Trinidad and Tobago's Women football team put on a commendable showing to hold hosts Mexico to a 1-1 draw in their second game of the 2011 Pan American Games at the Omnilife Stadium on Thursday night.
Team captain Maylee Attin-Johnson put T&T ahead, shocking the home team when she was on spot to punish Mexico after a weak clearance from a left side cross by Kennya Corner allowed her to latch on and slot home with her right foot from close range in the 19th minute.
The goal led to the T&T players believing more in themselves and going on to putting up a courageous fight which forced Mexico to battle hard to earn the point.
The Mexicans were rewarded a penalty just before the break on a soft call by Cuban referee Irasema Aguilera who adjudged that Maribel Dominguez was brought own by Danielle Blair when television replays clearly showed that Dominguez fell over Blair who was already laying stomach flat on the floor.
Dominguez converted the penalty to level the scores. Before that Johnson almost doubled T&T's advantage when she pressured the Mexican defender and the advancing goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago but was a touch too short from stealing the ball from the custodian and possibly having the chance at an empty net.
Later in the second half, T&T had a fair shout at a penalty denied when Cordner tried to push the ball past the advancing 'keeper but was sent sprawling to the surface.
The T&T team fought on and kept the Mexicans at bay as they went in desperate search of a second goal. The Mexican players protested everytime a T&T player was down on the ground either after a foul or to receive treatment.
T&T also converted another effort through midfielder Dernell Mascall but would consider themselves unfortunate to have the goal ruled offside as she connected and slotted home after Santiago failed to hold cleanly.
Ahkeela Mollon also had a good header narrowly missing the target in the 80th. Mexico had an injury time effort from Monica Ocampo crashing against the crossbar.
But the final result was a well deserved one for the efforts of head coach Richard Hood, his staff and all the players.
Earlier on Thursday, Colombia defeated Chile and secured first place in Group A with six points and will face Mexico, with two points, in their third and final match.
Chile and Trinidad and Tobago have played one match and both sides need Colombia to beat Mexico to have a chance to advance.
Johnson was elated with the team's effort.
"We came here and we demonstrated that we are no push overs. It's huge for us to earn a point in this tournament against the home team," Johnson told TTFF Media.
"I am really happy for everyone in the team. We worked hard and we really gave a great effort out there tonight. I think there is a lot we can build on from here," Johnson added.
The T&T Men’s team will face Mexico tonight from 8pm (9pm T&T Time).
México: 1.- Cecilia Santiago; 2.- Kenti Robles; 3.- Marlene Sandoval; 4.- Marie Ruiz; 5.- Aurora Miranda; 7.- Sandra Mayor (18.- Tanya Samarzich, 83’); 9.- Maribel Domínguez; 10.- Dinora Garza; 11.- Mónica Ocampo (6.- Monica Vergara, 10’) (15.- Rosario Saucedo, 72’); 13.- Marylin Díaz, 17.- Verónica Pérez.
Coach: Roberto Medina.
Trinidad & Tobago: 1.- Kimika Forbes; 4.- Rhea Belgrave; 5.- Arin King; 7.- Dernell Mascall; 8.- Victoria Swift; 9.- Maylee Attin-Johnson; 10.- Tasha St Louis; 11.-Janine Francois (12.- Ahkeela Mollon, 46’); 14.- Karyn Forbes; 15.- Danielle Blair, 17.- Kennya Cordner (13.- Candace Edwards, 74’).
Coach: Richard Hood.