Stamford AFC striker Ryan Robbins made his international debut in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday) as he started for St Kitts and Nevis in their first World Cup 2018 qualifier.
St Kitts and Nevis beat Turks and Caicos Islands 6-2 at Warner Park in Basseterre, St Kitts.
St Kitts and Nevis were expected to win the first of their double header as they are currently ranked 121st in the world by FIFA and their opponents in the opening round of qualifying are just 176th in the world.
Robbins was replaced after 50 minutes but not before he had made his mark.
At about the half hour mark Robbins broke down the left flank on one of his trademark powerful surges and picked out Gerard Williams in the middle who finished well but the goal was ruled offside.
In an action packed opening to the game St Kitts won a penalty but then crashed the effort off the bar to give the visitors a momentary reprieve. But it did not last for long, St Kitts captain Atiba Harris opened the scoring in the 17th minute before San Antonio Scorpions player and national captain Billy Forbes levelled for the Turks and Caicos Islands five minutes later.
Things got worse for St Kitts who then lost Mudassa Howe to a red card after just 27 minutes. However they scored two late goals in the first half to wrestle back control by half time.
First Thrizen Leader gave his side the lead when he reacted first to a scramble in the box and then Orlando Mitchum extended the lead on the stroke of half time with a volley from 25 yards which squirmed under the Turks and Caicos keeper Jones.
Tishan Hanley opened the scoring for St Kitts after the break, again from long distance, but with a one man advantage the visitors were dangerous and pulled a goal back, this time an own goal for Gerard Williams after Forbes had fired the ball back across the box.
Marc Fenelus was close to adding a third for Turks and Caicos after a surging run but his shot went just over the crossbar.
Forbes was proving a real handful and in some end to end action he went close again.
But in the closing stages St Kitts put the game beyond reach, first Errol O’Loughlin curled the ball in from the edge of the box and then Mitchum made it six in the 90th minute with a tap in.
The two teams meet again on Thursday at the TCIFA National Academy in Providenciales. Kick off is 7pm local time, 11pm UK time.
The winners of the tie will go through to play El Salvador in the next phase of qualifying.