Barbados Tridents had a fair share of ball possession and several goal-scoring opportunities, but the result was a goalless stalemate against Bermuda Gombey Warriors yesterday at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
The much anticipated international friendly between the two countries did not bring about the type of excitement spectators had hoped to see considering Bermuda were beaten 3-2 at home five months ago by the talented Bajans and came to settle the score.
Barbados had quite a few opportunities to reproduce that winning performance against the visitors having dominated offensively with 55 percent of ball possession. They had a total of nine shots at goal with five on target and two corner kicks.
During the post-match interview, Barbados Football Association’s technical director, Ahmed Mohammed, credited his team for playing well and said the idea was to keep improving going forward.
“We played much different than we did in Bermuda even though they did have the same squad. We watched the game they played against Antigua and for us it was a lot easier because we knew what they can do, and I knew they would struggle on the Astro Turf and with the weather,” Mohammed said.
One of the main challenges for Barbados during yesterday’s match was being unable to finish upfront and Mohammed gave his take on that situation. “We had couple mistakes and normally we struggle in the first ten to 15 minutes but this time we did not have that. We had some situations [yes] that our defender especially Shane [Codrington] was nervous but over time things worked out for us.
“Going forward we must work on our final third and make sure on one chance, one goal. To be honest I wanted to punish them the same way as we did in Bermuda and that chance was there. Lucky for them the youngster at 15-years-old [Thierry Gale] did not score but the idea was to give them the final rocket punch as we did in Bermuda with a 16-year-old [ Dishon ‘Eto’ Howell who scored the last two goals for Barbados and led his team to a 3-2 victory].”
With three minutes of extra time on the board, St Leonard’s schoolboys and Pro-Shottas top striker Gale came on to replace captain Rashad Jules and join his schoolmate Howell upfront.
Those two along with Ackeel Applewhaite kept Bermuda backline on their toes and with full support from his teammates on the Under-20 squad, Gale almost created a fairytale start to his international debut for Barbados.
Teriq Highland, one of Barbados’ back four was called into action and cleared a long searching ball over the top to the right where midfielder Darico King majestically controlled it on his chest before taking it down onto his boot and passing off to Gale who went one on one with Bermuda’s custodian Jahquil Hill but was unable to compose himself under pressure and chipped the ball over the top of the goal bars to the disappointment of the supportive home spectators.
Earlier on in the opening half, the offensive playmakers for Barbados in attacking midfielder Jules and lone striker in Zeco Edmee had chances, but they were unable to gel as well as they should and the wonderful plays by Hadan Holligan, Raheim Sargeant, Jomo Harris and Akeem Hill in the midfield went in vain.
The first chance at goal came about during the first two minutes of the game when Barbados earned themselves a corner kick which was taken by Jules. The ball curled towards the left far post and almost found the back of the nets but exceptional defending by Daren Usher with a great forehead clearance denied Tridents that opportunity. Then a minute before half-time, Barbados won themselves a free kick taken yet again by Jules. He found Holligan with a diving header that almost got past the ever-reliable Bermudan goalkeeper Hill who pulled off yet another superb save.
The visitors had a few half chances of their own but Barbados’ back four led by Ranaldo Bailey and 20-year-old debutant Carl Hinkson were on the ball and received great support from Shane Codrington and Highland, doing well to cover Barbados’ number one goalkeeper, and lone professional player, Keasel Broomes.