Late goal from Asher Welsh—and Trinidad held 1-1 in CONCACAF soccer eliminations
IT TOOK a late goal from Jamaica's outside left Asher Welsh to earn a 1-1 draw with Trinidad and Tobago at the National Stadium last night and so put Jamaica in the sole lead of the CONCACAF football tournament elimination round.
The locals now have four points from three matches while their nearest rivals Haiti and Trinidad have three each.
After a comparatively bad game the crowd showed their relief when they rushed out on to the field to congratulate the team and Welsh in particular.
Both teams showed the pressure of the big occasion in the first few-minutes. The first clean attack came from Trinidad in the fourth minute — and it was a dangerous one.
Leroy DeLeon started the move just inside the Jamaica half with a pass out to Corneal who flicked the ball onto leftwinger Warren Archibald. Archibald spurted down the touchline and put across a perfect centre to DeLeon who muffed a fine chance, blazing the ball wide of a post from seven yards.
Trinidad continued to have the best of the first 15 minutes and all that was seen of Jamaica was a high, wide shot from Oxford after a neat flick by Asher Welsh.
In the 10th and 11th minutes the muscular Alvin Corneal fired in high, powerful shots which goalkeeper Vester Constantine leapt to pull down.
Constantino was in action the next minute as he ran out from goal to sweep the ball from Archibald's feet. The tricky Archibald had the beating of Paul Thomas and Corneal roamed all over the place, popping up in the open spaces and threatening danger whenever his thunderous boot struck leather.
Jamaica just hadn't got going. Art Welsh was again playing deep and he and linkmen Arthur Cameron and Lloyd McLean failed to take control of the midfield from the faster Trinidadians.
In the 18th minute Art Welsh was through with a chance. But he hesitated and Steadman cleared the ball. The attack was playing nonchalantly and the final pass seldom found the man it was aimed for.
Then suddenly Jamaica had a golden opportunity to take the lead. In the 21st minute Art Welsh put a fine pass through to brother Asher.
Hounded by two defenders, Asher sped into the box. With only goalkeeper Mouttet to beat he shot only to see the ball cannon off Mouttet's boot over the bar.
Oscar Black twice lofted the ball hopelessly high from difficult angles.
At the other end of the half Constantine was having a hectic night. But the Regiment goalie was playing well and apart from one dropped highball coped with everything.
Jamaica were losing the game in mid-field where Art Welsh was being closely marked and the Trinidadians' De Labastide and DeLeon did the fetching and the carrying. But Jamaica's unforgiveable weakness was a failure to tackle fast and hard.
When the whistle went for half-time they could count themselves lucky to be on equal terms, having failed to take a grip on the game and muffing the few good chances that came their way.
Trinidad would have been in the lead but for a tendency to shoot too soon from too far out and the over-calm Constantine and defender Frank Brown, once again doing more than should have been asked of him.
Alter 90 seconds of play in the second half, a pass from linkman Joseph was collected by Corneal on the left wing. Corneal made a narrow pass to Archibald who was being tagged by Delroy Scott, but Scott was eluded and Archibald was free with goalkeeper Constantine, and gently pushed the ball into the net for Trinidad's goal.
Trinidad's linkmen were much more effective than Jamaica's. Their left-half Grell was constantly on the move and supplied his forwards with all the passes they needed.
Jamaica was unusually slow on the attack, allowing their opponents time to settle with the ball and place them wherever they pleased.
In the eleventh minute Jamaica was awarded a corner from the right side. This was taken by Art Welsh and was centred in alignment with the goal. A melee followed in front of the goal bat what looked like a sure goal was held by Mouttet.
With a one-nil lead, the Trinidadians picked up confidence and began playing a sharper game. Every man on the team was pulling his weight, making their team a dangerous one indeed.
A second corner was awarded to Jamaica when Neville Oxford chasing a ball from centrefield with fullback De Labastide, crumbled with goalkeeper Mouttet. Once more a Jamaican corner proved dangerous but the Trinidadians managed to get themselves out.
Asher Welsh, playing a lone hand from deep in the right field, eluded defenceman Steadman, and moved towards the goal, setting up a hard left-footed kick, which was saved by Mouttet.
With only fifteen minutes of play to go, Jamaica became more than determined to gain their equalizer. The ball was kept in Trinidad's forward, but the Trinidadian's defence was a tough nut to crack. Defenceman Warren De Labastide and Mulzac, assisted ably by Grell proved impregnable to Jorge Penna's boys.
Oscar Black, still not in his top form, tried bravely but just couldn't get anywhere. His first dangerous shot came in the 34th minute. It was a hard shot which went straight to goal but Mouttet pushed it over the bar.
Pandemonium broke loose with just five minutes of play left as Asher Welsh, following a long hard throw from goalkeeper Constantine, rushed past lone defenceman Steadman. Mouttet moved out to hold the ball, kicked it instead. The ball bounced on Asher, and he carried it past the goalkeeper into the goal for the equalizer.