Game Report: Trinidad and Tobago vs Jamaica

T&T goes out fighting

By Iirving Ward

Good-bye Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy. And good riddance!
The sentiment was bellowed by fans throughout the Queen's Park Oval yesterday, even as Trinidad and Tobago's 2002 World Cup hopes were laid to rest by goals from Jamaican strikers Onandi Lowe and Deon Burton.
Already clinging to a mere mathematical chance of advancing to Japan and Korea next year, T&T was finally knocked out after a 2-1 loss to the Reggae Boyz.

But even in defeat, the 4,000-odd fans who turned up at the venue to support their compatriots stood proud in tribute to the best effort they had seen by the team in this final phase of qualifying.
Indeed, afterwards, not a fan had anything negative to say about stand-in skipper Marvin Andrews' side.
Rather, it was the duo of Latapy and Yorke who drew the wrath of the fans, some of them even bearing placards scorning the two players they previously adored.

One placard asserted: "Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy. Traitors! ..."; another "Blight and Lata-pee".
Ironically, but perhaps not unexpectedly, given their fall from grace over the last three days, the duo did not even stay in the country to offer the support they had promised when they resigned from the team on Thursday, having left the night before bound for safer ground in England.

Now that all hopes of qualifying are dead, Brazilian coach Rene Simoes can focus his attention on building a team for the drive to reach the 2006 tournament in Germany. And on evidence of yesterday's game, Simoes has a lot to be hopeful of.

Leading the charge for T&T yesterday was midfielder Arnold Dwarika - who played as though he had borrowed a page from a young Little Magician's book - and England-based striker Stern John, who scored the goal which gave his compatriots and teammates hope that a revival could be initiated.

John collected a through ball from skipper Andrews, who had stolen an errant pass from Jamaican defender Ian Goodison, just outside the penalty area in the 26th minute. The Nottingham Forest marksman then dribbled past Linval Dixon and hit a right-footer past advancing goalie Aaron Lawrence.

The goal brought a huge uproar from the T&T fans, who had now seen their team, which dominated the opening stages of the game as Dwarika tormented the Jamaican defence with some deft dribbling and passing, take the lead in a match for the first time in this phase.

However, the goal also sparked a fight between rival Jamaican and T&T fans in one section of the crowd, forcing police to step in. And while many were distracted by the melee, Lowe equalised for the Reggae Boyz on the half hour mark.

Following a quick counter attack, Fitzroy Simpson moved down the left flank and delivered a looping cross into the penalty box where Lowe out jumped Andrews and headed past the desperate lunge of goalie Clayton Ince.
Undaunted by the setback, T&T continued its surge forward. But the visitors held out doggedly to the half time interval. Two consecutive goalmouth clearances from Ian Goodison, off Dwarika attempts, ensured that the scoreline did not change before the interval.

After the break, it was more of the same as T&T enjoyed the better of the exchanges for long periods.
However, the only goal came for the Jamaicans against the run of play in the 69th minute through the England-based Burton.

The goal was set up after Goodison stopped a run from (S) John inside his own penalty area, then laid the ball off to Andy Williams.

Williams, in turn, delivered a long pass up field to Burton who found himself in a one-on-one situation with Ince and made no mistake, burying his right-footer into the lower right-hand corner of the net to give his team a vital three points.

The Jamaicans joined Honduras on eight points on the six-team table with the win and now await the outcome of today's matches between leaders United States (13 pts) and Mexico (4 pts) and Honduras versus Costa Rica (10 pts), to see whether a second consecutive win against T&T in this phase-they having won the first leg 1-0 in Kingston- ultimately carries them to their second straight World Cup Finals.

Burton sinks battling Warriors


THE Trinidad and Tobago football team produced a valiant effort yesterday in an attempt to revive fading 2002 World Cup aspirations, but it was not quite good enough.

It was Jamaican faces that lit up at referee Gustavo Mendez’s final whistle as the “Reggae Boyz” celebrated a 2-1 win over their hosts in the Concacaf Zone qualifier at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain.

Derby County striker Deon Burton had the honour of applying the final dagger for the Boyz as he calmly finished an Andy Williams through ball in the 69th minute following a quick counter-attack.

Aware of the value of his effort—his first goal of the Concacaf final round—Burton stood with hands on hips and glared playfully at his teammates.

“Why couldn’t you give me a pass like that before?” Burton’s body language seemed to imply while his teammates rushed in to congratulate him.

Still, Jamaica’s Brazilian coach Clovis de Oliviera should be the first to admit that the game ran much closer than they could have anticipated.

The 5,000 spectators witnessed T&T’s first defeat at the Oval since their 1-0 loss to Costa Rica in a 1998 World Cup qualifier.

But there was much to admire about the effort of the boys in the red, white and black strip and as the game drew to a close, the entire Jamaican bench were on their feet waving and imploring Mendez to blow off the match.

Certainly miles from the team’s comprehensive 4-2 defeat to Honduras at the Hasely Crawford Stadium—just two weeks ago—when disgusted fans streamed out of the ground before the end of regulation time.

Unlike their last two matches—both defeats—it was the “Soca Warriors” who were first off the mark yesterday.

After conceding six goals in their two previous outings, Brazilian coach Rene Simoes started with three stoppers and two wing backs in an effort to stabilise the T&T defence.

It generally offered suitable resistance against the versatile Jamaican offence of Burton and Onandi Lowe and allowed for a more composed effort from the Warriors.

Nottingham Forest striker Stern John would be an early beneficiary—26 minutes into the game—after good approach work from stopper Marvin “Dog” Andrews.

Andrews gathered a loose ball just inside the Jamaicans’ half and passed firmly towards John while lumbering forward for a return pass.

Ian Goodison, who acted as John’s warden throughout the affair, seemed distracted by the sight of the powerful Andrews in full stride and the English-based striker capitalised in full.

A lowered shoulder and spin allowed the ball to roll past his marker before John buried low to Jamaican custodian Aaron Lawrence’s left.

The goal capped a fine run by the hosts and the only surprise was that Joe Public ace Arnold Dwarika was not involved.

Dwarika, who replaced maverick midfielder Russell Latapy in the starting line-up, was in irresistible form.

Soon after the kick off, the dreadlocked playmaker signalled his intentions by impudently flicking the ball over the head of Jamaican veteran Fitzroy Simpson, who promptly bundled him over.

Micah Hyde, who plies his trade with English First Division team Watford, was next to be embarrassed by Dwarika’s dazzle—five minutes before John’s item.

The Boyz midfielder was left clutching air after Dwarika dragged the ball past him and two more Jamaicans were left in his wake before he hooked his shot wide at the far post.

T&T were humming and it seemed the resignation of star players Latapy and Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke and the sacking of coach Ian Porterfield were finally forgotten.

The crowd, continually frustrated by the team’s lacklustre performances, were lustily chanting “Ole” when Jamaica responded with a Lowe blow.

A fight between supporters of both teams broke out midway through the first half and, as police and onlookers shifted their focus to in front the Geddes Grant Stand, the Boyz struck back.

Simpson whipped in a cross from the left flank, in the 31st minute, and Lowe steered it with his head high to the left of keeper Clayton Ince for the equaliser.

Dwarika and teammate Nigel Pierre gave the Jamaican defence two anxious moments with promising runs in the penalty area, but the teams remained deadlocked at the interval.

The second half got off to a slower start but, once more, it was Dwarika who controlled proceedings in the middle.

Fourteen minutes after the break, he had the Dos Santos Stand screaming in delight as he “spannered” the ball past Jamaican skipper Linval Dixon, although he failed to complete the play.

Five minutes later, he attempted to make John just as happy as he weaved past two defenders before finding the former El Dorado student unmarked in the area.

But John delayed and Goodison dived in to thwart the Warriors’ best chance in the second half.

Within seconds, his miss became doubly costly.

In a flash, Burton was in possession at the edge of the T&T penalty area after an incisive pass from substitute Williams.

The finish was as confident as the celebration that followed.

It was a hard blow for sweeper Anthony Rougier, who played superbly in place of the injured Dennis Lawrence, but the result did not flatter the gutsy Jamaicans by much.

Although often yielding possession, the Boyz were rarely overrun and again showed the benefits of a workmanlike display and competent on-field organisation.

Simpson may have lacked for Dwarika’s guile but he was every bit as assured on the ball, while Lowe literally did the job of two players as he often dropped deep in his own half to handle defensive duties as well.

At the final whistle, the appreciative crowd offered praise to their fallen heroes.

But it was the Boyz who stole the points.


TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: 21-Clayton Ince, 4-Marvin Andrews, 13-Ansil Elcock, 6-Avery John (10-Lyndon Andrews 86), 5-Reynold Carrington, 3-Dale Saunders, 15-Mickey Trotman (8-Angus Eve 57), 14-Stern John, 18-Nigel Pierre (11-Gary Glasgow 87), 17-Anthony Rougier, 9-Arnold Dwarika

JAMAICA: 13-Aaron Lawrence, 15-Ricardo Gardner, 14-Tyronne Marshall, 18-Deon Burton (10-Ricardo Fuller 72), 4-Linval Dixon, 5-Ian Goodison, 19-Frank Sinclair, 6-Fitzroy Simpson, 20-Daryl Powell (8-Jamie Lawrence 42), 12-Micah Hyde (9-Andy Williams 45), 31-Onandi Lowe

REFEREE: Gustavo Mendez (Uruguay).