Grenada 7 USVI 0
By Franklin Wilson
Jamaica’s Junior ‘Reggae Boyz’ have booked their place in the CONCACAF final round of qualifying for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup following their 2-0 win over Guyana’s Junior ‘Golden Jaguars’ at the Guyana National Stadium Providence, last night.
The win for the Jamaicans ensured they won the group outright, recording wins over Grenada 6-1 and the United States Virgin Islands 13-0; scoring a total of 21 goals and conceding just a solitary one.
Leading the lads from Reggae land was the prolific scorer Craig Foster who netted the brace to follow up his hat-tricks against both Grenada and the USVI to end this leg of qualifying with a whopping 8 goals from 3 matches.
The opening game yesterday produced a solid 7-0 win for Grenada over the whipping boys of the tournament, the USVI who conceded a total of 23 goals whilst scoring only once, against Guyana from the penalty spot.
It was a good bonus win for the Grenadians who ended third in the group. They were led by Moron Phillip who achieved a helmet-trick banging the nets in the 26th, 38th, 83rd and the first minute of added on time (90+1). Mickey Ganness scored double (48 & 59) with the other coming off the boot of Alex Jones in the 68th.
The young Guyana side started the game not as confident and hungry as they should have thereby allowing the Jamaicans way too much space and time with the ball. The visitors were very attacking and they brought Guyana’s goalkeeper Richie Richards into the action quite early.
Such was the forceful nature of the Jamaicans that 8 minutes into the game they forced four (4) consecutive corners and indeed looked very threatening.
But unlike their other two matches, Jamaica were not able to score early, they netted against Grenada in the first minute (11 seconds) and against eth USVI by the 6th minute; on both occasions it was their leading goal scorer, Foster.
But they did not wait for too long to crank their way into scoring mode against the local side. Experienced midfield player Bevon Moseley who looked off his game failed to be precise with a pass and gave up possession to Jamaica’s Devon Williams who smartly slipped the ball through to the nippy Foster to ease past the high defence of the Guyanese and nail his shot past Richards 17 minutes on.
The first corner for Guyana came in the 25th minute when Trayon Bobb who played well, drilled a well taken shot that was pushed away by Jamaica’s custodian Gregory McKogg just outside the right post.
The corner was taken and Guyana came close to drawing level but could have easily conceded their second goal if Jamaica were not denied on the counterattack which saw the young Guyanese racing back to avoid, and they did.
But soon after, Foster was on target for the eighth time in three matches. It was another good build up by Jamaica on Guyana’s left and again, some poor marking and goalkeeping was capitalized upon by Foster in the 26th minute – Jamaica 2 Guyana 0.
Gradually, Guyana came into their own with Bobb again forcing McKogg into bring off another good save but this time the alert defence cleared the ball into touch for Guyana’s second corner in the 3nd minute. The final 10 minutes of the half saw Guyana exerting pressure of Jamaica, created quite a few chances but were not able make their efforts count effectively in the final third.
The second half saw the Junior ‘Golden Jaguars’ being relentless in attack but again, many chances were wasted as Jamaica looked more and more vulnerable to conceding. Changes were made by the Guyanese Technical staff, Bevon Moseley was replaced by Marco Marcus in the 53rd minute as it became more clear that goals were needed and urgently.
Soon after Eon Alleyne was introduced into the game for Keoma Sullivan. Jamaica substituted Richardo Morris with Ewan Grandison.
Guyana continued to press forward but goals seemed to be very elusive and that punch and zest up front were not seen.
Their third change was forced following an injury to Sheldon Holder who was replaced by Telson McKinnon. Jamaica could have increased the lead in the final moments when Richards raced way off his line to dispossess a Jamaican player, completely missed the ball and player who tried squaring the ball into the open goal but the Guyanese defence quickly cleared the ball back into play.
Many fans were disappointed that Guyana were not able to beat the Jamaicans who have now advanced to the 12 team CONCACAF finals set for Guatemala April 3-17.
Guyana will have to play the group runners-up of Groups A (Cuba, St. Kitts & Nevis, Netherlands Antilles & British Virgin Islands) kicking off November 7; Group B, now a three team playoff between Guadeloupe, Bermuda and Antigua & Barbuda commencing October 20- Haiti pulling out of the group. Group D features Suriname, Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
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