St. Johns, ANTIGUA 19th August, 2023
It was honours even at ABFA Technical Center between host Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados on match day 2 of the CFU Challenge Series u14 Girls. Playing in the final match of the day, the teams battled to a 1-1 draw.
Antigua & Barbuda coming off of a two goal loss in their opening match looked to turn their fortunes around by coming out on the offensive. Their determination was rewarded as early as the 2nd minute of play through a Nadia’s Quashie conversion. Pacey winger Rolesha Humphrey was brought down just outside the penalty area and the diminutive forward got onto the end of a well delivered cross by Aliyah London.
The host continued to attack Barbados in wide areas with purposeful running by Humphrey and Keitonya Skepple. Barbados looked to stem the tide through enterprising play by Jadae’ Lorde and Janiyah Nurse in midfield. It was Nurse who got the first attempt on goal for her team, with only a spectacular save from Alyssa Laviscount denying the equalizer from close range in the 14’. Antigua & Barbuda could have extended their lead a few minutes later but the final pass was out of reach of Quasie after some good build up play by Antigua & Barbuda.
The equalizer did come for Barbados not too long after. Laviscount got her finger tips to a teasing cross from the left side but could only manage to put the ball into the path of Lorde who made no mistake in scoring her second goal in as many matches. The response was almost immediate from the host and it was Humphreys again causing Barbados some nerves, but her shot from close range went wide. Both teams went into the break tied at one goal each.
On resumption, Barbados looked to carry the attack to Antigua & Barbuda and Laviscount was called into action to keep Barbados at bay, twice picking off dangerous crosses early in the second half. The introduction of Iressiea Allen brought some energy to the host and she came close to restoring her team’s advantage in the 48’, but her lobbed attempt went narrowly over the crossbar, much to the relief of the Bajan contingent. Allen continued to use her pace and skill to try to unsettle the Bajan defense looking to combine with Quashie and Humphreys while Skepple continued to battle in wide areas, unfortunately a few half chances failed to materialize.
Lorde thought she had given her team the win 3 minutes from the end of the match when she skillfully created some space at the top of the penalty area but shot straight to substitute custodian Serenity Colbourne. Four added minutes provided the opportunity for the host to grab the winner but Allen had her shot inside the penalty area charged down, some dogged defending by Barbados to snuff out the goal scoring chance.
As the dust settled on match day 2, a point took Barbados 4 points and top of the Group B in Tier II, while Antigua & Barbuda got off the mark.