SVG Under-23 footballers looking to win
September 14, 2007

SVG Under-23 footballers looking to win

St.Vincent and the Grenadines Under-23 Football Team were to have had their sternest test last evening against Grenada here at the Victoria Park in what was virtually the final of Group E of the 2008 Olympic Qualifiers.{{more}}

Both teams went into the match tied on four points, having both defeated Dominica and drawn with St.Lucia.

The first of last evening’s double-header pitted St. Lucia against Dominica, with the St. Lucians, based on their previous two outings, easily taking care of their opponents.

With this being so, both Grenada and the home team would have wanted maximum points from an outright win to seal the deal and advance to the next phase of the competition.

Both teams went into Thursday’s match with the same goal differential of plus three, but with the Grenadians having netted six times.

The Vincentians, needing a cushion going into their final match against the much fancied Grenadians, did not help their cause on Tuesday night when they drew 0-0 with St. Lucia.

Squandering many chances, and with their midfield play at times lacking creativity, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which carried the Vincy Heat brand in the tournament, looked lukewarm. With an unchanged starting eleven in both matches, the home team were awakened by the St. Lucians with the realization that they too had much to bring to the party.

Some dazzling runs by midfielder Cornelius Stewart, sturdy defending by second half substitute Millon Prescott, and three fine saves by goal keeper Winslow Mc Dowald were the highlights of the Vincentians night in front of a fair sized crowd.

But for coach Roger Gurley, he thought that his charges should have come out victors by at least three goals, despite the under par performance in the middle of the park.

Similarly, though, Randy Poleon in the St. Lucia goal had to match Mc Dowald’s efforts.

“The work rate in the mid field was not what we expected, and some players are not living up to the standard we expect from them”, Gurley told SEARCHLIGHT last Tuesday night.

The speedy St. Lucia midfield tested the Vincentians, who at times were uninspiring.

This was a far different look from the team that came up against Dominica on opening night last Sunday.

From the get go, the local team were on the Dominicans, who seemed out classed in this age category.

It was not long before the large crowd that assembled at the park was on its feet. A surging run from the left side by Emerald George in the 12th minute found a waiting Norrell George on the back post to place the ball past Dominica’s custodian and captain, Glenson Prince. Dominica, though, were able to ward off the Vincentians for the rest of the half.

Then came the reign of striker Thaddeus Velox, who turned out to be the man of the night, scoring a hat trick.

With Emerald George the provider, Velox slid a right foot shot home in the 51st minute. This was the start of a four goal blitz, all happening in thirteen minutes of excitement. Johnathan Abel pulled one back for Dominica in the 55th minute to show they were in the contest.

Velox, the younger brother of the durable Kendall Velox, a former national player, then produced the goal of the night in the 58th minute. Again Emrald George was the provider, as he placed his right foot shot in the top right hand corner, after George had created some magic on the left side. A goal from the top drawer, and which the elder Velox savoured, as he took time out from club duties in Trinidad and Tobago to be home to see for the first time his sibling in a full international match.

Velox rounded off his hat trick with a carbon copy of his first, also with Emerald George making the assist.

Earlier on Sunday night, St. Lucia and Grenada played to an exciting 3-3 tie. St. Lucia’s goals came from Kerwin Augustin in the 23rd minute, Nyhime Gilbert in the 58th, and a 71st minute strike from Troy Prospere.

For the Grenadians, who enjoyed a 3-1 lead for much of the encounter, their goals came from Marcus Julien in the 25th minute, Nickson Baptiste in the 58th minute, and Shane Rennie in the 50th minute.

The Grenadians recorded their first win on Tuesday night when they beat Dominica 3-0. Their unanswered goals came in the 26th, 45th and 46th minutes.

The winner from this group, as well as the winner from the other four groups, will join Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas in the

second round in two- three team grouping next month. The top finishers in each triangular group will progress to the 2008 CONCACAF U-23 Final Round Tournament.(RT)