wide of both the committed keeper and the far post, while his replacement, young Defence Force striker Odelle Armstrong, came on as substitute and twice missed the opportunity to score his first senior goal for Trinidad and Tobago.
Penalty scorer Pierre also produced a tremendously powerful shot from atop the penalty box and brought the best out of Grenadian keeper Noel, who had to be at his acrobatic best to smother the ball before it crossed his goal-line.
The competition ends Sunday with a double-header at the Larry Gomes Stadium.
In the first, Puerto Rico meet Grenada in a key match at 4 p.m. which both teams must win, while Suriname must go for an outright victory or hope for at least a draw against T&T two hours later at six o'clock.
Regardless of the outcome of today's final matches, T&T will advance to the second round of the Digicel Caribbean Cup where they will play a home-and-away series on January 9 and 16, 2005, against the runners-up of Group E, which involves Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and St Vincent & the Grenadines.
Should T&T win that series, they join two other teams and hosts Barbados in the final round of the Digicel Caribbean Cup from February 20-24, 2005, when the winner will earn US$100,000 and the first three will qualify for the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Patriot, Up-Close.

T&T started off quickly, from the kick-off in fact. They attacked the Grenadians and seemed intent on preventing them time to settle on the ball as well as try for an early goal. While we clearly had the edge in possession, there were few clear-cut chances. The Grenadians rarely threatened, although the few times they did, our keeper Daurance looked a bit shaky. In and around the 20th mins, after some nest interplay, Fitzpatrick dribbled into the area and was clumsily fouled by a Grenadian defender. From the resulting penalty kick, Nigel Pierre converted, 1-0 T&T. I felt the team eased off the pace a bit at this point and the Grenadians stepped up theirs. Nonetheless it was Glen who got a clear run on goal but fired into the side netting with only the keeper to beat. Very little to comment on in the 1st half.

Our second half was POOR! Grenada actually managed to launch some quick counter attacks, using the length and breath of the field to change sides more effectively than WE were doing! However it would be T&T with a quick counter-attack who would go up 2-0. A goal scored by Cyd Gray about 10 mins into the half. Gray collected a throw in and raced past the Grenadian left-back, and placed the ball past the keeper. After this, Fitzpatrick had a glorious chance laid on a platter for him but shot over from just outside the box. He was NOT the only one ! Glen would muff another chance as well. At this point I should mention that our left-wing was pretty impotent, with Derek Phillips showing little pace and unable to deliver much by way of crosses either. It was no surprise that he ended up being replaced by Aver John, who immediately made an impact sending a glorious cross into the box which Pierre (Nigel) failed to get a boot onto. Jemmott WAS impressive, although our forwards did NOT read some of his clever passes. He was then replaced by Micheal Lee Celestine soon after. T&T then made a MAJOR faux pas, taking off Glen and bringing in Odelle Armstrong. This guy would proceed to "UNSCORE" several easy chances !! In fact by our 3rd sub, Grenada manged to sieze control of the game and were actually pressuring us !!! However the T&T defence stood tall and again had our 3 strikers converted, the scoreline could have been MUCH better for us.

T&T starting line-up:

-----------Daurance Williams---------
-----Thomas----King-----A Pierre---
Gray--------Fitzpatrick---------Phillips-
---------Jemmott---Theobald--------------
------------Pierre----Glen----------------

Player ratings/performance:

1. Daurance Williams - 6:
Has a good kick-out, but comes out his box too swiftly and displayed some errors in judgement that could cost us against stronger oposition. Also did not call (keeper!) or communicate with his defence much.

2. Derek King - 7.5:
Was a decent player, nothing fancy, but read the game well, and put in tackles, while mobilising the defence.

3. Kenyno Thomas - 6.5:
Made some crazy tackles, was slow getting back but played hard.

4. Anton Pierre - 8:
One of our best players on show ! Still SLOW, but more than made up for it with excellent reading of the game, tackled much better and great distribution out.

5. Gray - 7.5:
Scored, over-lapped well, showed that he had a lot of speed, crossed pretty well. However, he STILL tackles like a madman, for which he was later booked in the 2nd half.

6. Derek Phillips - 5:
Slow, going forward AND coming back ! Has good ball control and CAN dribble, but is simply NOT a winger.

7. Leslie Fitzpatrick - 7.5:
Ran hard, pressured the Grenadians when they were in possession and tackled well. Also intercepted a number of passes and launched T&T's attack. Ran out of steam in the later stages of the 2nd half though, needs to work on his fitness if he is to be added to the WC team next year.

8. Denzil Theobald - 7:
Made some great passes and combined well with Jemmott in the centre. Was a bit slow in going forward and needs to speed up his delivery of balls as well, BUT deserves his sopt in the WC roster.

9. Kerwyn Jemmott - 8:
Showed class and confidence on the ball, proved quite a handful for the opposing players and delivered some beautiful balls from midfield. He also tackled and pressured the Grenadians when they were in possession. Can add something to the WC team.

10. Cornell Glen - 7:
Could, AND SHOULD have scored a double tonight, but his conversion rate tonight was BAD !!! I maintain this guy will serve us MUCH better on the wing, where his pace and dribbling ability will improve our penetration, and take some of the striking pressure off him too.

Nigel Pierre - 4.5:
At 200 lbs he CAN be forgiven for NOT running down balls, but how could he play 90 mins ??? Answer, we were practically playing a man short ! IMAGINE THE MAN TOOK 88 MINS BEFORE HE TOOK HIS FIRST SHOT ON GOAL.

Subs:-

Avery John - 6.5:
Following his RED card last week he picked up another yellow tonight. STILL plays too wild, but his crosses and willingness to run AT players was a useful change on our left-side.

Michael Celestine - 5.5:
Played in the middle and really did little to impress me. In fact his presence was barely noticeable. Did not stand out.

Odelle Armstrong - 4:
For a DEFENCE FORCE striker, this guy showed little strength, wasted 4 FOUR clear cut chances, including one where he turned the last defender, pushed the ball past the keeper, but conspired to take SO long to shoot ANOTHER defender manged to recover and clear the danger, He was not fast NOR did he shoot particularly well. In MY opionion this guy should NOT even be on the bench !!!

All in all T&T played 1 decent half and one REALLY bad half. Of the non-WC players there, ONLY Jemmott, Fitzpatrick and Anton Pierre can seriously be considered. Replacing Eve, Rahim and Rougier respectively in the middle. Gray adds pace, but is TOO much of a loose canon. Besides Glen, we CANNOT depend on the other 2 strikers I saw tonight. Maybe Conrad Smith should have been given another shot, at least HE seems capable of scoring !

To be honest, after tonight, it will be PAINFUL to sit through another game on Sunday...still Andre Samuel and Raul were great company, we get nuff kicks !!! :}

Final:
T&T 2 (Nigel Pierre 22nd-pen, Cyd Gray 50th) v Grenada 0.

Squad:
Daurance Williams, Keyeno Thomas, Derek King (capt), Anton Pierre, Cyd Gray, Leslie Fitzpatrick, Derek Phillips (Avery John), Kerwyn Jemmott (Michael Celestine), Denzil Theobald, Nigel Pierre, Cornell Glen (Odelle Armstrong).

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