Taylor dazzles but Shade and Forbes give Oilers and Rush share of spoils

EPL Properties Ltd

Petrotrin Oilers and CNGC Rush wrapped up week one of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) last night with an intriguing one-all draw at the St James Barracks.

Trinidad and Tobago National Women’s Team players Karyn Forbes and Mariah Shade both hit the back of the target during an action-packed first half in an affair that seemed to suggest a flurry of goals but, in the end, delivered just two.

Photo: CNGC Rush winger Ahkeela Mollon (left) holds off Oilers defender Rinelle Findley during WPL action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: CNGC Rush winger Ahkeela Mollon (left) holds off Oilers defender Rinelle Findley during WPL action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

All eyes were on “Women Soca Warrior” star Ahkeela Mollon at kick off as the diminutive winger shook off the trauma of being caught in the crossfire of rival gangs in Longdenville, less than 24 hours earlier, to make her WPL debut.

Many fans might have turned up to see “Lady Latapy” showcase her talent. But it was another slender, clever attacker who threatened to steal the limelight.

Kayla Taylor is her name, and dribbling is her game. The tiny 2010 Under-17 World Cup striker, who turns 21 in November, used her trickery and speed to good effect in the first half, as she teamed up smartly with winger Shenelle Henry and US Striker Stephanie Bonilla to test the Rush defence.

KFC Munch Pack

The trio had things their way for much of the first half as the dancing, dazzling Taylor danced gave centre backs Nadia James and Rhea Belgrave a hard time. The diminutive attacker should have found the back of the net during her purple-patch in the first half but the ball just would not go in for her.

Twice, Taylor hit over bar with lobbed attempts as Rush goalkeeper Emily Marie Cota found herself stranded inside her own penalty area. And, when Taylor managed to get an effort on target in the 18th minute, an agile Cota was able to make an impressive low save.

Photo: WPL goalkeeper Emily Cota from the US Virgin Islands pulls off a save in a scrimmage against the Women Soca Warriors. (Copyright Allan V Crane/SPORTT)
Photo: WPL goalkeeper Emily Cota from the US Virgin Islands pulls off a save in a scrimmage against the Women Soca Warriors.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/SPORTT)

The Oilers were quicker to most of the loose balls in the midfield too as Victoria Swift and Naomie Guerra imposed themselves on their Rush counterparts.

Priscilla “Pri” Selau and Nubiluz Rangel were neat when in possession in the Rush midfield but they were hurried and hassled, outmuscled and overpowered by the feistier duo of Swift and Guerra.

“Two Venezuelan players only came in today and I put them in the starting eleven to see what they could do,” Rush coach Marlon Charles told Wired868. “We had two of the Venezuelans playing in the middle but they were not holding their positions.

“Nobody was staying in the middle.”

Pri, in fact, is Brazilian. But then the WPL’s coaches have had less than a week to familiarise themselves with their players.

The Oilers early and persistent pressure finally paid off in the 28th minute as team captain, Forbes, showed great composure inside a crowded penalty area to arrow a right-footed shot into the bottom corner. It was nothing more than the young Oilers team deserved at that point.

Photo: Oilers captain Karyn Forbes (centre) shows off her kicking technique while Rush forward Crisbelis Abraham in WPL action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Oilers captain Karyn Forbes (centre) shows off her kicking technique while Rush forward Crisbelis Abraham in WPL action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Mollon tried to fashion a quick response at the other end but her cross-cum-shot flashed harmlessly across the face of the goal. Rush striker Mariah Shade was more lethal in the 37th minute as she gleefully latched onto a loose ball inside the penalty area and applied a smart finessed effort past Oilers custodian Shalette Alexander.

Seemingly thriving on the beats and sounds of the Laventille Rhythm Section, the Rush unit had finally found some pep in their steps. And they looked much more settled going into the halftime interval although Swift did threaten with a close header off an accurate, floated Forbes corner.

The intensity and speed of the first half was not replicated after the interval and the slower tempo seemed to suit Rush. Mollon and midfielder Janine Francois saw more of the ball while Pri came into her own now and showed her quality in spurts.

Taylor was now a spectator on the opposite end and Swift and Guerra faded as the Oilers failed to find the fluidity and possession, which they had in the first half.

Mollon provided some scares from set-piece situations and opposing goalkeeper, Alexander, was fortunate to stop the former player’s cheeky lobbed attempt in the 68th minute.

Photo: Oilers midfielder Shenelle Henry (centre) runs at Rush midfielder Pri (right) and Tamika Isaac in WPL action.. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Oilers midfielder Shenelle Henry (centre) runs at Rush midfielder Pri (right) and Tamika Isaac in WPL action..
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

If a second half was goal was to come, then surely it would be from a Rush player and there were some oohs from the crowd as Shade linked up with striker Crisbelis Abraham before the latter shot into the side-nettings. But that was as close as they would get.

Abraham probably wished she could have that one back.

Oilers substitute Denecia Prince was a willing runner in the latter stages of the second half and managed a few speculative attempts that kept Cota on her toes. But Prince’s teammates just did not have the legs to go with her.

The Oilers team looked quite content with a share of the spoils and in the end and that is exactly what they got.

“This is very good we came off the pitch with a point after our first game,” said Oilers coach Arnold Murray. “We can’t ask for better than that. We could’ve gotten three points but we thank God for what we have.”

Murphy’s opposite number, Charles, was also grateful for a point.

Photo: Rush defender Adeka Spence and Oilers winger Shenelle Henry contest the ball during WPL action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Rush defender Adeka Spence and Oilers winger Shenelle Henry contest the ball during WPL action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“I’m happy with the point considering the size of the ground,” said Charles. “It’s very difficult to play especially when you have players who are more flair players and love to move the ball around.

“We had that language barrier and we were struggling in the middle of the field in the first half. In the second half, we adjusted a little better.

“But at least we start off with a point because there are two teams that lost their opening games.”


Rush (4-3-3): 18.Emily Marie Cota (GK); 5.Annalis Cummings, 4.Rhea Belgrave, 8.Nadia James, 3.Adeka Spence; 17.Nubiluz Rangel (6.Tamika Issac 63), 7.Pri, 11.Janine Francois; 12.Ahkeela Mollon (captain), 9.Crisbelis Abraham (14.Janelle McGee 81), 10.Mariah Shade.

Unused Substitutes: 21.Nicole Mitchell (GK), 2.Bruna Marchiowatti, 13.Afeisha Mohammed, 15.Joyce Mattos, 16.Sharice Arthur.

Coach: Marlon Charles


Oilers (4-4-1-1): 21.Shalette Alexander (GK); 14.Chevonne John, 5.Karyn Forbes (captain), 6.Khadisha Debesette, 18.Rinelle Findley; 13.Shenelle Henry, 8.Victoria Swift, 10.Naomie Guerra, 11.Khadidra Debesette (7.Denecia Prince 56); 12.Kayla Taylor, 9.Stephanie Bonilla (3.Shanelle Arjoon 52).

Unused Substitutes: 2.Tamara Johnson, 4.Tisha Burton, 20.Shanice Haynes, 22.Micah Aliester.

Coach: Arnold Murphy


Referee: Keilon Bacchus

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Mariah Shade (left) shoots past Guatemala defender Londy Barrious but also just wide of the far corner during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Mariah Shade (left) shoots past Guatemala defender Londy Barrious but also just wide of the far corner during the 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

WPL results

(Wed Jun 24)

Rush 1 (Mariah Shade 37), Oilers 1 (Karyn Forbes 28)

Player of the match: Karyn Forbes (Oilers);

(Fri Jun 18)

Fuego 5 (Tasha St Louis 9, 29 pen, Saucedo 52, Jo-Marie Lewis 60, 62), Dragons 3 (Isabella Hayes 1, Lauryn Hutchinson 57 pen, Jessica Adams 70) at St James;

Player of the Match: Tasha St Louis (Fuego);

Angels 3 (Maylee Attin-Johnson 31, 40, Rafaela De Vargas 61), Wave 0 at St James;

Player of the Match: Maylee Attin-Johnson (Angels).


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About Roneil Walcott

Roneil Walcott
Roneil Walcott is an avid sports fan and freelance reporter with a BA in Mass Communication from COSTAATT. Roneil is a former Harvard and St Mary's College cricketer who once had lofty aspirations of bringing joy to sport fans with the West Indies team. Now, his mission is to keep them on the edge of their seats with sharp commentary from off the playing field.

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  1. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    There is a facebook page guys

  2. I am curious as to what was attendance like? Anyone know if full fixtures are out and if other venues will be used?

  3. Well I’ve seen about a dozen foreign players who looked useful or better than useful. Only two made my team of the first round and only one other was even considered.
    But I have to give them another two weeks to say definitively.
    I was very, very surprised to see Mariah Shade on the flank for Rush (for a long stretch) while two ordinary Venezuelans played upfront.
    Shade is clearly better than both of them.
    But we will see how the imports gel.

  4. Concerning the foreign players do not say half there are about 40 of them and 20 are not quality players!! I have seen foreign midfielders take 5 touches to turn consistently any five year old i coach for two months could turn with two!! The majority of the foreigners are hounds and as wired family begged from the beginning the local league could have been empowered and foreigners added to strengthen teams

  5. Lasana Liburd agree with the talk about small pool for the world cup campaign behind the scenes i fought for more players to be exposed and looked at!! Those in charged at the time not Randy had this notion that the national team was an elite program and those girls were not of the standand and they had three years to develop them between 2011-2014 . I do not even like to talk about that campaign because i get very upset when i think about the great opportunity we as a football countrt wasted but God is Greatest!!

  6. Fully agree Lasana. The problems of poor administration are all too common in local sports at all levels. Was having that conversation earlier tonight with Peter in regards to swimming and track and field.

  7. Thanks Kendall Tull. Randy never really seemed committed to spending too much time in Trinidad trying to discover players.
    If he did, he would have gone to the CAC Games.
    We probably got back more than we put into that World Cup campaign. The women tried so hard but there were too many issues to overcome.

  8. Interesting question Lasana. Perhaps it wasn’t all his call to make?

  9. Lasana – caught the last part of your interview with Andre along with Peter. Good stuff.

  10. Honestly, I’ve seen some players that made me wonder why Randy Waldrum persevered with such a narrow base of players.

  11. I’ve enjoyed some of the young players Kendall Tull. We have talent here.
    I disagree with Gordon a bit on the foreigners. They have made teams more solid. And the highest overseas draft pick hasn’t played yet due to injury.
    Also this is a competition with no pro-season and they are in a strange country, so they will need about three or four weeks to settle in.
    The coaches wouldn’t know how to use them yet either. Of course about half of the overseas players may be duds.
    But you must expect that the way the competition was done.
    The other half are worth their spots.

  12. My point was not so much that you don’t need resources as it was that it isn’t a lack of resources that is the core of the problem Lasana. Even if the money that was ‘lost’ was recovered, it wouldn’t make a difference if we lack a coherent vision.

  13. Lasana Liburd i jumping back out watching from the side lines i feel is time to get back involved in the media side of things so u will have another solider to get these questions because i like benji!! I fed up of the same thing over and over!!!

  14. Resources are crucial though Kendall Tull. You may not need millions. But you need something.

  15. The Government cannot run a league long term. It isn’t even considered a league.
    The only chance for sustainability is if the WPL can take up the slack. And how likely is that when the WPL was barely involved in this venture.
    It showed the potential for a women’s league. But who exactly will run it when all the coaches disappear and the ministry officials presumably get another sport minister.
    I am enjoying it so far and I know it will get better as players and coaches learn each other.
    But what then?

  16. Ideas by Vlady!!! We tried to help the minister before but pour it out know they veiwing for a fact!! We will ask fir consultancy fee later because people eating a food for all kind of things from bring under standard foreign players, coaches equipment etc so for all them ideas charge a fee!! lol

  17. I think its a good idea just concerned that it may have been rushed to production. It may give the National players an opportunity to shake off the rust having not played since December and given that we have two National youth teams i believe and the Senior women team going to Pan-Am with Olympic Qualifiers soon after we need games. I think that maybe next year (if the WPL returns) that it can be incorporated into a timetable with WoLF where by maybe making a WPL team is an incentive for performing in the WoLF league tournament… sort of an ALL-Star six week tournament where they do travel around the country and the best of the best play each other.

  18. Vladimir – I did not know that was a QPCC team playing nor that you were an assistant coach. You comments about the WPL are spot on – there is no sign of continuity and sustainability factoring in this venture. I still can’t figure out the business case for the league or how it fits into any development plan.

  19. Thank you, Kendall Tull for recognising the difference between WoLF and WPL, The WoLF match was entertaining, but as you said, the WPL game was better. Hopefully the professionalism will improve. Remember, this is the pilot put in place to help our national team players prepare for PanAm. Next years WPL will be longer and of an increased standard.

  20. Thanks Gordon Pierre honestly it’s not something I had thought about before seriously but a combination of coaching at the QPCC Academy and seeing the effort that the women were putting out I decided to offer whatever services I could. I think local football both male and female can improve but it’s not just the players but the administrators that need to become better at their roles. I am glad to come on here and get “blunt but honest” opinions of level of play. I think the “fans” must demand a higher quality and push the coaches to deliver or do their best to get their players to improve.

  21. My brother Vladimir Henderson-Suite great contribution! Good to see fellow player crossing over to coaching welcome to the coaching world and know your football brain will be a great addition to local football!!

  22. The better players from the WoLF league were enticed by prospect of being paid and so the “quality” of the present WoLF league may be diluted. Heck Rangers had to fold up their 1st Team which was leading one of the three groups of WoLF because all bar six of their players had left for the WPL. Those six players were allowed to come over to the 2nd team that played my girls last night.

    My main concern though is that this league started in May and everything will be done by End of August. What then for the ladies? There needs to be a concerted plan to produce quality girls and women not only to populate the national teams but ensure that the league(s) available locally can provide some challenge to the national players so that the standard of play is always improving.

  23. Kendall Tull the first game last night was between Queens Park Cricket Club’s Women’s Team and St. Ann’s Rangers 2nd team. We (I’m an assistant coach for QPCC) are a first year club and so we are in the birthing process. We play in the WoLF league which from what I have seen are made up a few teams comprised of teenagers. I readily agree and have always been a big supporter of qualified coaches being employed by schools etc to raise the quality of the game. There is a HUGE gap between the girls/women on the national teams and the rest of players.

  24. Very very true he think PR could gloss over incompetents!! But time will show and the marks to buss will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the noblity of the goodly gentlemen

  25. …So wait…Gordon Pierre…so then the current TTFA President know what he was saying when he was criticising the MOS by saying he may go down in history as the worst MOS ever…Could It Be True

  26. Yep as his track record have shown he is all about himself as he have shown when sabotaging national teams men and women over the pass four years but thats a whole other story!!

  27. …That same money that is going into the hands of the foreign players could have been better served by developing more women’s coaches…getting the teams better uniforms and equipment…and even stipends for players…so many areas that the money could have spent…but I realise Gordon Pierre…that a certain Minister is more concerned on leaving a legacy…he wants to be the one to go down in history as the one who created a Women’s League

  28. yes Mark Anthony Scott bc in fact the players who are dominating are local wolf players!!Hurts but have to support the ladies and the other folks who have given their lives for women football who are involved in this farce

  29. …And mind you…I don’t believe for 1 minute that just $1.7 Million was used to start up the WPL…maybe $1.7 USD…Not TTD

  30. …So then Gordon Pierre was not the better thing to do is spend all the money that is being used to create the WPL to properly develop the Women’s game and players in T&T and make the WOLF more attractive and competitive????

  31. Hahaha Kendall Tull i agreed something radical has to be done!! And a six team competition loaded with very average foreign players definitely does little for women football!! Will love to heard the team coaches asessment of their imports!!Smh

  32. And as I say this, Lasana is on 95.5FM talking on this very issue.

  33. There have been so many development plans shelved over the decades, it’s hard to keep track of them Gordon. We cannot deny that we have been passed by teams like the US and Lasana mentioned Panama in another thread as well as others. I don’t think it’s a matter of resources as much as it is vision and discipline to harness the talent. Someone mentioned in another thread about the different challenges in coaching youth and Earl and others have waxed lyrical on the lack of properly trained coaches.

    This is the greatest failure of the TTFA – to develop and implement a strategic plan to take our football forward. A six week tournament isn’t the answer to take women football forward for damn sure. We just seem so moribund and keep putting the same failures back in control. Burn the TTFA to the ground and get rid of EVERYBODY currently in place.

  34. “cross-cum-shot” Is this only for the ladies? Cuz I still don’t want to know what play that describes with the men even ‘across the face’ of goal. Really? Smh, Face palm. What people really have with Mollon dread?

  35. Something that stood out to me is that Shabazz took the number 9 jersery from a Ricarda Nelson in her prime to pass to an upcoming Maylee symbolising the pass of the guard to the future.

  36. Sorry Kendall Tull fell back to the third world culture there!! I think the money should be spent on development! over ten years ago Jamaal Shabazz and Dr Goulden devised a plant for women football that we see the results today with the Maylee’s, yaya’s, Tasha’s and Akeela’s. the program was short circuited by lack of funds and other issues but such a visionary plan needs so restarted

  37. Ok. Thanks for the clarification.

    Here’s the question though – How do we bridge the gap between ourselves and the top ladies teams in the World? This isn’t about cutting anyone some slack but lifting our standard so that we can compete on the world stage.

  38. The first half of the WPL match was of a better standard than the second half to be fair.

  39. The first game was not a wpl match but a wolf match.

  40. No Kendall Tull you are correct! Notice i said after the opening double header good contest not high level football! To be fair the men proleague is also under standard so i feel we could cut the girls some slack!!

  41. I stopped by last night before and after training. I caught the last 10 – 15 minutes of the first game and found it painful to watch. I thought the standard of play was really poor for a supposed professional league.

    I watched a bit of the second half of the second game and it was a much better affair than the first. It still wasn’t up to any kind of serious professional standard in my opinion. When I read the article, I have to wonder if the game as a whole was so different than the parts that I saw.

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