Windwards A Tale of Mixed Emotions for Team SLU

Team St. Lucia opened their campaign at the Windward Islands Tournament with a massive victory against their southern rivals St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The victory was one of great significance as it was gained over the defending champions of the tournament and it also signalled a very positive beginning to team St. Lucia’s championship contention. However, some of that forward momentum was displaced as St. Lucia’s men collapsed at the hands of the host Grenada in their second encounter.

The second game on team St. Lucia’s schedule was played at the Kirani James Stadium in Grenada. The match was contested on an evening which saw the ground soak up vast amounts of water prior to kick off. The excessive turgidity of the turf caused it to be extremely slippery and as the match progressed the condition of the ground rapidly deteriorated. Players of both teams found it hard to find solid footing as they contended with the adverse pitch conditions.  However, the spice boys would emerge victorious on the night, as they capitalised on two grievous errors committed by the St. Lucian defence in the first half of the game. Team St. Lucia toiled for an equaliser in the final half but found the Grenadian defence impermeable on their home grounds.

Two days later, team St. Lucia would face Barbados in what was initially deemed their most challenging opponents. Needing a win to remain in firm title contention, team St. Lucia seemed like a rejuvenated unit in the opening exchanges of the encounter. Their relentless attacking style of play was duly rewarded midway in the first half after talisman and captain Kurt Frederick craftily squeezed a 20-yard spot kick beneath an unsuspecting Bajan wall. The firmly struck football skidded off the turf and passed the goalkeeper from Barbados. In the second half of the game, the battle was restricted to the centre of the pitch as both teams sought inspiration and ingenuity from their creative players in an effort to penetrate each other’s backline. After a long midfield tussle, it was a lapse in the concentration of the St. Lucian defence which gave the Bajan forwards an opening which they unmistakably netted and restored game parity. Team St. Lucia sought redemption through increased pressing and very central attacking penetration. The Barbados team was reduced to 10 (ten) men after one of their players was expelled from the game for his incessant fouling. Despite their numerical advantage, St. Lucia was unable to gain goal advantage and the game came to a conclusion with the scores still level.

The Saint Lucian team then entered the final game having gained four points out of a possible nine. Their last game was against Dominica, who had managed to pull off an upset against Grenada in their first encounter. Team St. Lucia’s ball work and build up play in that game was sensational, however their finishing in the final third was woeful. Their inability to convert their opportunities in the end cost them a valuable two points as the game ended in a stalemate. Team St. Lucia concluded the Windward Islands Tournament in third position having acquired five points in their four games. Technical director to the SLFA Ces Podd explained that the results of the tournament were not the best but quite a number of positives were derived from the competition. He mentioned that the games will be reviewed and the team’s weak points will be analysed and improvements will be made. The team is scheduled to be back on the island before the end of this week.