Crucial Clash With St. Vincent.
IT’S Day 2 of the Windward Islands Football Association Men’s Championship as the showpiece continues this evening with another double header at the Philip Marcellin Grounds in Vieux Fort.
Following their 3 – 2 defeat at the hands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on opening day Grenada will be hoping for a better performance on the square when they play Dominica in the first match from 6.00 p.m, while St. Vincent and the Grenadines will want to continue their winning ways against St. Lucia in the second game. However, St. Lucias will have to come up with a big win in the “battle of the Saints” to stay a float in the tournament.
In front of a crowd of several hundred football enthusiasts on the opening night, St. Vincent and the Grenadines earned 3 points, while Dominica and defending champions St.Lucia drew 1 – 1 to share the points.
Led by double strikes from the boots of No. 9 Myron Samuel, St.Vincent and the Grenadines defeated Grenada 3 – 2. SVG went ahead through No. 17 Emerald George in the 34th minute, but five minutes later No. 9 Shane Rennie found the back of the nets to equalise for Grenada through a brilliant free kick that was awarded by Referee Leo Clarke just outside the box.
The stylish looking Myron put St.Vincent and the Grenadines ahead for the second time in the 76th minute, but three minutes later Rennie scored his second to the delight of the small contingent of supporters from the Spice Isle with flags waving.
Rennie’s contribution on the square was short lived when he was shown a red card by Referee Clarke in the 84th minute; after getting yellow in the 53rd. That second bookable offence led to a penalty that gave St. Vincent and the Grenadines all three points. No. 8 Dorren Hamlet captain of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines team was also shown a second yellow in the 90th minute, leaving both teams with ten men on the square.
In the second encounter St. Lucia and Dominica played to a 1-1 draw. No. 7 Malik St. Prix put St. Lucia ahead in the 16th minute when he hit a low right foot shot that beat the Dominica goalkeeper / captain Glenton Prince to start an early type carnival celebration, but in the process St. Lucia squandered three easy scoring opportunities in five minutes, the culprits being No. 7 Malik St. Prix twice and No. 17 Romiel Felix once.
At the halftime whistle the score line remained 1 – 0 in favour of the hosts.
On the resumption the Dominicans made a tactical change to bring in a second striker and looked like the team that would score as they grew in confidence and in the process, created problems for the St.Lucia midfield.
It’s an old adage “patience is a virtue” and so the Dominicans were rewarded with the much deserved equalizer in the 83rd minute through No. 8 Glenworth Elizee that beat the St. Lucian custodian Randy Poleon.
Minutes before that the St. Lucians had netted another to take the lead, but was ruled offside by the referee and a second opportunity was afforded in front of goal to take the lead with the scores locked at 1 – 1 No.9 Troy Greenidge hit high up across the bar.
At the post match interview Dominica’s captain, goalkeeper Prince, said, “St. Lucia could have been up 4 – 0 at the half as it was the first time my team was playing at that facility after arriving late the night before”.
He also said that the strong wind disrupted their style of play in the first half, but at the halftime whistle they discussed how they would counter attack and came back to execute according to plan.
Assistant coach for the St.Lucia team Anthony Jn Baptiste said, “We just missed too many opportunities. We had them and we did not put the game away from Dominica, but are satisfied with the draw”.
Team captain Sheldon Emmanuel was brief and said: ‘We are not out of it as yet. We need to win our remaining matches against St.Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada”.