Hosts Trinidad & Tobago beat Jamaica 1-0 in a fiercely contested game at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad lastnight to become the 2014 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Women champions.
Mariah Shade scored the winner in the eighth minute of a high-tempo game in relatively cool evening conditions.
Despite the patchy playing surface, both teams thrilled at times with their close ball skills and good passing, but there were no further goals.
The hosts, buoyed by the vibrant atmosphere provided by the few hundred spectators at the venue, dominated first half ball possession, outside of the very early lively burst from the Jamaicans.
The Soca Princesses scored off their first real attack when Shade was left unmarked to the inside-left position of the Jamaican defence. She controlled an aerial pass she received and rifled past goalkeeper Nicole McClure.
Jamaica’s leading goal scorer Shakira Duncan could have equalised soon after on a counter-attacking move. The nifty striker was played through on goal by Jodi-Ann McGregor’s lofted pass in the 19th minute, but she was muscled off the ball by retreating defender Arin King.
In the 41st minute, Jamaica’s Christina Murray shot wide of goal from 22 yards, though the Trinidad ‘keeper Kimika Forbes was off her line.
Two minutes later, the hosts should have stretched their lead when the speedy Kennya Cordner set up Janine Francois, however the latter headed tamely wide of the mark.
The second half saw Jamaica wresting more of the possession, and they came closest to equalising in the 51st minute when a T&T defender’s clearance ricocheted off Duncan’s head and hit the upright. After striking the goal frame, the ball bounced harmlessly across the face of goal.
Jamaica seriously threatened twice again through the enterprise of substitute Shaneka Gordon.
In the 84th minute, Gordon’s half-volleyed effort was deflected wide and two minutes later, she struck another left-footed shot that sneaked wide of Forbes’ far post as the encounter ended in tense fashion.
In the third-place play-off, Haiti, runners-up to Jamaica in Group A, drubbed fellow French-speaking outfit Martinique 5-1.
Martinique were second to T&T in Group B.
All four teams have sealed spots to the CONCACAF Championship to be held in the United States in October.