FC Halifax Town: “The group’s making massive progress” says Allen after Montserrat narrowly miss out on World Cup qualification
Jamie Allen says Montserrat are making “massive progress” after just missing out on qualification for next year’s World Cup.
Montserrat finished second in their group, two points off first-placed El Salvador, but were unbeaten in four games, and won their final two matches against US Virgin Islands and Greneda earlier this month.
“It’s a massive achievement,” Allen says of their second-placed finish.
“We were unbeaten, which is also a big achievement.
“Playing against El Salvador, everyone expected them to beat us by a few goals, and we drew 1-1 with them, which was a great result.
“Looking back, we’d probably look at the Antigua game, which we were expected to win, and that’s probably what’s cost us in the end. If we’d beaten them, and we’d scored more against the US Virgin Islands, we’d have probably had a chance of qualifying.
“But to be unbeaten in the group shows how much progress we’re making.
“The group’s making massive progress. To be disappointed at finishing second, and drawing 1-1 with El Salvador, just shows how far we’ve come, and we’re looking to progress even more.”
Allen started both games, playing the full 90 minutes against Greneda, having played 70 minutes against US Virgin Islands.
“I’m still managing my shoulder injury,” said Allen. “I took a little knock on that which was quite painful.
“We started slow against US Virgin Islands, but second-half we really turned it on.
“If we’d started like we did in the second-half, we would’ve got more than four goals.
“Against Greneda, again we started quite slow but we managed to get the job done, and that’s the sign of a good team.”
On his own performances in both games, Allen said: “I came away with another assist, which is nice, that I helped the team. I probably could have got a goal or two, but it’s a team game and I’m happy that the team did well, that’s the main thing.”
Montserrat played in the Dominican Republic against the US Virgin Islands before playing in Greneda in-front of a limited number of spectators.
“It’s worth it once you land and once you’re there, but when you’re flying and waiting around, it’s very physically demanding, and mentally,” said Allen.
“But I wouldn’t change it for the world, I can’t complain, travelling the world to play football, I love it.”
Up next for Montserrat, who are ranked 180th in the world, is a qualification game for the Gold Cup, which takes place from July 10 to August 1 in the US, against Trinidad and Tobago on July 3.
“We go to Miami to play at Inter Miami’s stadium, an if we win that, we get through to play another game, and if we win that, then we’re staying in Miami for the Gold Cup,” said Allen.
“So it’s a one-off game.
“If we progress, I believe the first game will be against Mexico, so hopefully we can win these two games and progress. There’s no reason why we can’t.
“I believe the last time they (Montserrat) missed out by a point or by goal difference, so they’ve been close in the past but I don’t think they’ve actually got there.
“Hopefully it’s only a matter of time.”
Allen is bullish about Montserrat’s chances against the team ranked 103rd in the world.
“We go into a lot of games being the underdog, but it doesn’t faze us, we just do what we’re good at,” he said.
“If we can put up a good performance and a good result against El Salvador there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t do it against Trinidad and Tobago, and other teams, because El Salvador are looked at as one of the big boys, so we’ve got no reason to fear Trinidad and Tobago going into the game.
“We’ve got a good dressing room, we’re all close. Having a good dressing room can take you a long way, and we’ve got ability as well, we’ve got league players, ex-league players,
“So there’s no reason not to be confident because we’re good players and we’ve got a good dressing room.”
Allen added: “The whole island is behind us, it’s only a tiny island, the population’s only 5,000.
“I believe a singer there has just released a song for us which has gone quite big on the island. Everybody’s behind us.”