Martinique fought bravely back to ensure an honours even result with Grenada in their opening Group H game in the Digicel Caribbean Cup Finals 2010 on their own home ground in front of an energetic 6000 strong crowd.
Martinique, privileged hosts of the finals of the biggest Caribbean showpiece in football, were out of the traps early in front of their home fans. Steve Gustan looked a constant threat as he combined well with the front pairing and went close after only 14 minutes but to be thwarted by a confident Baptiste in the Grenada goal.
The spice boys seemed to soak up the early pressure well and they were lucky not to have conceded as the pairing of Gustan and the lively Percin threatened down the left flank.
Grenada, the runners up in 2008, were not to be discounted and only for a fabulous full length finger tip save from Herulie after a great strike from Charles they would have opened their account.
However it was the Grenadian super star Kitson Bain who did take that honour by turning his man on the edge of the box and firing an absolute scorcher into the corner of the net from all of 20 yards that would grace any finals.
Martinique were buoyed on by a large home crowd and it was Gustan again who led the charge, and, following a goal mouth scramble, the nippy midfielder blasted his shot inches over the bar for another close disappointment for the home side.
The half time team talk in the Martinique dressing room was obviously taking effect as the French side came out with all guns blazing and seemed odds on to score that elusive equalizer. After 54 minutes Reuperne sliced open the Spice boys down the right but when his cut back came, it eluded everyone who had rushed to the near post with no one dropping off to get the final touch.
It was all Martinique at this stage and as the crowd screamed louder accompanied by the carnival band the French boys grew in confidence. Grenada were hanging on at the back and coach Simpson astutely brought on some defending reinforcements as he looked to sure up a solid defence.
But Martinique continued to push forward and looked so close to scoring time and again but failed that killer instinct in front of goal. To add to this Baptiste made some fine saves from a number of good individual efforts from Suedile and Cesar.
Martinique coach Germe was forced into making a few changes but his were more of the attacking ilk and it was one of those who eventually broke the charmed life that Grenada’s goal lived.
After being taken down inside the box from a clumsy challenge, Goron stepped up to take responsibility and coolly side footed his effort into the bottom corner to make it honours even with 10 minutes remaining.
The home side demanded more from their heroes and the players did not disappoint in terms of effort as they pushed forward in search of a winner. They almost found that when Baptiste was yet again the saviour when he saved dramatically from another long range shot this time from Clement.
Honours even it ended and while Trinidad will be the happiest with that result, it means all teams in Group H still have it to play for as the curtain drew on the first opening days games of the Digicel Caribbean Cup Finals 2010.
The Digicel Cup Finals will be played from November 26 through to December 5 in Martinique with live television broadcast worldwide courtesy of Digicel as well as live radio coverage.