December 14, 2017

Determined Jaguars held to fighting draw against T&T Warriors

By John Ramsingh

A 19th minute header from Sheldon Holder and tight defending ensured that Guyana came out with a spirited 1-1 draw against Caribbean Powerhouse Trinidad and Tobago in their International Friendly match at the Ato Boldon stadium in Balmain Couva, Trinidad on Tuesday night.

Goal! Sheldon Holder puts Guyana ahead against Trinidad and Tobago at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday night

The hosts controlled much of the game including the early exchanges and had three shots on goal within the first 13 minutes which was played at a high intensity in front of about 1,500 screaming Soca Warriors supporters.
However, it was the visiting Golden Jaguars who made their first chance of a goal count. In the 19th minute, Kadel Daniel dribbled past two defenders and gave Sheldon Holder a perfect past right in front of the goal. Holder then headed past the opposing captain, Sheldon Bateau and the advancing goalkeeper Marvin Phillip to find the back of the net and silenced the crowd on a cool, windy night in Central Trinidad.
The rest of the first half continued to be very eventful with high intensity plays and possession being shared almost equally. However, the quicker Warriors who created more scoring opportunities could not breach the dogged Jaguars defence and the first half ended 1-0 in favour of the men in yellow.
At the start of the second stanza, the home team made a substitution with Shahon Winchester replacing Jamille Boatswain and in the opening minute Neil Benjamin missed a golden opportunity to put the Warriors ahead, yet again. After Levi Garcia beat Jaguars Captain Samuel Cox and fellow defender Brandon Beresford on the left, he executed a clinical past that found Benjamin’s right foot. The talented Benjamin then waited a moment for the Jaguars goalie, Andrew Durant to advance then went for glory. However, his attempt was just wide of the up rights much to the relief of the opponents.
It was the start of things to come for the Warriors who came out more attacking and determined. This aggressive style of play saw two yellow cards being issued, one on either side within the next 10 minutes. Nathaniel Garcia who employed a nasty play against Warren Creavalle received his caution in the 52nd minute. Five minutes later, it was Garcia who was on the receiving end as Brandon Beresford was cautioned in the 57th minute for unfair tackling.
The Trinidadians were determined to out run the Guyanese and in the 59th minute Benjamin was set to make amends when he dribbled past three Jaguars defenders but his right-footed effort from right in front of the goal, hit the post. The men in red, white and black were on a role and in the 60th minute, Winchester who came off the bench found the equaliser.
His left footed powerful strike from just inside the box left Durant and the rest of the Jaguars in amazement and got the crowd jumping.
The Jaguars had a rare opportunity to go ahead and could not have asked for anything better from Emery Welshman. The Puerto Rico Islanders player hustled through the Warriors defence and confronted goalie Phillip whom he beat as well but pushed the ball wide of the mark. It was the last real effort for the Jaguars who made a few substitutions in an effort to push for a victory over the highly rated Trinis.
Devonte Small, Anthony Benfield, Dwain Jacobs and Shaquille Adard all came off the bench for Holder, Creavalle, Welshman and Beresford respectively.
It was the second time in four days that the Warriors had to come back to draw their game. Last Saturday, at the same venue they were down 2-0 before drawing level in injury time against Grenada while the Guyanese were beaten 1-0 by the same opponents in St. Georges in October.
Since September 2010, Guyana and Trinidad have played five times and this is the second drawn encounter. Trinidad has won twice while Guyana’s famous 2-1 victory on 11-11-11 is their only victory.
It’s the end of the season for the Trinidadians while the Golden Jaguars will travel to Indonesia for their final assignment of the year on November 25.