Sat, Jul
Match Report
Barbados Trinidad & Tobago
Barbados T&T flag
 Conrad Smith (12')
Cornell Glen (30')
Angus Eve (74')

Digicel Cup
2005-02-24Waterford National StadiumBridgetown, Barbados3000

Bus breaks down but ‘Warriors’ still make it to Gold Cup

The start of the final Digicel Caribbean Cup round started bouncy for Trinidad and Tobago with a 2-1 loss to Jamaica and on the final day of competition, things got off to no better start as the bus to take the team to the National Stadium for the encounter against Barbados broke down even before the ‘Warriors” could leave the Grand Barbados Beach Resort. But in the end a winner by skipper Angus Eve ensured passage for T&T to the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

To finish off a testing week for coach Bertille St Clair’s team which had more downs than ups, the host nation came with all guns blazing as they scored their only two goals of the Finals in front of a partisan crowd at the venue. Jamaica were crowned 2005 champions with a 1-0 win over Cuba which also made it to the Gold Cup. The “Reggae Boyz” took away US$100,000 while T&T received US$30,000 for finishing third.

“It wasn’t a bad result for us but again we made some errors at the back and we paid the price for it,” St Clair told TTFF Media. “We won the game which is always important and the guys showed some fight which was one of the positives to take from the match. We also switched the formation for this game which the guys seemed comfortable. All in all even though we didn’t take home the top prize, we are still in there for the long haul.

As to what’s next for the Warriors, they will now revert to preparations for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Guatemala on March 26 with a friendly international early next month against an opposition to be named shortly.

“We have to continue the focus ahead of the next World Cup match and we also should have a game before that. All this is barring whether I am still around,” St Clair added. “Because with the set of comments you are hearing and the criticism of the team back home maybe perhaps things might be different. But my goal remains getting to the World Cup and once the powers that be see it fit not to interfere with that then I have no fear that we will surprise a lot of people.”

“It is so shocking that while we are trying to qualify for a World Cup, there are guys who are said to be knowledgeable about football and they continue to knock their own team when you expect them to help the team with their comments and try and get the nation behind the effort. We must remember that football is not just about talk but it’s about success so maybe if they have the track record to prove it then things would be different for all of us,” he said.

Skipper Eve also praised his teammates for their effort on the closing night.

"I think despite the fact that we had to work hard to get through meant that the guys showed character and w could only build from this. We have some work to do without a doubt but I think we can only move on from here," Eve said.

On Thursday, needing a draw to advance, T&T started off purposely with a 4-4-2 formation with newcomer Dwayne Jack playing his first international match while Nigel Henry was making a rare appearance, both drafted into the team on the day of the match after injuries to defenders Marlon Rojas, Derek King and Cyd Gray.

St Clair also gave Conrad Smith the chance to start up front with Cornell Glen while Eve started alongside Jose Seabra, Leslie Fitzpatrick and Denzil Theobald in the middle.

On six minutes Glen got one across from the left which goalkeeper Bernard Howell failed to hold but there was no one following up. Two minutes later a left side cross from Seabra saw Fitzpatrick head over bar. Two quick chances seemed to wake up the “Bajans” who responded with a close effort in the 10th minute as Ryan Lucas hit over from close up.

Smith then got the important opener for T&T in the 11th minute. He picked up from Glen and moved across the box, eluding a couple challenges before hitting low past the ‘keeper to send T&T ahead. The goal was celebrated in style as the “Warriors” knew very well that it was going to be no walk over for them on the evening.

Then in the 17th minute an incoming free kick by Seabra was brought down by Fitzpatrick for an unmarked Theobald. But he volleyed over bar from a good shooting position. Barbados hung in and forced Duarance Williams to brilliantly push one out from Norman Forde in the 23rd.

Glen then doubled the lead on the half hour when he was sent through and clinically hit home to ease the pressure off St Clair’s team. But it wasn’t for long as the home side hit back in the 32nd when Forde scored a stunner, hitting one from about 25 metres out which swung away from Williams to send the “Bajan” posse into a frenzy. It also left Williams with an injured neck in the attempt to make the save.

The goal set up an interesting second half as the Barbados team stepped up their game, and though not playing any sort of enterprising football, they did manage to open up gaps in the T&T defense. But 16 minutes from the end, Eve, who turned 32 on Wednesday, celebrated his birthday in style when he got one over the wall past the last post, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way. This followed a neat exchange between Seabra and Fitzpatrick on top the box which led to the free kick. The “Bajans” had one last flurry when Lucas pulled a second goal four minutes from the end back but by then, the “Warriors” were already getting ready for the Gold Cup. The T&T contingent returns home on Friday evening and training resumes on Monday at the Larry Gomes Stadium from 3:30pm.

T&T Line-Up:
Daurance Williams, Keyeno Thomas, Nigel Henry, Anton Pierre, Dwayne Jack, Angus Eve (capt), Denzil Theobald, Jose Luis Seabra, Leslie Fitzpatrick, Conrad Smith, Cornell Glen.

1.Daurance Williams
 Subbed outNigel Henry
 Subbed in 46' Nigel Daniel
 Dwayne Jack
16.Anton Pierre
5.Keyeno Thomas
8.Angus Eve (capt.)
7.Leslie Fitzpatrick
10.Jose Seabra
12.Subbed outDensill Theobald
 Subbed in Kerry Baptiste
13.Cornell Glen
14.Subbed outConrad Smith
 Subbed in Scott Sealy
 Nigel Daniel
 Kerry Baptiste
9.Scott Sealy
 Bertille St. Clair
0'Subbed outSubbed inKerry Baptiste for Densill Theobald
0'Subbed outSubbed inScott Sealy for Conrad Smith
46'Subbed outSubbed inNigel Daniel for Nigel Henry