Barbados Under-15 national football team turned in a stunning performance last night at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf to trash Dominica 5-1 in the first of four international friendlies in preparation for the CONCACAF Championships next month.
From the sound of the referee’s whistle, the home boys showed that they were definitely thirsty for some much needed international exposure, pressing the Dominicans high into their own half and controlling the game on defence and on the attack.
The young tridents enjoyed the majority of the possession early on. Thierry Gale and Jalen Gilkes were pulling the strings in the middle of the park, assisted by captain Rashon “Speedy” Gittens and it was only matter of time before the opening goal came.
With sixteen minutes on the clock Jamahli Hutson found space down the right flank and delivered a beautifully timed cross into the box which was poorly dealt with by Dominica and Kyle Lewis lost his marker to give Barbados the precious one goal advantage.
Barbados nearly got a second goal just before half-time. A wave of attacks resulted in a corner taken by Hutson, centre-back Andre Applewhaite was left free in the penalty area but his headed effort fell whiskers away from the Dominican net and the score remained the same at half-time.
When the players resumed for the second half, the Dominicans played with more purpose, stringing together a number of passes and hitting the Barbadians on the counterattack at every possible opportunity.
The Bajan lads found it hard to handle the pressure and before they knew it the Dominicans were back on level terms.
A poor goal kick from the Bajan custodian put the defence under pressure and that paved the way for the equaliser. Audel Laville used his pace well and burst towards goal and he was one on one with the keeper when he poked the ball home to make the score 1-1.
Moments later, Dominica had the opportunity to flip the script and take the lead but the finish was way over the bar.
Three minutes on and the local boys would restore their lead. Rashon Gittens made a trademark run down the right-hand side, cut in on his favourite left foot and took a shot from just outside the box going straight through the hands of the Dominican keeper and into the back of the nets.
It went from bad to worse for the boys from Roseau and Barbados would get on the score sheet again. Comfortable passing in the midfield led to crowd favourite Thierry Gale breaking free of his Dominican marker and easily placing the ball to the keeper’s right for a 3-1 score much to the delight of the fans.
At this stage of the game, Dominica looked down and out but the Bajans weren’t finished just yet. Brilliant work on the left flank by winger Abiola Grant who whipped in an inviting cross into the box was topped by what was arguably the goal of the night as substitute Axel Funk volleyed a right-foot shot into the back of the net to make the score 4-1 in the 56th minute.
Barbados would grab one more just for good measure, with just a couple minutes left in the match Applewhaite would get a bite of the cookie as he towered over the Dominican defence to head home at the back post to seal the 5-1 victory for Barbados.