Digicel Caribbean Cup – Match 29: Trinidad & Tobago, 6 St. Vincent & the Grenadines, 2

If the first match was a slow tactical battle this was a complete contrast with an action packed first half, and 4 goals scored on both halves. Devon Jorsling completed a hat-trick with some devastating finishing and Kerry Baptiste came on as a second half substitute to score a brace as Trinidad & Tobago opened their Group F Digicel Caribbean Cup qualifying campaign on a winning note after scoring a 6-2 victory over St Vincent & the Grenadines at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.

However, the young Vincentians played tough and gave the hosts a real scare, as they twice battled back to end the first half 2-2 before the Soca Warriors managed to pull clear in the second period.

Vinceys feel the heat from the Soca Warriors

The Vincentians showed their intent from the first whistle and almost scored in the opening minute. Nineteen-year-old Soca Warriors left-back Joevin Jones gave away the ball and almost allowed St Vincent & the Grenadines the perfect start. The ball was swung into the six yard box where Trinidad & Tobago based San Juan Jabloteh striker Shandel Samuel hit the ball off the body of T&T goalie Jan Michael Williams who positioned himself well.

A minute later, Trinidad & Tobago were ahead at 1-0 through Jorsling, who found the right corner with a low left-footer from just outside the penalty area. It was an interception from the young right back who played a casual pass across the defense that gave the T&T striker the chance. Unfortunate for the defender but Jorsling did not have to be asked twice.

The teams were level at 1-1 in the 21st Minute when Shandel Samuel capitalised on a mix-up between keeper Jan Michael Williams and his keeper Kern Cupid. The keeper got caught in no man’s land and Samuel kept his composure to stroke the ball past him into the unguarded net.

The home support became restless during this stage of the match when a number of passes went astray from the Soca Warriors. However, Jorsling calmed the nerves when he restored Trinidad & Tobago’s lead at 2-1 in the 35th minute. He collected the ball just outside the penalty area from a stray shot, he showed great strength to hold off his marker and fired a low shot that fizzed past goalie Dwayne Sandy. But once again, SVG were level when an errant header from T&T central defender Julius James found Cornelius Stewart who had a two Vs two situation, he took the responsibility, developed a shooting angle and without hesitation drove the ball to the back of the net from about twenty yards out. The home support was again stunned to silence as the teams headed to the half-time break level at two goals each.

SVG coach Samuel Carrington would have been more pleased than his T&T counterpart Russell Latapy at the end of the first half. In the pre-match press conference on Monday Latapy had urged the T&T public to be patient with his strategy, and if ever there was a time this was required it was now.

For a ten minute spell in the 2nd half the Soca Warriors managed to blitz the Vincentians with three goals which settled this exciting tie. It started in the 57th minute, when with just his second touch since coming for Jamaal Gaye, striker Kerry Baptiste applied a delicate touch to a cross from right midfielder Lester Peltier to stir the ball past the Vincentian keeper, Dwayne Sandy. It would have been hard to imagine for the home supporters but St. Vincent again responded and came so close to another equalizer. From a corner kick they had an effort cleared off the line by the T&T defender guarding the near post. It could have been all very different had this gone in.

The 3-2 lead was further extended when T&T broke forward from that corner kick, when the ball found its way to Jorsling, he smashed a thunderous shot from outside the penalty area which went in off the underside of the crossbar, a spectacular 3rd for Jorsling and a great display of clinical finishing on the night. Baptiste then got a second in the 66th minute by netting the rebound after goalie Sandy could only parry a hot shot from a Houghton Hector free kick. And Hector rounded off the scoring himself by putting in a free-kick in the 90th minute.

While it appears a comfortable win for the Soca Warriors there were warning signs, they will need to tidy up some of their defensive play in order to ensure they qualify to Martinique for the Digicel Cup Finals. One would expect that they will have two slightly tougher contests on Thursday and Saturday.

Trinidad & Tobago: 1. Jan M. Williams 2. Clyde Leon 5. Kern Cupid 6. Daniel Cyrus 8. Trent Noel (64 Mins 7. Hughton Hector) 9. Devon Jorsling 13. Kendall Jagdeosingh 14. Jovin Jones 15. Lester Peltier (72 Mins 19. Keon Daniel) 16. Julius James 17. Jamal Gay (53 Mins 4. Kerry Baptiste) Coach: Russell Latapy

St. Vincent & the Grenadines: 1. Dwayne Sandy 4. Roy Richards 5. Oscar Nero 6. Wesley Charles 7. Cornelius Stewart 8. Dorren Hamlet (78 Mins 23. Paul Farrell) 9. Myron Samuel 10. Shandel Samuel (73 Mins 14. Windell Cuffy) 12. Seinard Bownes 13. Damol Francis (62 Mins 17. Joel George) 18. Reginal Richardson Coach: Samuel Carrington

Referee: Dave Peterkin; Jamaica
Assistant Referee 1 – Garnet Page; Jamaica
Assistant Referee 2 – Stephen Browne; Jamaica
Commissioner – Patrick Beckles; Barbados

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