Vincy Heat ends bidding on high note
January 21, 2005
Vincy Heat ends bidding on high note

St. Vincent and the Grenadines bowed out of the inaugural Digicel Caribbean Football Cup, despite beating Trinidad and Tobago 1 – 0, last Sunday at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

It was sweet revenge for the Vincentians who had suffered three agonizing defeats from their counterparts, in the space of five months. {{more}}

First it was 0 – 2, in the World Cup qualifiers here last August 18, then 1 – 2 in the return leg in the twin island republic November 17. The most recent defeat was 1 – 3 in Trinidad, January 9.

In all three outings, ‘Vincy Heat’ outplayed and outclassed their big money spending opponents, only to lose in the end.

However, Sunday’s match was totally different.

The home team first had to overcome the uncertainty of the venue of the match, as well as the added pressure from their fans, for their inability to clinically get the better teams.

Both teams, though, had to contend with a smaller sized field at the venue, after a deal was brokered between the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) and the National Sports Council (NSC), on the intervention of Kittian Match Commissioner Peter Jenkins, to have the match played there.

The NSC had ruled out the use of the field, which is currently under repairs to facilitate the hosting matches in the regional Carib Cup cricket competition.

Putting the events of the week behind them, the Vincentians immediately stamped their authority on their more illustrious opponents.

But it was the Trinidadians who had the first opportunity to take the lead, when striker Cornel Glynn’s shot hit the cross bar. He also hit a feeble shot in the 32nd minute, after the Vincentians defence was breached.

Undaunted by these attacks, the home team got into their own. Excellent reflexive action by goalkeeper Duarance Williams, denied Alwyn Guy after his shot deflected off a Trinidadian defender in the 30th minute.

Defender Wesley Charles, in the 35th minute, hit a left foot sitter over the bar with Williams well out of position.

Once again the Vincentians made a hash of some good goal scoring opportunities.

Needing to win by three clear goals to advance to the finals, St. Vincent and the Grenadines began the second half more purposefully, and marshaled in midfield by Cornelius Huggins, the Trinidadians were back peddling.

Zoran Vranes inserted debutante Andrew Douglas in the 57th minute in place of Darren Francis. This move proved decisive as Douglas showed little nerves and quickly got into his act, teaming up well with the other players.

An incisive pass from Kendall Velox to Renson Haynes drew a foul from defender Atiba Charles in the 65th minute.

Burton Forde slotted the ball past Williams from the penalty spot.

This gave the home team a lifeline to score another goal and send the match into extra time.

SVG, though, wasted two chances in the 83rd and 85th minutes. Kenlyn Gonsalves shot hit the cross bar with Williams well beaten, then Haynes allowed the ball to pass through his legs from a well measured cross from Douglas. Gonsalves had replaced Jamal Ballantyne in the 75th minute.

In the interim the Trinidadians were just chasing shadows and resorted to long aimless kicking as they anxiously waited the Jamaican referee Raymond Pine’s final whistle.

Unlike previous occasions the Vincentians ended strongly, but their efforts to get to the February 20 – 24 final, in Barbados were insufficient,as Trinidad ant Tobago won the tie 3-2.

It was the first time since 1979 that this country had beaten the Trinidadians in a full international.

The famed 1979 team beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 in the CFU final in Suriname.

Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Cuba and host Barbados will battle for the three places up for grabs to the July showpiece called the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the U.S.A.

Jamaica stripped French Guiana 5-0 on aggregate, while Cuba eked out a 2-1 aggregate win in extra time at the expense of Haiti.

Vincy Heat starting XI. Melvin Andrews (goal-keeper); Ezra Hendrickson, Wesley Charles, Burton Forde, Benford Joseph (defenders); Cornelius Huggins, Darren Francis, Jamal Ballantyne, Alwyn Guy (midfielders); Renson Haynes, Kendall Velox strikers).