TT Forwards Must Get The Ball Inside

Earl Best
Date Published: 

Earl Best Review's Sunday's Game And Says:

THE TFA must today be patting itself on the back after the financial success of Sunday's World Cup qualifier. There were some 35,000 fans on hand to witness what turned out to be one of the best displays by a national team for a long time.

The selector had done a good job. It was good to see Russell Tesheira back in the line-up after his unexplained absence and one was glad that it had been decided to retain Carter ahead of Barclay. My own feeling is that Spann who had played well in the away game, should have it ahead of Carpette who came on field with a bandaged left thigh.


Also LaForest continues to be the best goal-scorer in the country and my own feeling is that he should have been included instead of Steve David.

It was no surprise to discover that both wing-backs were very much involved in the midfield play. Tesheira at right back frequently lay deep and drew the opposition down and out into his corner of the field.

Then, one quick, accurate pass would be used to set up the left wing in at least a one-to-one situation. It was unfortunate that Steve David was not in better nick or he should certainly have notched a couple of goals on passes from Tesheira in the first half.


In the second half, Archibald collected a few of these and he always seemed to make far better use of them although he too failed to score. Pierre, on the left flank used the long pass less frequently opting instead for the infield dribble and the short pass.

This is a style that was no less effective than Tesheira's but infinitely more dangerous since it tended to involve him very deeply in the attack even while the loss of possession was a real possibility.

As it turned out, the second Surinam equaliser came through our left side with Pierre not really in contention.

He is, without doubt, the best of our recent left wing-backs but until he learns that his primary responsibility is defensive and makes the necessary adjustment to his style he will remain an ordinary player.

The stoppers both had outstanding games. Their tackling was flawless, their heading superb. They too were never afraid to sally forward when the occasion warranted it.


As for the second Surinam goal, I though Carter was just a little slow in coming for the ball here but Pierre must take most of the blame for this goal as he allowed Entingh to creep up on the blind side of the stoppers so that they could do little when the pass was finally laid on for him.

Carter ought, perhaps, to have insisted on yet another one or two players in the wall when the freekick by Olmberg was being taken. Fairly ordinary players can score from 18 yards out in the middle of the goal, barrier and all! And Olmberg is fast gaining a reputation as the finest dead ball kicker in the region.

The midfield trio of Cummings, De Leon and Carpette were content to jockey the opposing attackers into hurried passes and less favourable positions but seemed to have abandoned as ineffectual, the policy of tackling in midfield.


In the second half, the links were playing extremely well in the attack with De Leon being the pick of the lot. He does not need a lot of operational room and it is this more than anything else that lifts him above his comrades. He very often split the defence right down the middle and set up David, Archibald and Sammy at different points in the game with real scoring chances.

Neither of our goals, interestingly enough, came at the end of a midfield build-up. It was not that we were not building up well: there was lots of evidence of rehearsal, of planning. Sammy Llewellyn and Archibald were running particularly well and causing the Surinamese defence no end of worry. Tesheira's overlaps were excellent as decoy runs and I thought he was too often given the ball — when he had successfully diverted the attention of the defenders from the higher priority areas.

Coach Vidale had got to take Carpette in particular to task for this and he's also got to ensure that come the replay on the 19th Archibald, Sammy and whoever the third forward is (I do not see how we can retain Steve David!) are shooting far more quickly, far lower and far more often.

The Trinidad substitutes all remained on the field during the interval. That, to me, suggests that they are or are considered as being mere footballers and not students of the game.

I really wonder that one of them felt he could add something to or gain something from the half-time deliberations. And since Spann was on the field early in the second half, it also suggests a lack of planning on the part of the coach.

Finally a word about the spectators. The roar that filled the air when each of our goals was scored could, presumably, have been hard in faraway John Donaldson Institute; yet not a single plaudit was head when Olmberg scored his freekick almost on the half-time whistle. And when Entingh drew the teams level again, only an audible gasp from 35,000 disbelieving, disappointed souls marked the occasion.

To come back and draw level twice in the circumstances is no mean feat.

To fail to score more than twice in the same circumstances cannot auger well for us the next time, especially if, as seems very likely, the replay is to be played in a neutral country.

We are going to need a lot of luck to go on to the next round.

Let us, however, not simply keep our fingers crossed but get busy making arrangements to ensure that those who so desire can be on hand to view the game wherever it is played and, more importantly, that our forwards know how to find the net on the run the next time around.