Group B still to be decided
St. Vincent & the Grenadines (Green)
Keith James 73 mins
St. Kitts & Nevis (Red jerseys)
Jevon Francis 40 mins
Friday, October 8th 2010 – Victoria Park, St. Vincent & the Grenadines: In what was a brilliant advertisement for Caribbean football, Group B in the Digicel Cup dished up a mammoth clash between two sides that gave no quarter in a fiercely competitive match that saw action flow from box to box for ninety plus minutes of excitement.
The Vincy Heat started the game brightly buoyed on by a capacity crowd bubbling over with an excited atmosphere from the start. And it was after only 2 minutes when the lethal Samuel combination was wreaking havoc again when Myron Samuel nutmegged the bewildered Kittician left back and crossed perfectly for cousin Shandel whose diving header just went the wrong side of the post from 4 yards.
Neither side were giving much away and as George Isaac started pulling the strings in midfield for St Kitts, the game really started to open. After 16 minutes Isaac played a glorious chipped pass through to Jevon Francis only for the pacey striker to flash his shot wide of the goal. Vincy Heat playmaker Sheldon Samuel having been provided the captains armband for the night, continued terrorising Joel Jeffers at right back and when he skipped past him for the tenth occasion on 25 minutes laying the ball across goal only for a last ditch lunge from Thirzen Leader which prevented cousin Myron Samuel from opening the scoring with the goal at his mercy.
The game ebbed and flowed as the 4,000 strong capacity crowd enjoyed goal mouth action at both ends. Keith Gumbs was next up to the plate and with probably the best chance of the match to date managed to sky his shot high over the bar from 8 yards with an open goal at his mercy.
After Shandel Samuel once more floated past the right back and saw his cross go unfinished by any Vincy Heat players, St Kitts finally took the initiative. After being set up by Gumbs, Jevon Francis should have done better when he pushed his shot wide of the post but the two players combined again on 40 minutes, and with both having to make up for earlier missed chances, the class with which the goal was taken made up for the earlier errors.
George Isaac crossed from right to left with Gumbs jumping to control the ball on his chest beautifully before clipping his pass to Francis who smashed the ball into the bottom corner of the goal. Although very little between the sides, Francis was the one who finally broke the deadlock with a lethal finish from 10 yards.
Backed by a capacity crowd the Vincy Heat started the second half brightly and 5 minutes in should have been level but somehow Captain fantastic Shandel Samuels misconnected with the ball when his studs rolled over the top of the ball and into the grateful keepers arms from 5 yards.
St Kitts should have made it 2 on 60minutes when incredibly Oscar Nero and Myron Samuel tackled each other in their own box only for the ball to ricochet to Jevon Francis whose thunderbolt was brilliantly turned around the post by a full stretched save from Sandy.
St Vincent threw caution to the wind and pushed forward in search of that allusive equalizer. It finally arrived to the great relief of the home crowd and the players themselves when the lanky Keith James smashed home the loose ball from 8 yards following a melee of players trying to connect with a ball that dropped from a long Oscar Nero free kick.
With 4 minutes to go substitute Orlando Mitchum had the chance to win it for St Kitts when the ball fell kindly for him inside the box following a chipped free kick by the talented little magician George Isaac but his first time volley flew inches over the bar to the relief of the sizable crowd behind Sandy’s goal.
Honours even it ended and while that puts St Vincent in the driving seat going into their final match with Barbados on Sunday, St Kitts will be left hoping the Gods can smile on them as they must beat lowly Montserrat by a high score and hope for a Vincy win and favourable results in the other groups from stage 1 of the Digicel Cup
For more information, access to match images and live score updates, visit www.digicelfootball.com.