Polished Boyz thrash Antigua & Barbuda

Polished Boyz thrash Antigua & Barbuda

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS Assistant Sport Editor

Sunday, November 16, 2014

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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — With a more polished performance than their near disastrous 1-1 draw with Martinique in their first outing, Jamaica's Reggae Boyz cheered up fans with a 3-0 win over Antigua & Barbuda in their must-win game in the CFU Caribbean Cup at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Friday night.

And their coach Winfried Schaefer is savouring the performance and the result, which effectively put the Boyz back on track in their quest to be crowned Caribbean Champions on home soil.

The German particularly singled out the "fighting spirit" exhibited by a team that faced the possibility of an early exit from the competition after their Group B draw with their French-speaking neighbours, because only winning consistently, it seemed, is the only truly guarantee for success in the eight-team championship.

"I like the way the players fight for the country, everybody, even those who come from overseas... the team played well tonight (Friday) and I am satisfied, but it's clear that we have to win the next match," said Schaefer after the match.

"I must pay a big compliment to our senior players as they stepped up tonight (Friday). Players like (Rodolph) Austin, (Jobi) McAnuff, (Jermaine) Taylor and others. I am happy," he added.

While Jamaica and Haiti are locked on four points each in Group B from two games, the French-speaking island nation lead the zone by virtue of scoring more goals, five, to Jamaica's four. Both teams enjoy a plus three goal difference.

Haiti soared to the top after defeating Martinique by an identical 3-0 in the evening's opening contest.

Haiti and Antigua & Barbuda had tied their first match 2-2.

Only the winner of each of the two groups will progress to the final slated for Tuesday night. The groups' runners-up will play for third in the curtain-raiser of the double-header.

On a wet Montego Bay evening, Harbour View's Kemar Lawrence got the Jamaicans on their way in the 29th minute, and his effort was followed by strikes from Darren Mattocks (44th) and captain Rodolph Austin (85th).

In the opening game, Haiti defeated Martinique 3-0 with goals from Wilde Guerrier in the 52nd minute and substitute Kervens Belfort in the 63rd and 90th minutes.

Jamaica's first foray into the opponents' danger area came when Bodo/Glimt front man Dane Richards turned his man inside out before crossing, but Mattocks could not make contact.

Antigua responded almost immediately through Peter Beyers, who drifted wide after being fed a long ball from the left, but his right-footed volley went straight to Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake.

In the eighth minute, Richards, not from the flanks this time, released strike partner Mattocks from the centre, but the Vancouver Whitecaps ace could not pull the trigger as he was closely watched all the way.

But Antigua had another moment of enterprising attacking play in the 18th minute, and with space opening up for Myles Weston, the latter failed to make the opportunity count and his final shot crawled wide.

Three minutes later the Eastern Caribbean nation, host of the last Caribbean Cup, threatened the Jamaican goal when Joshua Parker rifled goalward from the edge of the box, but Blake, caught off his line, got the measure on the shot and tipped over the horizontal.

After toiling in the vineyard, Jamaica got the breakthrough goal in the 29th minute. From a low-driven free-kick into the area by captain Rodolph Austin, wing back Kemar Lawrence, with back to goal, coolly controlled, turned his man to slide the ball wide of goalkeeper James Molvin.

Jobi McAnuff, who plays football at League One Leyton Orient, continued his good showing in the tournament when he launched a long-ranger in minute 33, forcing Molvin into another save.

And after persistent probing, Jamaica added another goal when the Richards-Mattocks partnership finally paid dividends. From the right side, Richards centred a low ball in, and Mattocks arrived in time to tap home.

In time added, Richards again floated a ball forward for Mattocks to run on to, but a timely foot from a recovering Antigua defender denied the forward his second of the night and his third in the tournament.

Like inseparable twins, Richards and Mattocks combined again in the 50th minute, with the former floating a ball in, but this time his partner in crime could not successfully pull off the caper and the header down did not give the goalkeeper much to think about.

McAnuff continued his talismanic performance in the midfield, dribbling, scheming, orchestrating cute one-two passes and having a go at goal himself at times.

In the 65th minute, he worked his way into a great shooting position, and he could not resist the temptation and he let fly his shot that crashed violently into the chest of goalkeeper Molvin, but no Jamaican was close enough to pounce on the rebound.

Another good-looking opportunity came Jamaica's way in the 70th minute, but Derby County's Simon Dawkins could not beat the goalkeeper.

Only three minutes had elapsed before Jamaica showed their dangerous side yet again, this time through Richards, who blazed into the box for a scorcher, but the 'keeper threw his bulky frame behind the canon.

As Jamaica maintained their hunt for more goals, DC United's Michael Seaton squandered a great chance in the 83th minute, skying the ball from close.

And a minute later, Hughan Gray, charging down the right side, unleashed a thunder of a shot that crashed onto the woodwork, and went outside.

But finally in the 85th minute, Jamaica got another precious goal when skipper Austin got up head and shoulder above everyone else to head home from a left-sided cross.

Teams: Jamaica -- Andre Blake, Alvas Powell, Jermaine Taylor, Hughan Gray, Kemar Lawrence, Rodolph Austin, Jobi McAnuff (Romario Campbell 83rd), Je-Vaughn Watson, Simon Dawkins (Michael Seaton 75th), Darren Mattocks (Joel Grant 64th) and Dane Richards.

Subs not used: Nyron Nosworthy, Craig Foster, Upston Edwards, Nicholy Finlayson, Demar Phillips, Ryan Thompson, Jamar Loza, Deshorn Brown, Duwayne Kerr

Booked: Watson (77th)

Antigua & Barbuda -- Joshua Parker, Zaine Francis-Angol (Connor Peters 45th), Keiran Murtagh, Myles Weston, Qunton Griffith, Nathaniel Jarvis (Tamorley Thomas 55th), Aaron Tumwa, Peter Byles, Molvin James, John Jorin, Akeem Thomas.

Subs not used: Brenton Muhammad, Alvin Jarvis, Karanja Mack, TeVaughn Harriette, Calam Martin, Randolph Burton, Prince Walter, Jordan Smith, Christopher Cordara-Sonaes.

Booked: Parker (70th)

Referee: Ricardo Cerdas (Costa Rica)

Assistant Referees: Jairo Morales (Puerto Rico), Ramon Louisville (T&T)

Fourth Official: Leo Clarke (St Lucia)

Match Commissioner: Marl Campbell (Cayman)

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