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Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Hart wants better effort from T&T attackers
National coach Stephen Hart could not hide his frustration on Tuesday when addressing his team’s performance following an uninspired goalless draw with World Cup hopeful New Zealand in a friendly international on Tuesday, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
The Kiwis, on its first football trip to the Caribbean, were determined to return to New Zealand with any result but a loss, as evidenced by its unbreakable defensive unit, which switched cohesively from a four to five-man line.
“I mean, it’s really hard to play against a team that is not coming forward,” said Hart at the post-match press conference. “And, you don’t want to throw yourself forward and leave yourself to the counter-attack.” Hart added.
But, the T&T boss in his inaugural home match since taking charge of the T&T team, made no excuses for a lack of penetration from his midfielders.
“The wide players were a bit hesitant to do what was necessary, to take some risks and take players on, and make them have to defend. And, I tried to chance that by changing both wide players, but at the end of the day it did not happen.
“I don’t think we penetrated enough. I don’t think we created enough chances. I don’t think we got enough shots on goal to end up scoring.”
However, in his admittance, Hart’s opposite number, Ricki Herbert wanted to go home with a simple result and he got just that.
“It’s something we’ll need in November (playing away from home),” said the New Zealand headman, visibly the more pleased of the two coaches.
Tuesday’s draw perhaps illustrated New Zealand’s conservative plan to deal with a more hasty Concacaf threat, as it followed two other draws in California, within the past week. The visiting team often invited pressure and built most of its attacking threat feeding off of T&T’s mistakes in midfield.
Not long after the draw, Herbert would have learned of his opponent for next month’s home-and-away 2014 Fifa World Cup play-off, which turned out to be Mexico. Despite losing 2-1 to Costa Rica, Mexico made it through to the play-off from the help of the USA which scored two goals in added time to dump Panama out of contention with a 3-2 win.
In the match, both New Zealand and T&T enjoyed merely one clear-cut chance, while the host team enjoyed greater possession almost throughout the encounter. What was missing was positive link-up play from the midfielders to the forwards, which was made all the more difficult by the visitor’s flooded defense.
Warriors skipper and Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones had the best chance to win the match outright for T&T with moments remaining, but his rare breakthrough and attempt at goal was smothered by the face of New Zealand goalkeeper, Glen Moss, while substitute Ataulla Guerra’s nervous follow-up shot went wide.
It was Jones too, who picked up the first of few half-chances on the night, in the fourth minute, when a spritely co-striker Willis Plaza played him in under-pressure from New Zealand’s defence, but the target-man’s snap shot went several feet wide of the target.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s best opportunity came just before Jones’ one-on-one, when forward Kasta Bararouses had a similar opportunity on the other end. Bararouses was sent through on goal before Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte tracked back brilliantly before he clattered the striker with a legal sliding challenge.
The first 15 minutes belonged to T&T, and the Warriors may have had more breakthroughs had Lester Peltier made better use of his isolation on the right of midfield. The match faded with both teams’ best chances coming from speculative shots which barely saw either custodian batting an eyelid.
Jan-Michael Williams, T&T’s starting keeper, who had a quiet night before being substituted, came up with at least one massive save, that from a volley just outside the T&T’s penalty box following a soft headed clearance from centre back Radanfah Abu Bakr, who along with Sheldon Bateau, Hoyte and Carlyle Mitchell, had otherwise an outstanding match.
T&T skipper, Jones, also spoke at the media conference after the match and thanked the supporters who turned out, but felt there should have been a bigger crowd.
“In all honesty, we were hoping for a better crowd because of the situation (with Akeem Adams), and also (it’s) the first seeing the team home since the Gold Cup,” said Jones.
T&T: Jan-Michael Williams (Marvin Phillips 46th), Justin Hoyte, Sheldon Bateau, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Carlyle Mitchell, Khaleem Hyland (Kevan George 83rd), Kevin Molino (Ataullah Guerra 83rd), Andre Boucaud, Lester Peltier (Hughtun Hector 61st), Willis Plaza (Marcus Joseph 61st), Kenwyne Jones (Rundell Winchester 87th).
Unused Subs: Aubrey David, Mekeil Williams, Curtis Gonzales, Densill Theobald, Cordell Cato.
New Zealand: Glen Moss, Andrew Durante, Tony Lochhead, Winston Reid, Tommy Smith (Craig Henderson 68th), Leo Bertos (Bill Tuiloma 46th), Aaron Clapham (Jake Butler 74th), Michael McGlicnchey, Kosta Barbarouses, Jeremy Brockie, Rory Fallon.
Unused Subs: Tamati Williams, Cole Peverley, Dan Keat, Aaron Scott, Kris Bright, Cameron Howieson.
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