Hackshaw strikes again and Levi shines as Trinidad and Tobago cool Vincy Heat 2-0 in Arnos Vale

EPL Infrafred Sauna

Former Arima North Secondary schoolboy Neveal Hackshaw waited for five years and 26 appearances since his international debut for his goal for Trinidad and Tobago—now he has two goals in five days.

The burly midfielder got the opening goal for the Soca Warriors today away to St Vincent and the Grenadines, as he did on Monday against The Bahamas in Port of Spain. Today, though, Levi Garcia added a second; and it ensured a fairly comfortable road trip for the boys in red, black and white gear in the 2022/23 Concacaf Nations League.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players celebrate Neveal Hackshaw’s first senior international goal during CNL action in Port of Spain on 6 June 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago host the ‘Vincy Heat’ on Monday from 7pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and a second successive win would close the Warriors’ competitive schedule for 2022 with the two island republic still well placed to top their group and win promotion back to Concacaf’s top tier, League A.

Nicaragua downed The Bahamas 2-0 this evening and host the regional minnows on Monday. Should the Central American team win both, they will retain a one point advantage over T&T.

However, the Warriors are surely capable of defeating Nicaragua in Port of Spain and, once they win away to the Bahamas three days earlier on 24 March 2023, it would be enough for head coach Angus Eve to achieve his immediate goal with the team.

After a patchy opening two CNL outings, Eve arguably had his most important win today since Trinidad and Tobago edged French Guiana on kicks from the penalty mark in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup playoffs.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Angus Eve gestures from the sidelines during a CNL clash with the Bahamas at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 6 June 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

The Warriors’ joy was aided in no small part by the St Vincent and the Grenadines outfit’s belief that, despite being without star attacker Oalex Anderson, they could go toe-to-toe with their southern visitors.

On Monday, Anderson created one and scored the other for Vincy Heat as they held Nicaragua 2-2. But without his quality, the host team offered little beyond flying tackles, flailing arms and oceans of space for red shirts to run into.

Trinidad and Tobago had their first corner kick after just 30 seconds while, by the sixth minute, both star forward Levi Garcia and versatile midfielder Noah Powder had decent scoring opportunities.

SVG, using a 4-3-3 formation, were not shy to commit players forward and always looked like being the perfect victims for Eve—who thrives on catching opponents out in transition.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Levi Garcia (far right) tries to break clear of Guyana defender Quincy Adams (second from right) during an exhibition match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 29 March 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Ironically, St Vincent should have had enough numbers in defence to deal with Hackshaw’s opener. Hackshaw stole possession in opposition territory, lofted a ball into Garcia and, in an indication of his newfound offensive ambition, ran beyond his forward for the return pass.

Garcia’s lobbed return was perfectly placed—although Vincentian defender Jahvin Sutherland would not be proud of his attempt to cut out the pass—and Hackshaw finished with composure.

About 16 months ago, a photograph from an awkward angle made Hackshaw look like he had enjoyed one buffet too much and he was a figure of fun for a few weeks.

Nobody is laughing now though—least of all the nations of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Bahamas.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Neveal Hackshaw (centre) celebrates his maiden senior international goal against the Bahamas in CNL action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 6 June 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Earlier this week, Trinidad and Tobago failed to build on an early Hackshaw breakthrough. But, nine minutes later, Garcia went from provider to finisher to double the visitors’ advantage.

Right back Shannon Gomez—one of four changes in Eve’s starting team alongside Sheldon Bateau, Leston Paul, Reon Moore and John-Paul Rochford—sent a measured cross into the opposing area and Garcia gave further evidence of his new-found leaping skills with a precise header into the far corner.

(Notably, St Vincent and the Grenadines made six changes from the starting team that drew 2-2 with Nicaragua.)

Garcia scored a double off the substitutes bench on his last trip to Arnos Vale, in a 3-2 World Cup qualifying win for the Warriors in 2016. He now had a goal and an assist with just 25 minutes.

Incidentally, Gomez, Hackshaw and Garcia were all teammates when Trinidad and Tobago won the 2014 Caribbean Under-20 Championship, which remains the last men’s football trophy secured by the twin island republic.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 captain Shannon Gomez (centre) takes the 2014 Caribbean Cup trophy from CFU president Gordon Derrick.
T&T defeated Haiti 3-0 in the Caribbean Cup final.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)

Aged between 24 and 26, that trio ought to represent the new brigade which should carry the Warriors forward—as the crop that played in the 2007 and 2009 World Youth Cups head into their last two to four years of national service.

Another youngster, John-Paul Rochford, nearly added a third with a 25-yard free kick that fizzed and curled but rebounded off an upright. 

The 22-year-old Rochford had an even better scoring opportunity seconds after the interval, after another defensive blunder from the hosts, but, unmarked, he could not keep his volley down.

Garcia was just wide with a glancing header off a Powder corner kick in the 57th minute, while Reon Moore, who put in a good shift down the left, smashed a left footed effort against the bar two minutes later.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Levi Garcia (second from right) completes his hattrick against Barbados with a header off a Noah Powder corner kick during international friendly action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 25 March 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

In a sign of how straightforward the assignment was, Eve withdrew Garcia with half hour still left to play—as Point Fortin favourite Marcus ‘Lobo’ Joseph got a rare chance to line-up in his preferred position.

Joseph showed intent, if not precision. But the job was already done and his teammates were already thinking about their return trip to Trinidad. It was not error-free but it was certainly well deserved.

The Home of Football, according to all testimony barring that from Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad and former TTFA president David John-Williams, is about as comfortable as spending the night on the couch by your cousin’s sister neighbour friend.

But surely the thought of facing St Vincent and the Grenadines again on a better playing surface in front of their own fans would be enough to cheer up Eve’s troops.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Trevin Caesar (right) takes the ball around St Vincent and the Grenadines goalkeeper Lemus Christopher during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 29 March 2016.
Trinidad and Tobago won 6-0.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/ CA-images/ Wired868)

The Vincy Heat lost 6-0 on their last trip to Port of Spain while they conceded 18 goals from their last four games here.

Unless St Vincent and the Grenadines coach Kendale Mercury checks his ego at the Piarco International Airport and brings a more conservative approach to the Hasely Crawford Stadium, a la the Bahamas, spectators should walk with their calculators.


Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 1.Marvin Phillip (GK) (captain); 18.Shannon Gomez, 4.Sheldon Bateau, 2.Aubrey David, 19.Keston Julien; 23.Leston Paul (8.Kevon Goddard 51), 15.Neveal Hackshaw; 14.John-Paul Rochford (13.Judah Garcia 86), 7.Noah Powder (20.Molik Khan 86), 17.Reon Moore (5.Daniel Phillips 71); 11.Levi Garcia (9.Marcus Joseph 60).

Unused substitutes: 21.Denzil Smith (GK), 22.Jabari St Hillaire (GK), 3.Jameel Neptune, 6.Andre Ettienne, 10.Duane Muckette, 12.Kareem Moses, 16. Alvin Jones.

Head coach: Angus Eve

St Vincent and the Grenadines (4-1-2-3): 22.Lemus Christopher (GK); 4.Mekeal Williams (15.Kevin Francis 61), 5.Jahvin Sutherland, 18.Jamol Yorke (6.Kurtlon Williams 82), 3.Jazzi Barnum-Bobb; 8.Dorren Hamlet (14.Keshorn Durham 61); 7.Nazir McBurnette, 21.Brad Richards (20.Aaron Jackson 46); 9.Cornelius Stewart (captain), 11.Azinho Solomon, 12.Garret Leigertwood (19.Hosni Chandler 71).

Unused substitutes: 1.Josh Stowe (GK), 22.Jadiel Chance (GK), 2.Camal Bess, 13.Tristan Marshall, 16.Diel Spring.

Head coach: Kendale Mercury

Referee: Alex Chilowicz (USA)

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Neveal Hackshaw (right) in action against St Vincent and the Grenadines at the Arnos Vale Sport Complex on 10 June 2022.
(via TTFA Media)

Concacaf Nations League result

(1o June 2022)

St Vincent and the Grenadines 0, Trinidad and Tobago 2 (Neveal Hackshaw 17, Levi Garcia 25) at Arnos Vale;

The Bahamas 0, Nicaragua 2 (Jaime Moreno 40, Matias Moldskred 90+1) at Nassau.

More from Wired868
Dear Editor: Nothing personal, Coachman Eve; we just want to win games

“[…] Angus Eve, you signed up for this wuk. We critics aren’t here to wine up on you and like Read more

Najjar: Not so, Eve; possession is very important for success

Great and much needed results for Trinidad and Tobago after a scolding from previous captain and marquee player Kevin Molino, Read more

“Possession doesn’t win matches!” Eve explains philosophy as T&T lead Group A

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus Eve doubled down on his self-described pragmatic style of play, Read more

“Shiggy” stings El Salvador as Eve’s Warriors manage vital win on the road

Trinidad and Tobago are virtually assured of survival in Concacaf Nations League A and might even allow themselves loftier dreams, Read more

King: Warriors were outstanding against Curaçao! Eve skips press conference

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team head coach Angus Eve was a no-show last night, as he skipped post-match Read more

“Natty” to the rescue! T&T edge Curaçao in dramatic Nations League finish

Teenaged striker Nathaniel “Natty” James opened his senior international goal scoring account tonight as Trinidad and Tobago marked their return Read more

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief 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.

Check Also

Dear Editor: Nothing personal, Coachman Eve; we just want to win games

“[…] Angus Eve, you signed up for this wuk. We critics aren’t here to wine …

One comment

  1. Well done Warriors. You looked like an A team today. Hope you rain goals on Monday nite as goal difference may count in the end.
    Levi Garcia’s substitution was an excellent. Save his energy for Mondsy….Protect him from injury as the rains were coming. Giving Joseph a chance to blend in nicely
    Great match and looking foward to a large crowd of children and Adults on Monday nite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.