TT get past Jamaica 2-0

by Shaun Fuentes
Trinidad and Tobago scored a resounding 2-0 victory over their Caribbean counterparts Jamaica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

TT, bizarrely roared on by a capacity crowd in a Carnival like atmosphere out their rivals to the sword with goals by their skipper David Nakhid (23rd minute) and Columbus Crew crackerjack Stern John in the 75th minute.

It was a good day for local football, with several overseas players including Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke,  and ace midfielder Russell Latapy on show. Also, it was the first time that such a sizeable crowd witnessed a local match since the Road to Italy campaign in 1989.

Despite all the pre-match hype created by the presence of Yorke, it was midfield master Russell Layapy who stole the show, instigating both   with telling crosses. TT started with nine foreign based players in Clint Marcelle (Barnsley), Anthony Rougier (Port Vale), Jerron Nixon (FC Zurich), John
(Columbus Crew), Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers) Nakhid (Malmo FF) and debutant goalkeeper Shaka Hislop of West ham United.

The visitors settled  first, maintaining early possession, while TT’s Yorke and John were closely scrutinized by opposing defenders.  Jamaica had the first real scoring opportunity when Ricardo Fuller caught the local defence napping but his shot whizzed past the left post.

The local side lacked cohesion but the foreign players showed their worth at times with aggressive play. The calypso boys drew first blood when “Latas” swung in a right sided corner which found Nakhid, whose screaming header gave Jamaican ‘keeper Aaron Lawrence no chance.

With TT a goal ahead, the aggression expected from both teams did not materialise. Jamaica’s best chance of scoring was Paul Hall’s effort which Hislop recovered his ground to push out after stopping an initial shot by Fuller.

Meanwhile, the man everyone had come to see, Yorke, had been tightly marked by Fabian Davis and Anthony Waugh. In the closing stages of the first half, he was nicely picked out by Nakhid but had his right footer blocked out by a defender.

Hislop appeared a bit uncertain at times in goal, probably because of it being his first match in front of local fans. He however, gave a solid showing later on with some fine saves.

At the re-start, Jamaica looked more assertive than TT, again maintaining the early possession and were at times controlling the match to their own pace. However, they  lacked penetration up front
against an uncertain local defence. Only Rougier appeared stable at the back.

In the 57th minute, the writing was on the wall for Rene Simoes’s side. Latapy delivered an excellent right side free-kick from the outer region of the 18 yard box, drifting away from substitue ‘keeper Donovan Rciketts for John to neatly head home.

For all his endeavour, “Latas” almost got his name on the scoresheet when his blistering long range free-kick just missed the cross bar. Yorke showing obvious signs of not wanting to take risks of injury, would have relished the chance to score but Arnold Dwarika, with Yorke lurking at his side, chose to shoot at goal. His shot turned to be a poor one.

While Simoes shouted instructions from the sideline, Jamaica pressed in the closing stages for a goal. But nothing would beat Hislop on the evening. The end result turned out to be a fitting one ahead of TT’s World Cup campaign.

Next up are the South Africans at the Stadium on May 6 at 7:30pm.

Bonus: After Game Comments