Trinidad and Tobago women’s footballers started their Under-20 campaign with an exciting 1-0 win over Jamaica at the Ato Boldon stadium in Couva on Thursday night.
In a keenly contested affair, forward Laurelle Theodore’s neat flick gave TT the lead in the 19th minute. Theodore slotted home after a teasing Chelcy Ralph freekick was placed behind Jamaica’s backline and left their hesitant goalkeeper motionless.
“It felt really good to score the winner,” said an elated Theodore. “This game was important for us to see where we are at and how much harder we have to work towards securing a top three spot in January.”
First-time skipper Dennecia Prince echoed her teammates’ sentiments about the importance of the game.
“We needed to know where the team was in terms of actual game-intensity and match fitness. Everyone had a good game, especially the defence, and the players all played their role and put in the work,” she said.
TT had a couple of half-chances in the first period, with Theodore’s shot from just outside the 18-yard box slamming onto the crossbar with the goalkeeper well beaten. In the second half, the TT women showed good ball retention and were more attack-minded. On the defensive side, the tactic of two players closing down the ball put Jamaica under pressure whenever they were in possession.
TT Under-17 striker Aaliyah Prince was a second-half substitute and troubled the Jamaican defence with her dribbling skills. However, good goalkeeping by the Jamaican custodian Yazmeen Jamieson denied Prince a goal on her Under-20 debut.
Prince was one of three Under-17 players drafted into the squad.
The teams meet again this afternoon at 4pm at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
TT STARTING XI: (GK) Klil Keshwar 1., Crystal Mollineaux 2., Natisha John 4., Abishai Guy 6. (Jassiel Forde 12.), Dennecia Prince 7. (Lauren Duffy 15.), Laurelle Theodore 9.(Aaliyah Prince 10.), Ranae Ward 11., Kedie Johnson 14.(Sydney Boiselle 16.), Alexis Fortune 17, Brittney Williams 18. (Kenedie St Mary 3.), Chelcy Ralph 19. (Shenieka Paul 13.)
UNUSED SUBS: Moenesa Mejias 5., Tianna Daniel 20., Malaika Dedier 21. Megan Rampersad 8.
JAMAICA STARTING XI: (GK) Yazmeen Jamieson 13., Sashine Smith 2., Nevillegail Able 4., Kevena Reid 5., Gabrielle Gayle 6., Sherice Clarke 8., Jadyn Matthews 15., Alufoloshade Adomoluken 17., Emily Caza 18., Alyssa Julien 19.