T&T’s Terminix La Horquetta Rangers let a 2-0 half-time lead slip and fell to a 2-3 loss to host Grenada in the second match of their five-match tour to neighbouring Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) at Fond Playing field at Sauteurs, St Patrick, Grenada on Friday.
Coming off a 2-0 win over the Stern John-coached St Lucia national team at the same venue on Tuesday night behind first-half items from former USA-based national midfielder Ataulla Guerra the Dave Quamina-coached Rangers were confident of another positive result as they continued their preparations for the Normalisation Committee-led T&T Football Association (TTFA) T&T Premier League, which kicked off on Friday.
Twelve (12) minutes into the encounter, out-of-favour T&T international Tyrone Charles fired Rangers into a 1-0 when he reacted quickly to a headed-down pass from captain Jamal Creighton and turned on his stronger right foot to hammer home his shot off the glove of goalkeeper Trishawn Thomas on his near post.
Seven minutes later, Charles turned provider for his team’s second goal, when he raced to the right byline and squared the ball back on top of the 18-yard box where teammate, Real Gill, collected calmly, before curling his right-footed effort around defender Jamil Rocastle and into the far corner past dive of goalkeeper Thomas for a comfortable 2-0 cushion.
However, Rangers suffered a meltdown in the second half, Grenada stepped up their physical play and intensity and scored three goals without reply to snatch the unlikely win.
First, Romar Frank blasted in his team’s first item a minute after the restart when he collected a failed-headed clearance from Rangers defender Jesus Perez inside the 18-yard box to fire past Jabari St Hillaire from close range.
Kriston Julien then drew the hosts’ level in the 73rd minute when his left-footed shot sneaked under the dive of St Hillaire after a shot from substitute Joshua Isacc deflected off of Rangers defender Leslie Rusell, and into his path.
Two minutes from full-time Isaac completed the turn-around for Rangers when he collected a pass from a teammate just outside the penalty area, and ran at defender Daneil Cyrus, before unleashing a left-footed effort that whisked past the dive of St Hillaire and into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal to steal the win, the second in three matches after sharing a two-match series with St Lucia, winning the second encounter 2-0 on Sunday, after losing the opener 2-1.
Sunday (March 11), Rangers will have a chance to avenge their loss when they meet Grenada again at Victoria Park, Grenville from 4 pm.
The second and final phase of the tour will see Rangers coming up against St Vincent and the Grenadines in two encounters, firstly on Wednesday (March 15) and then three days later on Saturday (March 18), both in St Vincent.
The trio of Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines are using the encounters as part of their remaining CONCACAF Nations League (CNL) matches, as well, at the end of the month.
Grenada currently sits at the bottom of its League A Group D three-team round-robin pool with one point from three matches, four behind leaders El Salvador who have also played three matches while the USA is in the second spot with two matches to play.
In their final CNL match, Grenada will host the USA on March 24, needing a win to have any chance of avoiding demotion to League B.
Meanwhile, the St Lucians, head their three-team League C Group C table with a maximum of six points after wins against Dominica, 1-0 away, and 2-0 at home over Anguilla, and will complete their campaign against Anguilla away on March 24, followed by a clash with Dominica at home in Castries on March 27. The pair of Anguilla and Dominica have two points after two matches.
Like Grenada and St Lucia, SVG resume CONCACAF Nations League at the end of March as well and currently sits at the bottom of their four-team League B Group D round-robin series with one point from four matches after earning a 2-2 draw at home with group leader Nicaragua (ten points).
In their other matches, SVG suffered defeats at home and away to second-placed T&T (nine points), 2-0 and 4-1, as well as a 1-0 loss on the road to the Bahamas and in their remaining matches, they travel to Nicaragua on March 24 before returning home to host the Bahamas, three days later.
Grenada come from behind to beat La Horquetta Rangers 3-2.
By Sherdon Pierre (T&T Newsday).
HOSTS Grenada recovered from a two-nil deficit to earn a 3-2 comeback victory against Terminix La Horquetta Rangers in the first of two meetings of the Pre-Season Tour 2023 on Friday at the Fond Playing Field, St Patrick, Grenada.
Rangers were full of confidence coming off a two-nil victory against St Lucia on Tuesday and it showed in their brisk passing and movements early in the match. The TT team scored two first-half goals yet again. This time was striker Tyrone Charles in the 13th minute who volleyed home from close range after captain Jamal Creighton challenged for a header from a corner that fell kindly for Charles. Grenada`s Goalkeeper Trishawn Thomas got a strong hand to the shot, but it was too powerful.
Six minutes later, Charles turned provider as he skilfully laid a pass to an unmarked Real Gill who controlled around the penalty spot to guide it home near post beating a helpless Thomas in goal.
It was a tale of two halves as Grenada fuelled by the energy of their home crowd capitalised on streaky defending from the visitors. Their resurgence began after pulling back a goal sixty seconds into the second half following a poor clearance From Rangers defender Jesus Perez that dropped into the path of Romar Frank who chested and volleyed past goalie Jabari St Hillaire.
The Spice Island tied the game in the 74th when forward Joshua Issac shot was blocked by defender Leslie Russell but Kriston Julien latched on to rebound to slip it under St Hillaire who could have done better with his effort.
Issac was a handful for the Rangers’ defence all night and he was rewarded for his efforts scoring in the 88th minute to seal the comeback victory 3-2. Both teams will meet again on Sunday before Rangers conclude the tour against St. Vincent and the Grenadines next Wednesday and Saturday.
Terminix La Horquetta Rangers: Jabari St. Hillaire, Jesus Perez, Jevon Morris, Leslie Russell, Caleb Sturge, Real Gill, Jamal Creighton, Daniel David, Isaiah Lee, Ataulla Guerra, Tyrone Charles.
Grenada: Tishawn Thomas, Jamil Rocastle, Rhyim Griffith, Kimron Marshall, Ethan Telesford, Joshua Issac, Kriston Julien, Trevon Williams, Kenson Williams, Darren Modoo, Christian James.