St Vincent and the Grenadines opened their Digicel Cup campaign in a convincing manner in front of a boisterous home crowd at Victoria Park. With pacey striker Shandel Samuel in sizzling form the Heat made easy work of a very poorly organized Montserrat defence to the delight of an energetic home crowd.
Montserrat started the game brightly taking the game to the Vincy Heat in the first 5 minutes amassing 4 shots on target and forcing the first corner. The growing crowd in Victoria Park remained calm and their assurance in this young talented team was justified when after 6 minutes Shandel Samuel caused Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA, further headaches in what will be yet another major call for goal line technology. After a powerful run down the left by Myron Samuel, he had the sense of purpose to look up and pick out his cousin and an unmarked Shandel Samuel whose first time shot thumped off the underside of the cross bar and back down for Hilton to clear with his legs.
Controversial new captain Cornelius Stewart then looked to repay the faith coach Carringhton placed in him with the big responsibility as team leader after 14 minutes when he breezed past Pete Phyll at left back and bore down on goal at lightning pace. Unfortunately his shot did not match the conviction of his run and proved an easy save for Hilton in the end.
The opener for Vincy Heat came after 26 minutes from the penalty spot with Shandel Samuel making no mistake from 12 yards after an unfortunate Junior Mendes was adjudged to have kicked Daren Hamlet in the face inside the box when trying to clear from a corner.
Samuel ran to the far end of the pitch to celebrate with the 5,000 strong home crowd only to return 60 seconds later when he doubled the lead for St Vincent on 27 minutes. One long ball from the back from Chester Morgan sent the speedy Shandel Samuel through on goal and he calmly slotted the ball past the advancing keeper to send the already jubilant home fans into fits of rapture.
3 minutes later and it was déjà vu for Hilton in the Montserrat goal as Sheldon’s pace yet again sent the hat trick crusader through on goal licking his lips as he dreamed of running to the home crowd for a third time in the space of 5 minutes. On this occasion the gods smiled on coach Dyer and Hilton snuffed out the danger with a brave dive at the feet of the lethal Samuel.
The Vincy Heat kept up the pressure in the second half and made it three 11 minutes after the restart. Myron Samuel picked up an attempted clearance on the edge of the Montserrat box and although his clipped pass was controlled by Montserrat defender Kenneth Dyer, Damol Francis had other ideas as he knicked the ball off the bewildered dithering defenders knee and slotted the ball home under the legs of a helpless Hilton.
With Montserrat now in total disarray at the back Shandel Samuel walked past an ever stagnant defence and unselfishly crossed for his cousin Myron Samuel from 8 yards whose shot was brilliantly saved by Hilton only for the newly instated captain Cornelius Stewart to crown his debut game with the armband with an acrobatic finish from the rebound and into the open net.
Samuels completed a glorious personal night and earned his hat trick on 67 minutes when he easily converted from a fantastic run and cross from Emerald George.
Thankfully for Montserrat Samuels was substituted one minute after claiming his third of the night.
Things only got worse though as Vincy Heat made it 6 after 70 minutes when Chad Balcombe was the first to pounce after Hilton had saved well from Stewarts initial shot. This coming inevitably after an ill disciplined Ellis Remy received his marching orders after a rash challenge earned him his second yellow card of the night.
Substitute Ramon Snagg completed the route on 89 minutes when he chipped over Hilton for the seventh and final goal and followed the same team celebration for the seventh time as all the players ran to the corner flag to dance their delight in front of an ecstatic home crowd who were in seventh heaven with the Heat players.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines: 1. Dwaine Sandy 2 Oscar Nero 5 Chester Morgan 8 Daren Hamlet 9 Myron Samuel 10 Shandel Samuel (Chad Balcombe 68 mins) 12. Seinad Bowens (7 Romano Snagg 46 mins) 13 Damol Francis (11. Emerald George 60 mins) 16 Jolanshoy McDonald 18 Keith James 22 Cornelius Stewart
Montserrat: 1. Micah Hamilton 3 Clifford Joseph 4 Linbert Wright ( 23. Kenneth Dyer 46 mins) 6 Stanford Jarret 8 Pete Phyll 10 Julian Wade 11 Junior Mendes 7. Steve Stewart (13. Synclair Anderson 46 mins) 19 Benjamin Manning (9. Vlaimer Farrell 61 mins) 18 Ellis Ramy 24 Leovan O Garro
Referee: Antonius Pinas
Assistant Referee 1 – Nehron Williams
Assistant Referee 2 – John Durand