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Molino spares T&T blushes; Soca Warriors claw back to hold Grenada 2-2

The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team began life after the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign in unconvincing fashion at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva tonight as they were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw with Grenada.

It might easily have been worse too, as the “Spice Islanders” were leading 2-0 when fourth official Cecile Hinds signalled four minutes of stoppage time. Somehow, the Soca Warriors engineered a late recovery with substitute Jamille Boatswain and stand-in captain Kevin Molino grabbing the vital goals.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) tries to escape from Grenada full-back Ethan Francois-Ravalier during international friendly action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 11 November 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

It was some climbdown for the Warriors who stunned the United States and CONCACAF on their last outing here—on 10 October—with a 2-1 win that eliminated the North Americans for the first time in three decades.

Grenada are ranked 165th in the world and, last month, they were crushed 5-0 by a Panama ‘B’ team consisting mainly of home-based players. Tonight, they almost missed the fixture altogether as the starting time of the game had to be deferred to accommodate the delay in the arrival of their flight—reportedly as a result of an industrial relations issue at LIAT.

The Grenada squad essentially headed straight from Piarco to the Ato Boldon Stadium with barely 30 minutes to shake off the effects of an entire day spent at the airport. Yet, it was the visitors who struck first tonight.

Grenada forward Kairo Mitchell won space in the opposing penalty area and his crisp drive was fended away by Trinidad and Tobago custodian Adrian Foncette but straight into the path of midfielder Shandon Baptiste, who opened the scoring.

The 20-year-old Mitchell, who led the line admirably, is a former Leicester City youth player—although he is unattached now—while Baptiste, 19, plays in England for third-tier team Oxford FC.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Akeem Roach (centre) tries to hold off Grenada midfielder Shandon Baptiste (second from left) during international friendly action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 11 November 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

It got worse for the Warriors in the 71st minute as Ricky Modeste, a semi-professional player in England with Billericay FC, doubled Grenada’s advantage with a flicked finish off a Baptiste corner.

By then, another familiar face, Trinidad-born San Juan Jabloteh utility player Kennedy Hinkson, had been substituted after playing 67 minutes in central midfield.

It might be an understatement to say that Grenada coach Ashley Folkes spread his net far and wide in selecting his 18-man squad, which was a combination of lower league professionals, semi-pros and a few university students.

The Warriors bossed ball possession for much of the night without creating too many problems for Grenada and W Connection goalkeeper Jason Belfon. And Netherlands top-flight winger Levi Garcia faded badly after an encouraging opening half-hour.

“Allyuh see why the stadium empty?!” a frustrated fan shouted, at nobody in particular. “Allyuh see why?!”

There were about 2,000 patrons in attendance although at least a quarter of those had come to support the Spice Men.

Photo: Grenada midfielder Kennedy Hinkson (right) tries to evade a challenge from Trinidad and Tobago winger Kathon St Hillaire (left) while Jared London looks on during international friendly action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 11 November 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Both coaches had turned to their bench by then and Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence got more joy from his changes.

Central defender Curtis Gonzales won possession near the centre circle and immediately played it into the channel for Boatswain, his former Defence Force colleague, to chase. Boatswain’s finish was wonderful, as he allowed the ball to run before arrowing an angled effort—first time—into the far corner.

The clock showed 88 minutes.

The local fans roared their approval—a retort aimed at the increasingly feisty Grenadian contingent in the covered stands. And, two minutes into stoppage time, Molino gained parity for the hosts as he controlled another perceptive long pass from Gonzales before burying past Belfon for the equaliser.

Grenada players slumped to the ground in disappointment at the final whistle and some buried their heads in their jerseys.

Lawrence promised to make Trinidad and Tobago champions of the Caribbean again; on this evidence, they certainly aren’t taking the shortcut.

(Teams)

Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 22.Adrian Foncette (GK); 17.Alvin Jones (20.Jamille Boatswain 77), 13.Curtis Gonzales, 18.Triston Hodge, 3.Kevon Villaroel; 19.Kevan George, 26.Jared London (7.Nathan Lewis 71); 12.Kathon St Hillaire, 10.Kevin Molino (captain), 16.Levi Garcia; 9.Akeem Roach (15.Ricardo John 84).

Unused substitutes: 1.Marvin Phillip (GK), 21.Glenroy Samuel (GK); 2.Aubrey David, 6.Josiah Trimmingham, 8.Neveal Hackshaw, 11.Neil Benjamin, 14.Hashim Arcia, 23.Nathaniel Garcia.

Coach: Dennis Lawrence

Grenada (4-4-2): 1.Jason Belfon (GK); 18.Ethan Francois-Ravalier, 16.Alec Andall, 15.Irvin Smith, 4.Leaon St John; 17.Alexander McQueen (19.Kwazim Theodore 63), 3.Kennedy Hinkson (7.Rickson Phillip 67), 6.Shandon Baptiste, 20.Ricky Modeste (13.Rickey Sayers 82); 11.Kairo Mitchell (10.Saydrel Lewis 76), 21.Shavon John-Brown (9.Marcio McQueen 90+1).

Unused substitutes: 22.Shemel Louison (GK), 5.Kemron Marshall, 8.Chad Mark, 14.Tahj Joseph.

Coach: Ashley Folkes

Referee: Daneon Parchment (Jamaica)

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Jamille Boatswain (right) chases the ball during international friendly action against Grenada at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 11 November 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

International friendly result

(Saturday 11 November)

Trinidad and Tobago 2 (Jamille Boatswain 88, Kevin Molino 90+2), Grenada 2 (Shandon Baptiste 48, Ricky Modeste 71) at Ato Boldon Stadium;

Upcoming fixture

(Tuesday 14 November)

Trinidad and Tobago vs Guyana, 7.30pm, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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85 comments

  1. Watched the game live…. passing and ball control was poor….lacked movement and ideas…..

  2. 2-2 against Grenada? Give me a break.

  3. Time enough T&T take time off from football. Enough of ball boy. Dunce footballers. All muscles no Brain. Waste of time
    Put on a jacket and tie and feel you are a coach.

  4. You beat USA but can’t beat Grenada , this coach and team so inconsistent

  5. A draw with Grenada, sounds like progress.

  6. The crowd was disappointed as expected soca warriors performance was lack luster Grenada gave us a real run took their chances like we were afraid to take shots on goal Grenada have some speedy skilfull players they silenced the small crowd we had some few and in between good build ups it took 4 mins extra time from where i dont know for us to get a draw it reminded me of Firgie at Manu playing at home when down 4/5 mins extra time will be found to allow them to score to win or draw game we started to play when they finally realised omg Grenada beating we players on field were given ample time to show their worth we took to long to bring on subs namely Boatswain who scored soon after he came on but we got the draw so dominating the caribbean as the coach said will not be so easy i there Tuesday

  7. Imagine Costa Rica got destroyed by Spain. Could have easily finished 8 or 9-0

  8. I personally think it’s time to give Terry Fenwick a go with our senior team.

  9. When spice hold dem down ,wah ah go do but but jus drink plenty.

  10. Lasana Liburd, Bateau wasn’t in the squad?

  11. Tell me where and how 4 mins stoppage time was added ? Laughable…

  12. In the picture accompanying this article, the lil fella in green, is he a Guyanese Buck?

  13. No surprise,no matter what sport,it is always dependent on individual talent which is lacking,Molino and Joevin Jones are the exception

    • successful organizations succeed on sound leadership and management. If we had those we would develop and have the talent. Innate talent alone won’t do it

    • Agree,but Brian the same philosophy can apply to sport in a limited way,look at football and you will see that games are won through individual effort,hence the reason for Messi,Maradona,Pele and you can go on.You are too young to have seen Gally ,De Leon,Berassa,I can call one hundred players from Trinidad,even the strike squad,we gave Mexico 3

    • Llewellyn Lopez in My comments I am speaking of sport. It is what I’ve been saying for several years – “we need a proper corporate structure around football”.

    • Agree,Brian I have looked at cricket and football and I am not seeing the talent.In cricket there is a guy from Santa Cruz,Tion Webster look at him or even Evin Lewis.I told Saucy about him about three years ago,that is talent

    • Llewellyn Lopez a proper structure will ensure that the innate talent is developed. The world has changed. Other countries have developed organizations using modern management practices that get the best out of their latent talent pools but we haven’t. Developing talent in sport is no different to developing talent elsewhere.

  14. I would like to know what criteria was used to draft Ricardo John into the side. Was it his physical stature? Ah mean, he didn’t have a good season, so ah just wondering. Don’t get me wrong, I have always expected to see him in national colors at some point, but not based on his performances this year.

  15. Smh…warriors the most diehard of fans can’t be encouraged by these types of results. We have to be on the ascendency and look at improving against outside opposition. Not good at all…

  16. Lucky ting dem Grenadian throw way some goal, and it had injury time

  17. Lasana, how allyuh making Hinkson look like ah douen in dat picture?

  18. I am surprised that people still surprised at this shit.

  19. I cant understand Dennis plan nor process. I like that he has Hillare and Levi as they are part of the future, however he is calling and playing players that will be 32 and 33 or older in 2022 to play Grenada and Guyana. Why not mix more youth with older players that have a depth of experience at the international level. Instead he brings youth with less experienced players that will age out of the 2022 pool. Strange

  20. Rebuilding or not we can’t be struggling against Grenada. Let’s have some standards please

  21. We are rebuilding ,so it will take time ,but I have faith that we will rise again, but well done on the warriors getting a draw

  22. But didn’t London play before tonight in that position?

  23. I now see why Dennis Lawrence wants the Soca Warriors to conquer Caribbean teams first. He is ahead of his time.

  24. What baffled me and most of the crowd around me was why DL waited SOOOOOOOO long to make changes in a friendly???
    I personally want to know what is his love affair with playing Jared London as a Def Mid…HOW MANY times does he have to do it to realize IT AINT WORKING??? The man is a decent play-maker but has NO clue about the defensive side of the game…DL is doing the man a disservice playing him out of position…also Hodge was horrible!!! How HE played the entire 90 but Alvin Jones got yanked is a mystery…Ditto for Akeem Roach…he could have been taken off at the 1/2 not with 10 mins to go…I like what I saw of St. Hillaire…he played within himself for the first 45 but in the 2nd half he looked a decent winger with great potential before he was dropped into right-back.

  25. Lasana yuh say the man taking the long route yuh good!