Sunday 20 March 2016
Marcus Joseph scored in stoppage-time on Saturday night to earn Trinidad and Tobago a 2-2 draw in a friendly international with Grenada at the National Stadium in St. George's, Grenada.
The “Soca Warriors” have back-to-back upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers against St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Kingston on March 25 and in Port-of-Spain on March 29 but head coach Stephen Hart used Saturday's friendly to assess a number of home-based players with the view of widening his selection pool.
T&T went ahead on 25 minutes through 24-year-old forward Shahdon Winchester but his 20-year-old W Connection teammate Jamal Charles—one of six Grenada national team players in the Pro League—levelled the hosts before the break.
The “Spice Boys” then took a 2-1 lead four minutes into the second half against the run of play with a strike from local-based forward Jake Rennie.
“We completely dominated the first half in terms of ball possession, probably 80 to 20 percent in our favour,” Hart told the TTFA media after the game.
“We created a number of chances and the game should have been completed in the first half but wasteful finishing meant a different story.”
It was not until the 93rd minute that Central FC forward Marcus Joseph rescued T&T, ranked 49th on the FIFA rankings, to a 2-2 draw with 161st ranked Grenada.
Hart had four senior international debutants — Defence Force duo Jerwyn Balthazar and Jamali Garcia, W Connection's Triston Hodge and Police FC's Elijah Belgrave — in his starting line-up with Marvin Phillip in goal, Daneil Cyrus in defence, Sean De Silva, Jomal Williams , Hughtun Hector and Leston Paul across the middle and Shahdon Winchester up front.
Regular goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams was ruled out of the trip due to injury along with defender Radanfah Abu Bakr, while Belgium-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland, according to a TTFA release, was excused by Hart and did not travel to Grenada.
Police FC goalkeeper Adrian Foncette made his debut by replacing Phillip after the break. Also making their debuts in the second period were Police FC forward Makesi Lewis and Central FC defender Andre Ettienne and forward Nathaniel Garcia.
T&T squandered several goal-scoring chances, according to Hart in his post-game comments, with Winchester missing a one-on-one as well another glorious chance while Makesi Lewis, Jomal Williams had two great chances and Hughtun Hector also missed opportunities to get on the scoresheet.
“We made some changes in the second half and the intensity dropped but we still had better possession and we created chances again. They had three good chances of which they scored two. They were more clinical in front of goal. They played the game in the right spirit and all credit to them,” Hart added.
“Generally we possessed the ball well, we moved it well we got into good positions and created chances. There is not much more than you can really do but if you don’t take your chances this can happen.
“We always looked like we would score but the way the game was going and the way we were squandering chances you had a feeling it would be one of those games but we kept plugging away and we got the goal at the end,” Hart ended.
Trinidad and Tobago: Marvin Phillip (GK) (Adrian Foncette 46th minute); Jamali Garcia (Andre Ettienne, 70th minute), Elijah Belgrave, Daneil Cyrus (Curtis Gonzales), Triston Hodge, Hughtun Hector (Nathaniel Garcia 81st minute), Leston Paul, Sean De Silva, Jomal Williams (Jason Marcano 65th minute),Jerwyn Balthazar (Marcus Joseph 56th minute), Shahdon Winchester (Makesi Lewis 56th minute)
Unused substitutes: Kevon Villaroel, Akeem Humphrey
Coach: Stephen Hart