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Vincy Heat advances to next round

Vincy Heat advances to next round


St. Vincent and the Grenadines senior national men’s football team, Vincy Heat, advances to the next phase of the Digicel Caribbean Cup.{{more}}

The first leg of the competition concluded at the Victoria Park on Sunday night with premature celebration as the home team and fans alike girated with the firm belief that they had booked a place to Group E, in Grenada later this month, as group winners having a superior goal difference.

However, their celebrations were short lived when they received news that their expectations were wrong.

The host, like St. Kitts and Nevis and Barbados, played unbeaten, and all three finished on five points each, with one win and two drawn matches.

A provision in the rules of the competition, which were in place since 2007, but seemingly ignorant to all involved, created a situation where St. Kitts and Nevis emerged winner and the host, second.

The three teams were levelled on total points, levelled on points on the games against each other, levelled on goal difference in games played against each other, but finally differentiated on the fourth circumstance where St. Kitts and Nevis scored more than the other two in the games between each tied team.

Vincy Heat will now have to settle for second having scored the most goals in the competition. Overall they had eight goals, St. Kitts and Nevis, six, and Barbados, six.

The Vincentians going into last Sunday’s match against Barbados only needed a draw to advance.

Coach Sammy Carrington was forced to make changes to the starting line up, as Myron Samuel and Shandell Samuel were unavailable due to suspension and injury, respectively.

Carrington also made other tactical changes, bringing in Reginald Richardson and Roy Richards in the back four, while Joel George, Emerald George, Chad Balcombe and Romano Snagg had their first starts.

With neither team gaining any upper hand, the first half was a dour affair, as attrition was the order of the day.

The chances were few as the teams seemed to lack that final delivery needed in its attack.

The second half was similar, with little sparks of brilliance.

Substitute Damal Francis almost gave the home team a goal in the 63rd minute, when his long range shot forced goal keeper, Alvin Rouse, to tip over the bar.

Thereafter, the match degenerated into a scrappy and ill tempered affair.

First it was Emerald George, who got his marching orders from referee Javier Jauregui for a second bookable offence. This reduced St. Vincent and the Grenadines to 10 players.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines then lost Keith James, with Barbados losing their captain Norman Forde for violent play.

Ill temper also resulted in the expulsion of John Parris of Barbados for a foul on goal keeper Dwayne Sandy.

The match finally ended without a goal, with both teams having nine men.

That was not all as Rouse was red carded after the final whistle as he verbally abused Jauregui, who had to be escorted from the playing area by members of the local constabulary.

After hammering Montserrat in their opening fixture, St. Vincent and the Grenadines came from behind to draw with St. Kitts and Nevis last Friday night. Jevon Francis put the visitors ahead in the 40th minute, but Keith James equalized for the Vincentians in the 74th minute.

In the first match of the double header on Friday night, Barbados blanked Montserrat 5-0, with Forde scoring in the 19th and 83rd minutes. Reviere Williams netted in the 36th minte, Terry Adamson in the 53rd, and Kadeem Atkins in injury time.

St. Kitts and Nevis crowned off their campaign also on Sunday night, beating Montserrat 4-0.

Alexis Sandler in the 18th and 32nd minutes, Keith Gumbs in the 21st and Ian Lake in the 88th, sealed the victory for the Kittians.

St. Kitts and Nevis heads to Grenada for Group E action later this month for the second phase of the competition, where they meet the host, Guadeloupe, and Group A winner, Puerto Rico.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines heads either to Antigua and Barbuda or Trinidad and Tobago, as one of the best second place finishers in Group G and F, respectively. (RT)