Barbados’ strident early efforts came to nothing last night as they were defeated 2-0 by Jamaica in a friendly football international at the National Stadium.
The Reggae Boyz, who are rated at number 80 in the world, though the dominant side in the encounter, were initially kept at bay by the Bajan lads in a match that was goalless at the half-time whistle.
The Bajan Tridents’ backline were skilfully marshaled by centre-back Rommell Burgess. He was outstanding in repelling a number of the Jamaican forays into dangerous positions but his exit from the game with a shoulder injury 30 minutes into the second half left a gaping hole in Barbados’ defence and the visitors would duly exploit it.
Within minutes of Burgess’ departure, Barbados’ goal-keeper Jason Boxhill was taking the ball out of the back of his nets – twice. Striker Darren Mattocks hammered the ball past Boxhill to give the Jamaicans a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute. Six minutes later, striker Deshorn Brown scored off a corner to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage which they never looked like relinquishing.
Prior to Jamaica opening their account, forward Jamal Chandler had sent a powerful left-foot shot that thundered off the right goal post but that would prove the closest sniff the hosts got to a goal.
For Barbados, Mario Harte was a disappointment up front, though service to him was not entirely plentiful. Carl Joseph had a good game but noticeably tired in the second-half against opponents who appeared eager to run the entire night.
Making their international debuts for Barbados in the match were defenders Zico Philips, Teriq Highland, Akeem Browne and mid-fieder Romario Harewood, as well as strikers Chai Lloyd and Jabarry Chandler, Jamal’s sibling.
Despite the loss, the 168th ranked Barbados team were not disgraced and with a bit more creativity in the midfield and perhaps some overlapping runs from their defenders, they might have created an even better impression. They were coming up against a young, fit Jamaican squad with a number of players plying their trade professionally in the United States’ Major League Soccer (MLS).
Among the MLS players who turned out for the Jamaicans were the goal-scorers Mattocks and Brown along with their 17-year-old prodigy Michael Seaton who plays for DC United in the MLS and recently attended a training stint at Inter Milan in Italy.
The game between the Tridents and the Reggae Boyz heralded the start of the 2014 Barbados Football Association season. It was the first time for two years that international football was played at the National Stadium.