The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team shrugged aside a six-goal target tonight to advance to the final Caribbean Football Union (CFU) qualifying round, putting an emphatic 13-0 pummelling on Grenada at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
The result never looked in doubt as, by halftime, the Women Soca Warriors already led 6-0 and received a standing ovation en route to the dressing-room.
By the final whistle, 17-year-old attacker Aaliyah Prince had notched a hattrick while Mariah Shade, Janine Francois, Jonelle Cato and Tasha St Louis had notched doubles, Kedie Johnson and Jenelle Cunningham chipping in with a goal apiece for the hosts.
The avalanche of goals meant curtains for St Kitts and Nevis, who were eliminated despite not losing a match. The “Sugar Girls,” who led Trinidad and Tobago until the 77th minute on Friday before conceding a late equaliser to St Louis, whipped the United States Virgin Islands 7-0 in the opening match of today’s double-header. But that proved to be not nearly enough.
The Caribbean competition has already seen one major power fall by the wayside as Haiti were eliminated at home by Jamaica—also by goal difference and without losing a match.
At one stage, the Women Warriors appeared to have made things difficult for themselves but in the end they were comfortably through.
Coach Jamaal Shabazz made three changes to his starting line-up today with Prince, Johnson and Naomie Guerra drafted in to replace Patrice Superville, Shanelle Arjoon and Karyn Forbes respectively. And all three played their part in the lop-sided effort.
Guerra lacks Forbes’ passing range and crack shooting ability but, in the Warriors’ fourth match in eight days, her energy and unfussy execution of her midfield chores helped give the host nation the necessary lift when they needed it.
But the kudos belonged to the attacking talents tonight.
Johnson opened the scoring with a brilliant, angled drive into the far corner from the edge of the penalty area and Trinidad and Tobago never looked back.
Defender Jenelle Cunningham bundled home her third goal of the tournament in the 14th minute after a St Louis free kick while Shade widened the advantage with a neat left-footed strike after a Francois through ball in the 33rd minute.
The floodgates really opened in the 43rd minute, though, as St Louis, Prince and Cato all scored in the final three minutes of the half.
As the players headed towards their dressing-room for the interval with the necessary six goals already in the bag, close to 2,000 supporters stood up to applaud and sing along to Maximus Dan’s “Fighter.”
The Women Warriors returned the favour with seven more goals in the second half including two more from young Prince, who has graduated from Under-17 to Under-20 to senior football in the space of eight months. It was Prince’s second hattrick at senior level—and both came against Grenada.
Next stop is the CAC Games in Colombia in July before Trinidad and Tobago return to the World Cup qualifying series in August against the likes of Cuba and Jamaica.
Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Saundra Baron (GK); 4.Rhea Belgrave, 2.Ayana Russell, 5.Jenelle Cunningham (17.Shaunalee Govia 68), 7.Jonelle Cato (13.Andrea Young 71); 11.Janine Francois, 18.Naomie Guerra; 19.Aaliyah Prince, 10.Tasha St Louis, 16.Kedie Johnson (6.Natasha St Louis 62); 9.Mariah Shade.
Unused substitutes: 20.Nicolette Craig (GK), 3.Anastasia Prescott, 8.Patrice Superville, 12.Shanelle Arjoon, 14.Karyn Forbes, 15.Taylor Mims.
Coach: Jamaal Shabazz
Grenada (5-3-2): 1.Connie John (captain) (GK); 16.Carena Noel, 3.Treasher Valcin (12.Samantha McSween 46), 20.Grace John, 5.Nikita Paul (17.Keldonna Jeffery 70), 14.Shanthan Charles; 6.Erin Sylvester, 15.Merissa Charles (4.Kristal Julien 46), 8.Maya Hadeed; 7.Monique George, 9.Ruth Lewis.
Unused substitutes: 2.Reshada Charles (GK), 10.Malia Ramdhanny, 11.Amber Dominique, 13.Shaniah Johnson, 18.Shikkira Charles, 19.Diamond Lewis.
Coach: Andrew Munro
Referee: Astrid Gramajo (Guatemala)
2019 World Cup qualifiers Group C
(Saturday 19 May)
St Kitts and Nevis 2 (Brittney Lawrence 8, 11), Dominica 1 (Romelcia Phillip 10) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Trinidad and Tobago 10 (Patrice Superville 16, Mariah Shade 36, 40, 81, 89, Karyn Forbes 37, Tasha St Louis 39, Jenelle Cunningham 43, Kedie Johnson 60, Katelyn Wiater OG 73), USVI 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;
(Monday 21 May)
USVI 3 (Maya Wright 74, Bianca Canizio 89, Tamika Aguilar 90+2), Grenada 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Trinidad and Tobago 3 (Jenelle Cunningham 5, Rhea Belgrave 36, Karyn Forbes 54), Dominica 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Wednesday 23 May)
St Kitts and Nevis 10 (Cloey Uddenberg 6, 19, 71, Phoenetia Browne 9, 52, Brittney Lawrence 40, 73, 85, Iyania Bailey-Williams 86, Leranja Wilkinson 89), Grenada 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;
USVI 0, Dominica 3 (Keanna Francis 23, Romelcia Phillip 49, 88) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
(Friday 25 May)
Grenada 1 (Monique George 64), Dominica 1 (Romelcia Phillip 29) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Trinidad and Tobago 1 (Tasha St Louis 79), St Kitts and Nevis 1 (Phoenetia Browne 2 pen) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
(Sunday 27 May)
St Kitts and Nevis 7 (Phoenetia Browne 27, 38, 52, Arielle Fernandez 46, Lavern Francis 55, Caroline Springer 70, Cloey Uddenberg 83), USVI 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Trinidad and Tobago 13 (Kedie Johnson 10, Jenelle Cunningham 14, Mariah Shade 33, 81, Tasha St Louis 42, 91, Aaliyah Prince 43, 87, 89, Jonelle Cato 45, 53, Janine Francois 51, 78), Grenada 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium.
6—Phoenetia Browne [1 pen] (St Kitts and Nevis), Mariah Shade (Trinidad and Tobago),
5—Brittney Lawrence (St Kitts and Nevis),
4—Romelcia Phillip (Dominica), Cloey Uddenberg (St Kitts and Nevis), Tasha St Louis (Trinidad and Tobago),
3—Jenelle Cunningham, Aaliyah Prince (Trinidad and Tobago),
2—Kedie Johnson, Karyn Forbes, Jonelle Cato, Janine Francois (Trinidad and Tobago),
1—Keanna Francis (Dominica), Monique George (Grenada), Arielle Fernandez, Lavern Francis, Caroline Springer, Iyania Bailey-Williams, Leranja Wilkinson (St Kitts and Nevis), Patrice Superville, Rhea Belgrave (Trinidad and Tobago), Maya Wright, Bianca Canizio, Tamika Aguilar (USVI),