Thursday, December 14, 2017

Martinique qualify for CONCACAF round

Watching from the stands yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago’s American coach Randy Waldrum and his local assistant Marlon Charles, could not have been too impressed with the Martinique football team after the French Caribbean women edged unlucky St Kitts-Nevis 1-0 in a Group B match in the 2014 Women’s Caribbean Cup at the Hasely Crawford Stadium (HCS), Mucurapo. 

After also beating Antigua-Barbuda 2-0 on Wednesday, Martinique have now become the Caribbean’s third qualifier for the CONCACAF Women’s Championship in October, joining Jamaica and Haiti. But given the level they have shown so far, Martinique would be hard-pressed to beat host T&T, when they meet tomorrow at the HCS to battle for top honours in the group.

Having been overwhelmed by T&T when losing its opening match by a 10-0 margin, St Kitts-Nevis took the attack to Martinique yesterday evening and should have been up by at least two goals in the first quarter-hour. 

Sent clear, Lavern Francis took a heavy touch which gave Martinique keeper Cathy Bellune the chance to gather, and Kittician midfielder Chelsea Harris put a weak shot straight at the Martiniquan keeper, when also clear of defenders. 

St Kitts-Nevis also had a player running clear at goal when referee Sabina Charles-Kirton called back the play, when a Martiniquan picked up a knock. It was probably scant consolation for the Kitticians that they were given back the ball on the restart. 

Moreover when Aurelie Rouge floated a scoring shot over the head of St Kitts keeper Tynetta McKoy from a free-kick, for the opening goal in the 52nd minute.

Not that a goal was not coming. Martinique coach Dominique Branfine had sought to stop the flow of attack against his team by making two changes by the half-hour mark. Soon after, striker Prisca Carin almost scored twice, including on the half-hour, and later Christine Gamot also put a shot wide as Martinique began to find their feet late in a goalless first half. 

Martinique were marginally better in the second-half, although St Kitts-Nevis striker Phoenetia Browne almost got an equaliser, when striking the crossbar in the 70th minute.