U-15s notch second win at CONCACAF championships

| 16/08/2017
CNS Local Life

U-15 National Team prior to Bonaire match

(CNS Local Life): The Cayman Islands Under 15 Boys’ National Football team secured a second victory in the 2017 CONCACAF Under 15 Boys’ Championships with a 3-1 win over Bonaire on Tuesday, 15 August, at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Fresh off their opening victory over Aruba on Sunday morning, the coaching staff decided to remain with the same starting line-up.

Eager to begin the game on a positive note, the local boys attacked from the opening whistle and within 10 minutes the Bonaire defence was barely hanging on as Cayman notched five shots on target, stated a Cayman Islands Football Association press release.

In the 14th minute, Cayman took the lead. Corey Smith broke down the left flank and sent a low cross into Bonaire’s penalty area where Gunnar Studenhofft was lurking. Young Studenhofft could only lift his shot on to the crossbar but Jahmai Griffiths was on hand to finish off the rebound.

With the early lead, the local boys settled into the game and began spraying passes from side to side.

In the 34th minute, Cayman added to their lead and goal scorer Griffiths was again involved. His low drive from just outside the penalty area was parried by Bonaire’s goalkeeper directly into the path of Jonah Sigsworth, who made no mistake with his effort.

Comfortable with the 2-0 lead going into halftime, the local boys had played a very good half but with 35 minutes to go, the key to winning the game would be to avoid a “meltdown” and allow Bonaire back into the game. In the 54th minute, Bonaire pulled a goal back after a lapse in the Cayman defence.

The goal triggered a rash of substitutes from the Cayman bench as Victor Thompson entered the game for Griffiths, Jackson Kirkconnell for Sigsworth, Kameron Bennett for Smith, Jared Ebanks for Daniel Wallace, Joshua Small for Studenhofft and Jahrion Bodden for Ciaron Haylock.

With six players entering the fray in a relatively short period of time, the local boys “discovered their second wind” as Bennett restored his team’s two-goal lead as he cut in from the left flank and rounded the Bonaire goalkeeper before depositing his shot into the empty net.

Team captain Luke Byles came very close to extending the local boys’ lead but his headed effort from a corner smashed against the post.

Bennett and Small had opportunities to add to the lead but their efforts were thwarted by some last-ditched defending from Bonaire’s defence.

Cayman’s central defenders Luke Byles and Tommy Kehoe, and central midfielders Micah O’Garro and Barry-Dre Tibbetts, along with goalkeeper Theo Whiteside, were exceptional throughout the game. Their staunch defending and vision going forward contributed greatly to the valuable win.

The Cayman Islands face Saint Martin today (16 August) in the final Group G game.

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Category: Football, Sports

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