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Monday 17 December 2018
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TT struggle in 1-1 draw against Guyana

For the second time in the space of four days, Trinidad and Tobago football team flattered to deceive, as they were forced once again to come from a goal down to earn a draw in a friendly international at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

On Saturday, TT rallied from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against Grenada. And, on Tuesday evening, TT needed a 60th minute equaliser from Shahdon Winchester to force a 1-1 draw with a plucky Guyana outfit.

The Wayne Dover-coached Guyana team were more limited, in terms of talent, than the Grenada squad, but their performance glaringly highlighted the struggles TT have faced recently against fellow Caribbean Football Union (CFU) teams.

TT made nine changes to the starting lineup from the one that began Saturday’s game against Grenada, with right-back Alvin Jones and winger Levi Garcia maintaining their places.

Garcia’s older brother Nathaniel and central defender Josiah Trimmingham were handed their international debuts by TT coach Dennis Lawrence.

With Kevin Molino, who skippered the TT team on Saturday, out with an injury – Sheldon Bateau wore the armband against Guyana – Levi Garcia was used as the playmaker, a role which seemed too much for him to handle throughout the first half.

Guyana took the lead in the 19th courtesy striker Sheldon Holder who currently plays in the TT Pro League.

Holder, the Morvant Caledonia United member, looked initially offside when he received a ball from the back. But the TT defence was slow to react and Holder received a return ball from Kadel Daniel and planted his header beyond the reach of goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.

Nathaniel Garcia nearly scored on his debut, with a low right-footed effort which fizzed past Durant’s right post.

Lawrence adjusted things somewhat at the half, bringing on Winchester for Jamille Boatswain who was starved of service during his time on the pitch, while shifting Levi Garcia to his usual position on the flanks and moving another winger, Neil Benjamin, as a second striker.

That move nearly paid off in the 46th as Levi Garcia breezed down the left and found Benjamin, whose sliding right-footed effort went wide of Durant’s left.

Benjamin, one of the in-form players in the 2017 Pro League season, then got a pass from his W Connection clubmate Alvin Jones but he hesitated and sent his shot wide of the mark.

Winchester showed Benjamin how it was done a minute later, as he left midfielder Terrence Wancooten for dead and neatly placed his left-footed shot beyond the outstretched left hand of Durant.

Winger Nathan Lewis raised the ire of Lawrence in the 76th, when he was sent clear on goal down the left, by Nathaniel Garcia, but skied his left-footer overbar.

And Phillip averted any chance of a Guyana upset win a minute later, with a splendid save low to his left, from close range, from midfielder Emery Welshman’s right-footed poke.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Marvin Phillip; Sheldon Bateau (capt), Josiah Trimmingham, Aubrey David, Alvin Jones; Neveal Hackshaw, Nathaniel Garcia, Nathan Lewis, Neil Benjamin (Hashim Arcia 81st), Levi Garcia; Jamille Boatswain (Shahdon Winchester 46th).

GUYANA: Andrew Durant; Jake Newton, Jelani Smith, Christopher Bourne, Terrence Wancooten; Samuel Cox (capt), Warren Creavalle (Anthony Benfield 79th), Kadel Daniel, Emery Welshman (Dwain Jacobs 87th), Brandon Beresford (Shaquille Adard 89th); Sheldon Holder (Devante Small 66th).

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