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Nathan and Roach strike but Grenada hold T&T 2-2 to maintain remarkable run against Warriors

Nathan Lewis and Akeem Roach came off the substitutes’ bench to score their maiden international goals for the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team tonight but it was only enough to secure a 2-2 draw against Grenada at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium in St George’s.

Remarkably, the result stretched Grenada’s unbeaten run against Trinidad and Tobago to four games and eight years. The “Spice Boys” drew 2-2 with the Soca Warriors in another friendly international on 19 January 2016 while Grenada won both of their last two competitive meetings with T&T in the 2008 and 2010 Caribbean Cup tournaments respectively.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Akeem Roach (centre) tries to find a route to goal during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 4 January 2017. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Akeem Roach (centre) tries to find a route to goal during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 4 January 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

It is a statistic that is all the more mind-boggling since Grenada are currently ranked 176th out of the 211 nations recognised by FIFA and have not played a single match since 7 June 2016 when they were crushed 5-1 away to Antigua and Barbuda.

“In the first half Grenada were very well organised in their defensive shape and we moved the ball far too slow, also giving the ball away in crucial areas of the pitch where Grenada should have capitalised,” Trinidad and Tobago coach Dennis Lawrence told the TTFA Media. “In the second half, we tried to move the ball quicker and more positive where we were creating problems in wide areas and managed to get total control, keeping Grenada playing on the counter attack which we dealt with for most of the second half.

“But once we took the lead, we did not manage the game after and we made an error yet again allowing Grenada to score the equaliser.”

The Warriors were not at full strength and Lawrence had just three players—Carlos Edwards, Curtis Gonzales and Jamille Boatswain—who featured in last month’s World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Mexico.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Carlos Edwards (left) takes on Sweden midfielder Anders Svensson during the Germany 2006 World Cup group B opener on 10 June 2006 at Dortmund stadium. (Copyright AFP 2016/Odd Andersen)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Carlos Edwards (left) takes on Sweden midfielder Anders Svensson during the Germany 2006 World Cup group B opener on 10 June 2006 at Dortmund stadium.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Odd Andersen)

But it was not exactly a raw squad either with attacker Jerrel Britto, who plays professionally in Honduras, the only debutant while eight of Lawrence’s starting team have previous CONCACAF or FIFA World Cup experience.

At the end of the first half, Grenada, despite not seeing much of the ball, led 1-0 through a Denron Frederick item and they had struck the bar twice.

God knows what was going through the mind of Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, who started in all four of his country’s last clashes with Grenada and has gone far too long without being able to celebrate the final whistle.

Lawrence turned to his bench and the speedy Lewis, who replaced Britto, was on the field for less than five minutes when he got on the end of a pass from Mexico-based midfielder Jomal Williams to equalise.

Perhaps Grenada’s own substitution was just as relevant. Coach Anthony Modeste had just swapped goalkeeper Jason Belfon with Shemel Louison, who was Lewis’ teammate at San Juan Jabloteh last season.

Having already exchanged striker Shahdon Winchester for Jamille Boatswain at the interval, Lawrence introduced another pacy frontman as Akeem Roach came on for Williams. And, again, the change was effective as Roach put Trinidad and Tobago ahead late in the 80th minute, off an assist from another substitute, Alvin Jones.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Akeem Roach (centre) tries to find a route to goal during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 4 January 2017. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Akeem Roach (centre) tries to find a route to goal during 2017 Gold Cup playoff action at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 4 January 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

But, once more, the Warriors could not manage a win as Grenada conjured a 89th minute equaliser from Saydrel Lewis to maintain their impressive run against the two-island republic.

Lawrence, who was playing away from home for the first time as head coach, did not have 14 players from the squad that faced Panama and Mexico and there are likely to be sweeping changes before he travels to face the United States and Costa Rica in early June.

But it was another reminder that the Warriors are no longer the force which once routinely swept through the Caribbean for a record eight regional titles.

Lawrence was still a player when the Trinidad and Tobago team lifted their last Caribbean Cup trophy; that was 16 years ago.

The Warriors’ next confirmed fixture is away to the United States on 8 June and Lawrence is concerned about the lack of competitive football for his players in the interim. As such, he declared yesterday’s exhibition as a useful outing.

“All in all it was a very good exercise as the main focus is to get enough competitive football before the qualifier against the US on June 8th,” said Lawrence. “There is not much competitive football for most of the boys until the [Pro] League starts on May 26th and we have to close the gap before we head into the two qualifiers, which would require having to get as much football for them before that period.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Dennis Lawrence (centre) makes a point to his players during World Cup qualifying action against Panama at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 24 March 2017. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coach Dennis Lawrence (centre) makes a point to his players during World Cup qualifying action against Panama at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 24 March 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

(Team)

Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK); 2.Carlos Edwards, 5.Curtis Gonzales, 4.Yohance Marshall, 3.Triston Hodge (16.Alvin Jones 80); 6.Jared London, 8.Leston Paul; 11.Jerrel Britto (15.Nathan Lewis 64), 10.Hashim Arcia (20.Keron Cummings), 7.Jomal Williams (18.Akeem Roach 77); 9.Shahdon Winchester (19.Jamille Boatswain 46).

Unused substitutes: 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK), 12.Seon Power, 13.Hughton Hector.

Coach: Dennis Lawrence.

 

International friendly

( 29 April 2017)

Grenada 2 (Denron Frederick 40, Saydrel Lewis 89), Trinidad and Tobago 2 (Nathan Lewis 66, Akeem Roach 80) at Kirani James Stadium, St George’s.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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43 comments

  1. At this point I don’t even care which teams …. no to discredit Grenada but you can’t even keep posession or structure against an out of practice regional team …. ? Time to call out players who hiding behind “is the coach fault” ….step up …it’s embarrassing

  2. Yeah like Venezuela and another Central / South American teams the real football countries. Them really good yes

  3. Hoping to hear an announcement soon on the next practice match(es).. Among other things, this game proves we need to work to improve quality team depth and another one or two practice matches against decent opponents wouldn’t hurt..

  4. Steeuuuppsss And as I have been saying unless there is a real professional league in our sweet country and my players getting the real professional monies and our football returns in our communities where it rightfully belongs the level of the football will continue to go backwards instead of forward eh. Them really good yes

  5. Watched the highlights and I was thinking I wasn’t impressed with the midfield or defensive players ..it was amateurish. But my main point was that people are always on about they don’t give locals a chance and all that and then pointing fingers at the coach like he is obligated to play your local player because he did ok on the weekend vs jabloteh. Based on opportunities like this alot of players people were harping on ….did NOTHING. Just be honest enough to understand that if you’re playing “shit” for whatever reason no one is obligated to put you in the team and the guys with more experience are gonna get the nod. Always trying to point fingers without looking at yourself. .. STEP UP up or SHUT THE HELL UP …. if you’re out of league you can train on your own and get yourself in good physical shape. We whine so much …I mean really …shoot!!

  6. Yuh move slow dey eh Lasana =D

  7. Let’s be real at this point ….we need games ….they’re all important

  8. Hmmm were there surprises here? ” Grenada well organised…..we moved the ball too slow ”
    Did we allow the ball to be moved too slow for the entire 45 minutes?
    Was this our plan seeing that we using the game as part of our training regime .?

  9. Don’t prefer. Just making a statement that those words of analysis are probably consistent after most T&T games.

  10. This is not a good result for the warriors full strength or not. It shows again that our defense is not strong.
    A world cup team must have a very strong defense to withstand any offensive attack.

  11. Was just wondering why you preferred one over the other. I actually prefer to read comments as I find the audio clips very long winded most times and I have to psyche myself up to endure the rambling.

  12. No. The comments were sent in print by the TTFA Media. When there is an audio clip, I put print and audio versions.

  13. No speaking generally. I assume you heard post game interview and transcribed?

  14. This collection of coach statements probably could be recorded and played as a synopsis after most games..

  15. So… I thought this was a “waste a time” prep match?!

  16. We are also not at full strength in the coaching department …

  17. WHAT!!!!…..Grenada hasn’t been preparing for any major tournaments and our Soca Worries allowed them to score first and if it wasn’t for the substitutes , we wudda surely lost the game, fire the Coach eh. Them really good yes. hahahaha

  18. These players like you and I know they don’t even have a half chance regardless to how they perform against Grenada

  19. No in fact a Grenadian told me their team only trained together over the last week.

    • Smh. Not helping Brian. Hahaha

    • I know lol…After seeing it first hand I needed to vent… I can only guess DL wanted to give some fellas enough playing time… Nathan Lewis for Britto on the wing was a no-brainer…The result was instantaneous… Although again my Grenadian source told me that their team seldom plays two good halves and he predicted T&T would come back into the game in the 2nd half.

    • Who looked ready to face the US and Costa Rica Brian? Or at least be considered for those games?

    • To be honest… Not many… Certainly none if the newcomers for the positions they played and even the others… Boatswain looked rusty Cummings still hasn’t got back to anywhere near his best Carlos has the experience but no longer the legs DEFINITELY him off to bench for stability…Possibly Leston Paul…Very composed on the ball…Nathan Lewis too is an excellent prospect but still raw…Ditto Roach…Jomal Williams is a bundle of energy and was a real work-horse tonight so certainly him…But that’s about it IMHO.

    • There have been no surprises. Cummings had a poor season and didn’t deserve to be there on form. Dennis has been persisting with him and he has talent of course. But I feel he should be left to find himself perhaps.
      Seems like Curtis Gonzales is the only surprise pick who has worked so far.

    • True although against the US & CR AWAY I would feel much better with Bateau as one of our Central defenders…Unless we go to 3 at the back with Williams & David as wingbacks

  20. Warriors were not at full strength?

  21. Cheney Joseph, you don’t think you all have had enough fun at our expense now? Lol