Game Report: Jamaica vs Trinidad and Tobago

T&T shut out at ‘The Office’

In Kingston

THERE is only one boss at “The Office”.

The Trinidad and Tobago football team discovered as much yesterday afternoon when they fell 1-0 away to the Jamaican “Reggae Boyz” in the opening game of the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers final round.

The win extended Jamaica’s unbeaten run at the Kingston National Stadium, christened “The Office”, which now stands at 47 games with their last defeat coming in November, 1994 against the United States.

It was a record that the bullish Jamaicans never looked like losing. Not that their opponents from the southern Caribbean didn’t try.

But the Trinidad and Tobago defence led by Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, found the Reggae Boyz to be too stubborn on their home ground.

They have their own way of doing things at “The Office”.

The pre-game party sanctioned by the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) lasted practically until kick-off with singers like Morgan Heritage, Carlene Davis and Lexus all doing their bit to hype up the crowd.

So much for the Fifa regulation which states that all such entertainment should end a full 60 minutes before the teams take to the field.

There was similar disregard for Fifa’s insistence that the aisles be kept clear in case of an emergency at the ground. The Stadium is listed as having a seating capacity of 35,000 but there were easily 40,000 spectators there yesterday—the vast majority complying with JFF president Horace Burrell’s plea to wear gold.

It was this defiant atmosphere that greeted T&T captain Russell Latapy and company as they strode out for the 1 p.m. kick-off.

And the T&T attack found themselves negated by a solid Jamaican team.

More famed for shutting down plays than creating them, the Reggae Boyz ran true to form.

Their guests had the lion’s share of the possession but, for all T&T’s huffing, they ended the match with just two shots on goal from nine efforts.

Only one was a genuinely spurned opportunity.

The Reggae Boyz had far less sight of T&T goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, but how they made the most of what came their way.

Jamaica’s Derby County midfielder Darryl Powell was bundled over just in front of the T&T penalty area but the Guatemalan referee waved play on as Tyronne Marshall raced in purposefully to collect the loose ball.

It allowed for a stunning goal worthy of deciding any match.

One Marshall touch negated the spin of the straying sphere, the other sent it flying past Hislop and in off the underside of the crossbar. It proved to be the afternoon’s only emphatic show of attacking play.

Not that Yorke—Concacaf’s most expensive player—didn’t threaten though. In truth the striker, fresh from a weekend hattrick against Arsenal, could well have changed the course of the match some minutes earlier.

For all their pre-game banter, the Reggae Boyz started slowly.

And they were dealt a blow after just nine minutes when Bolton Wanderers left flanker Ricardo “Bibi” Gardener came out on the wrong end of an aerial collision in the opposing area. He was replaced by Bradford City midfielder Jamie Lawrence.

Reggae Boyz coach Clovis de Oliveira may have been forgiven for questioning the gods.

On the 11th minute, de Oliveira was questioning his captain as well after his trusted defender Linval Dixon tarried around his own area and was dispossessed by Stern John. John wasted no time in rolling the ball instinctively towards Yorke, but his radar failed, his shot flashing past the far post.

True T&T were finding Yorke with encouraging regularity while Angus Eve was whipping in crossballs with near perfect aim.

But in the heart of the Jamaican defence, Ian “Pepe’ Goodison played with the calm of a man who had seen it all before.

Goodison’s majestic performance was worth its weight in gold.


T&T fights to the finish ...
 Reggae Boyz win for 'Shorty'
National Stadium, Jamaica

TRINIDAD and Tobago's skipper Russell Latapy and his team-mates will have to return to the drawing board and rework their strategy for what will be an even tougher road to the 2002 World Cup.

Latapy's squad suffered an early hiccup here yesterday after losing its opening Concacaf Zone final round qualifier 1-0 to arch-rivals Jamaica at the National Stadium.

In a match charged with intensity and emotion, midfielder Tyronne Marshall scored the lone goal of the match in the 18th minute to secure three vital points for his side.

Marshall beat T&T's England-based goalkeeper Shaka Hislop with a curling right-footer from about 35 metres out to bring a packed stadium crowd - estimated at over 35,000 - to its feet.

The victory was quickly dedicated to fellow Jamaican midfielder Stephen "Shorty" Malcolm, who died in a car accident last month in the build-up to yesterday's game.

The Reggae Boyz had been keen to salute their lost team-mate with an opening win and despite a fighting effort from Latapy's men right down to the final whistle, they simply could not deny the home team on its day of glory.

Latapy's men will next meet Costa Rica in the second game of its 10-match campaign to reach Japan and South Korea.

And they will again be playing away knowing they cannot afford to drop more points so early.
Earlier, T&T was made to pay for failing to convert an easy scoring opportunity. Ironically, the muffed chance came from Dwight Yorke in the 11th minute.

Fed just outside the six-metre box by Stern John, who stole a loose ball following a mix-up by Jamaican defenders Ian Goodison and Chris Dawes, Yorke found himself free with only 'keeper Leon Gordon at his mercy.

And to the chagrin of his team-mates, Yorke put his right-footed shot wide off the far post. The Reggae Boyz would respond almost immediately.

Marshall tested Hislop from close range in the 13th minute then delivered a telling blow soon after. Switching to the left flank to fill in for the injured Ricardo Gardner, Marshall first dispossessed Ronnie Mauge close to the line. Then, after taking aim, he unleashed a curling right-footer from 35 metres out.

England-based 'keeper Shaka Hislop dived to his left but could do nothing as the ball hit the underside of the crossbar and rested into the back of the net.

Undaunted by this setback T&T went all out for an equaliser, but, try as hard as they did, they simply couldn't break through the Jamaican defence.

The closest Latapy's men came was in the 34th minute when a header from Mauge was cleared off the goalline by Marshall.


T&T: Shaka Hislop, Ian Cox, Marvin Andrews, Dennis Lawrence, Ronnie Mauge, Lyndon Andrews, Anthony Rougier, Russell Latapy (captain), Angus Eve, Stern John, Dwight Yorke.

JAMAICA: Leon Gordon, Chris Dawes, Linval Dixon, Ian Goodison, Tyronne Marshall, Ricardo Gardner, Daryll Powell, Andrew Williams, Theodore Whitmore, Barry Hayles, Deon Burton.
T&T SUBS: Carlos Edwards for Eve, 80th; Stokely Mason for M.Andrews, 81st.

J'CA SUBS: James Lawrence for Gardner, 14th; Ricardo Fuller for Hayles 63rd

More often than not, it was Goodison who made the difference laying down “The Office” rules to a
lively but, in the end, frustrated Yorke.

Still it was an awesome display of Marshall law which secured Jamaica’s three points and left one of
the English Premiership’s best goalies beaten all ends up.

There was never any doubt about who “run things” at “The Office” though.