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Sat, Jul

James, Forbes help guide T&T to 2-1 victory.
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A goal each by Asha James and captain Karyn Forbes, T&T senior women's team playing with a player short for 46 minutes, emerged with a well-fought 2-1 win over Nicaragua on Thursday in their 2022 Concacaf World Championship, which serves as a qualifying competition for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

On a windy and sunny day at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, Port-of-Spain, the "Women Warriors" coach by Kenwyne Jones and assistant coach Carlos Edwards, both former national senior players, dominated proceedings in front of a small crowd.

It was T&T who threatened early on thanks to Maria-Frances Serrant, who plays for Corban University in the USA, leading some nice build-ups by the local team but didn't get a shot at goal.

However, the host team was rewarded with its opening item from midfielder Asha James in the 17th with an assist from defender Lauryn Hutchinson, who dribbled through the defence. She slipped the ball to James, who gave it a soft touch to get the lone defender and scored past Nicaraguan goalkeeper Bethania Aburto.

T&T kept pushing, earning several corners and had their second goal, off a header from defender Rhea Belgrave in the 28th but she was deemed off-side by the linesman.

Two minutes later, Nicaragua's best chance in the first half came just before the first water break in the 30th when defender Sheyla Flores caught T&T goal-keeper Kimika Forbes off her line but her long-range shot, thankfully for the T&T custodian, went over the bar.

On the return to the field, the Nicaraguans kept pressing searching for the equaliser but T&T kept them at bay.

T&T, though, went down a player in the 44th when Kedie Johnson was booked her second yellow card and shown the red card by referee Lizzet Garcia after the midfielder got her hand to the face of Yessenia Flores. Nothing resulted from the free-kick and the scoreline remained unchanged at the half.

On the resumption, Nicaragua up a player continued to press in search of its opening goal but it was T&T earning another corner kick, 14 overall, in the 49th. Liana Hinds put in a good ball but it was cleared to the sideline by a Nicaraguan defender. The ensuing throw-in saw James take a nice long-range shot but it went wide of goal.

Down the other end, Karyn Forbes was called for a handball at the top of the box. Off the set play, ...tried to go through the two-player wall but it deflected wide of the goal off a Nicaraguan player

In the 54th minute, keeper Forbes gave her team a scare when she landed badly grabbing her left ankle and seemed to be in a lot of pain but remained in the match after being treated by the training staff.

T&T's second goal came in the 64th. A good shot by Cayla McFarlane was saved initially by keeper Aburro but Karen Forbes netted the rebound, scoring her seventh international goal.

McFarlene, who did her job was substituted by coach Jones and replaced by Dennecia Prince in the 67th minute.

T&T unfortunately was down to nine players in the 79th. Belgrave had to stretchered off after suffering cramps early in the second half. Her replacement Abisha Guy entered in the 85th.

This after coach Jones was faced with another issue after keeper Forbes went down again after leaping to ensure a ball was safely over the bar but in turn, seemed to aggravate her injury. She was stretchered off and coach Jones was forced to bring in his last substitution, in the form of Tenesha Palmer to protect the goal in the five minutes added-on time.

Nicaragua kept the pressure on and in the final second of added-on time pulled a goal back through Flores. The forward dribbled through three players made a move on her left and then scooped the ball off her right-foot past substitute keeper Palmer, to reduce the visitors' deficit with less than a minute to play.

T&T will take on Dominica in Guyana in three days time, and then play Turks and Caicos Islands on April 9, and Guyana on April 12 to close out the round-robin pool campaign. At the end of this stage, only the top team will qualify for the next phase of the competition.

WATCH: Extended Highlights - Trinidad and Tobago vs Nicaragua (2-1; 1-0 HT) - February 17, 2022 - Hasely Crawford Stadium.

WATCH: Post-match comments by Asha James, scorer of T&T's opening goal in the first match of 2023 WC qualifying. The goal was assisted by Lauryn Hutchinson.

WATCH: Post-match comments by T&T WNT captain Karyn Forbes following victory in T&T's opening qualifier of the 2023 WC campaign

WATCH: Post-match comments by T&T WNT Head Coach Kenwyne Jones following T&T's 2-1 defeat of Nicaragua in 2023 WC qualifying

Results

T&T 2 (Asha James 17th, Karyn Forbes 64th) vs Nicaragua 1 (Yessenia Flores 90th+5).

(Teams)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-3-3-1): 1.Kimika Forbes (GK) (21.Tenesha Palmer [GK] 89); 7.Liana Hinds, 4.Rhea Belgrave (2.Abishai Guy 84), 8.Victoria Swift, 15.Kédie Johnson; 9.Amaya Ellis (12.Chelcy Ralph 67), 20.Lauryn Hutchinson; 16.Cayla McFarlane (13.Dennecia Prince 66), 10.Asha James, 18.Maria-Frances Serrant (3.Shani Nakhid-Schuster 83); 14.Karyn Forbes (captain).

Unused substitutes: 22.Klil Keshwar (GK), 5.Shaunalee Govia, 6.Kaydeen Jack, 17.Maya Matouk, 19.Meyah Romeo.

Coach: Kenwyne Jones

Nicaragua (4-1-2-3): 1.Bethania Aburto (GK); 3.Kesly Perez, 2.Martha Silva, 7.Yorcelly Humphreys (13.Jansy Aguirre 71), 5.Lisbeth Moreno; 4.Jaclyn Gilday (17.Josseling Berrios 81); 14.Dayana Calero, 10.Sheyla Flores (captain); 9.Simri Villareyna (6.Natalie Orellana 46), 11.Yessenia Flores, 16.Lilieth Rivera.

Unused substitutes: 12.Angela Gutierrez (GK), 8.Heyssel Martinez, 15.Reyna Hernandez.

Coach: Elna Dixon

Referee: Lizzet Garcia (Mexico).

RELATED NEWS

Jones happy with Women Warriors winning start.
By Caston Cupid (T&T Guardian).


Trinidad and Tobago Women Soca Warriors got their 2022 Concacaf World Championship, which serves as a qualifying competition for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games campaign off to a good start with three points against Central American opponents Nicaragua at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Thursday.

Head coach Kenwyne Jones said after the game that his team prepared well ahead of the 3 pm kickoff which was rough for both teams as water breaks had to be used during the encounter.

Jones, a former national senior and junior team captain, whose aim is to lift the standard of the game in the country and of course carry the team to their first-ever World Cup showed great signs from kick-off.

Playing in group F it was evident that T&T was more organized and settled first as they bossed the possession from early on. It didn't take long for the deadlock to be broken, the 17th minute to be exact when Tobago-born Asha James who plays for Texas A&M University collected the pass from Lauryn Hutchinson, brushed aside her defender got into the box and calmly slotted home in front of the home fans who were delighted to be back out watching live football again.

"That sort of display was evidence of what the head coach made mention of after the match saying that he was not worried about this opposition once the women did what they worked on in training they would get the job done," said Jones asked about how the team performed.

The spectators at the Hasely Crawford Stadium was once again jumping out of their seats in the 29th minute when Rhea Belgrave converted a Karyn Forbes cross for the 2-0 lead.

However, agonizingly, the assistant referee's flag was raised to curtail all celebrations before the first water break.

Just as a perfect half in the eyes of the coaching staff and spectators neared its end in the 44th minute T&T was down to 10-man when midfielder Kadie Johnson received her second yellow from referee Lizzet Garcia whose decision met the irate of the fans as she gave the marching order.

At this point of the match, only T&T players were cautioned (yellow carded) while there were more than a handful of questionable challenges that went unpunished when it seemed that the visitors were in the wrong.

When Jones was asked about the officiating of the match he said: "I will not comment on the referee, anyone who watched the game and was in the stands, it was plain to see what took place out there so I will not make a personal comment on the referee's performance."

The second half kicked off with T&T changing formation to accommodate the man advantage the visitors had, thus Nicaragua had more possession and were the aggressors. That didn't last for long as the game's second goal came in the 64th minute and it was the captain Karyn Forbes who deservingly got her just reward for all the slaving she did all day long. Asha James' corner caused all sorts of confusion in the box in which fellow Tobagonian Forbes poked it home to ignite a roar from the stands as Bethania Aburto was beaten once again.

T&T's number one keeper Kimika Forbes had to be substituted late in the match as she aggravated a foot injury giving Tenesha Palmer some valuable minutes between the upright.

However, she was not at fault when Yessenia Flores expertly and impressively got a consolation for the visitors in the dying seconds of injury time for the 2-1 final. Lisbeth Moreno ball diceted the defence for Palmer to dribble her way around the remaining central defenders and dared to use them outside of her right boot to add the icing on the cake. With three points in the bag, Jones noted that the ladies will enjoy the victory for just about 25 minutes at the hotel before they refocus on the next task at hand Dominica on Sunday. The team will depart on Friday for Guyana.