The Day's Play

G. St. C. Scotter
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

THE MOST INTERESTING sporting contest this country has ever witnessed was the first match of the Football Series between Jamaica and Trinidad yesterday at Sabina Park—and it has left us in the position that we are all still wondering whether this country can win the series of five matches, or whether the sister Colony will be too strong for us.

The attendance at the match was conservatively estimated at 10,000—which would be easily the biggest gate this country has ever drawn yet—and what we are looking at now is, first of all, where are we going to accommodate the people in the second Colony Match on Saturday,
and second, can we make any changes in the Jamaica line-up which will give us a better chance of victory in the series.

Course Of The Game.

In the first 10 minutes, it was obvious that the pace of the Jamaica team was a bit too hot for the Trinidad side; with, in our favour, a fast ground and a light ball, so that the positional play of the visiting side was at something of a discount.

But then another factor appeared which all judges of the game have seen out here after the first two matches of the series: that neither side has first class scoring inside forwards, who, when they get a real chance, can put it where the goalie has no hope.

In this particular instance, both sides had very fine goal-keepers—and the question of who had the better of the play throughout the match would really have to be decided by these goalies—who had the hardest shots to save, and the most frequent.

From this point of view, I would think that McLean in Jamaica's goal, would be able to say that he had harder work than Trinidad's keeper—but in mid-field play, I would think Jamaica had slightly the edge throughout this very fast match.

Both goalies performed splendidly: McLean saved one from Ken Galt who was clear through, by throwing himself, at full length, and turning it around the post; Trinidad's goalie saved a real hot one from Holt by clever anticipation, but the honours of the day for the two keepers go to McLean, who in the second half saved one of those very difficult shots, deflected by a defender, from Gerry Gomez, at the last moment, tipping it over the bar.

No Shooting Forwards.

Both sides had very good chances to score—but it was soon obvious that, what we have all thought of both sides, neither of us has a real scoring forward who can take advantage of the opportunities offered him.

To assess this match, sounds like counting the mistakes made on both sides and roughly, I might say that Galt missed one first class opportunity, when he was through in the clear, with nobody to beat but the goalie, while Holt in the same position, shot well but got a brilliant save.

Players Of The Day.

In the general run of play it was apparent that Jamaica on a dry ground was able to compete with Trinidad's slightly better positional play—but it was also apparent that George Allen's coaching and training of the Island's side was paying off big dividends.

Not only did every pass he made go exactly to the right place, and the right man, but his training of the team has been so good that, for the first time in Jamaica's football history, we saw a Jamaica team as fit and fresh at the end of the game as they were at the beginning.

This made Allen probably the outstanding player of the match on either side—but he had very close competition from Walters at right half, who played easily the best game he has ever played in this country, both on the offensive and defensive ends of a half's game Walters was magnificent.

After these two, attention was naturally much concentrated on Delgado at left back—who, after candidly, his appalling exhibition for St. George's on Monday, played a magnificent game yesterday; which included saving a certain goal, which had gone over McLean's head,
and was just about crossing the line, when Delgado appeared out of the blue to kick it out.

This sounds as if all the star players of the game were on the Jamaica side—but, even at that, it might probably be right.

Prior Jones and Seale, those two great half backs, were rather lost in the pace of the game—Lynch at outside left, was again not fed enough to be effective for the team. I think Jeff Stollmeyer is a better right winger than the man who played yesterday—and of the inside forwards, Gerry Gomez was the best of what could only be considered an unconvincing trio.