Lawrence: Tremendous effort but I’m not happy with the call

The Trinidad and Tobago dressing room was far from dismal on Tuesday night as the members of the national senior men’s team reflected and came to terms with their latest defeat in World Cup qualifying action. Defeated but not devastated as T&T held their own against one of the Concacaf giants in their own backyard, cheered on by a partizan home crowd.

Head Coach Dennis Lawrence made his feelings clear in the post-match press conference about the referee’s failure to award a penalty when Jamille Boatswain was pulled down by Costa Rican defender  in the 51st minute.

“First and foremost I’m going to be careful with how I deal with the situation because I am not really happy. Congratulations to Costa Rica. In terms of our boys, I think we gave a tremendous effort tonight and I don’t think the result reflected the actual result. I’ve got to question the penalty because I think the only people on the football pitch that did not believe it was a penalty were the officials. From that point of view, I thought we should have come out with something from the game and I really feel sorry for the boys,” Lawrence said in his opening remark.

“We know points were important tonight. We are going to fight until the end, until it becomes mathematically impossible for us to qualify,” he added.

“I thought we had more of the game in the second half than Costa Rica. I think the entire stadium knew it was a penalty. The only people who did not recognise it was the people who were most important – the officials.”

“Costa Rica has always been one of the Concacaf giants. I think we all understand they are a very good team and they have players of a top level. What I am most pleased about tonight is that we were able to come out tonight and match Costa Rica stride for stride. Unfortunately we did not get the result we wanted but I gave yeoman credit to my team for the effort that they put in,” Lawrence added.

T&T midfielder Kevin Molino, the 35th minute goalscorer was notably upset with the result but managed to keep a positive spirit ahead of the remaining set of matches.

“I am disappointed. There is no way to hide this because I felt we did well enough to get a result tonight, at least a point. I feel pleased to have scored here in Costa Rica but I am hurting with the result. I would have much preferred to leave here with something. We put out a strong effort tonight but unfortunately we didn’t get the result,” Molino told TTFA Media.

“First half we were in it even after the early goal and when I banged it in, I felt we had them on the backfoot and the game was there for the taking. But we had a couple close misses and very close penalty call but we know in these countries, we are not going to get those calls. It is unfortunate for us at this time.

“But I feel very strongly about how we are coming along as a team. We fought really well and matched this Costa Rican team and hopefully we can pull it even close together for the next set of games in September and get the results we need,” Molino added.

Photo at top shows Kevin Molino striking to goal. Photo by Allan Crane. For editorial use, please contact Allan Crane