Trinidad and Tobago enjoyed one of its better performances in recent times but had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Caribbean rivals Jamaica as a last minute penalty converted by Luton Shelton ensured a stalemate between the two countries at the Marvin Lee Stadium on Saturday.
The match was a keenly contested one but some dubious refereeing by Barbados' Rayon Small didn’t help the mood of the home team but allowed Jamaica to go home undefeated as both countries prepare for their upcoming 2010 World Cup qualifying matches.
The “Soca Warriors” lifted their game from the 3-0 loss to England a week ago and the 5,000 fans on hand were left feeling better about their team but would have felt robbed of having a win to celebrate on the weekend.
Earlier on in the first-half which started in a heavy downpour, T&T led by Swansea City striker Jason Scotland upfront took the match to the visitors.
Maturana using only the England-based Scotland up front in a 4-5-1 format, found an opening in the robust tackling Jamaica defence seemed an uphill task at time.
Jamaica on also looked more threatening at times with Marlon King and Jermaine Taylor causing a few nervous moments for the T&T defence but Dennis Lawrence marshaled his back line of Makan Hislop, Kareem Smith and Aklie Edwards.
Midfielder Khaleem Hyland was outstanding for the hosts and deservedly scored for T&T.
Against the run of play, T&T took the lead when Keon Daniel intercepted an ill-advised pass across the defence by left back Ian Goodison.
Daniel played a short pass to Scotland, who hesitated before laying the ball off to an unmarked Hyland, who without hesitation wrapped his left foot around a shot which whistled past the diving Shawn Sawyers into the bottom right hand corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute.
Five minutes before the interval T&T goalkeeper Clayton Ince was called into action as he needed the full length of his hands to tip over a rasping shot from Goodison to preserve his team's lead at the half.
Later on, crowded by a group of defenders, Hyland’s spanking left footed shot almost sneaked in at the far post with Sawyers a spectator following a good build up by T&T.
Jamaica stepped up the pace in the second half but T&T weathered the early storm and had their chances to seal the game. A good finish by Kevon Carter appeared to have put T&T 2-0 ahead but the referee ruled it offside
Ince was then adjudged to have brought down Shelton by Barbadian referee Rayon Small and despite pleading his innocence, the spot kick was awarded.
Shelton calmly slotted his penalty to the right of Ince to tie up the score.
T&T were without the injured Kenwyne Jones while Stern John did not recover from a hamstring strain in time for the match. (Photo courtesy Anthony Harris).
T&T: 1-Clayton Ince, 4-Makan Hislop, 5-Osei Telesford, 6-Dennis Lawrence, 7-Carlos Edwards, 8-Khaleem Hyland, 9-Aurtis Whitley (Captain), 12-Jason Scotland, 13-Kareem Smith, 15-Aklie Edwards, 19-Keon Daniel
SUBS: 2-Kern Cupid, Ancil Farrier, 10-Darryl Roberts, 11-Kevon Carter, 17-Kevaughn Connell, 18-Stephan David, 21-Marvin Phillips(GK)
JAMAICA: 30- Devon Rickets (GK), 3-Simon Ford, Demar Phillips, 5-Ian Goodison, 6-Marlon King, 7-Evan Campbell, 10-Ricardo Fuller, 14-Jermaine Taylor, 15-Ricardo Gardner (Captain), 17-O'Neil Thompson, 23-Jermaine Johnson
SUBS: 8-Jamal Campbell-Ryce, 9- 0'Brian Woodbyne, 11-Richard Langley, 16-Omar Daley, 18-Deon Burton, 19-Adrian Reid, 21-Luton Shelton, 23-Jermaine Johnson, 25-Keneil Moodie, 1-Shawn Sawyers (GK).