Antigua & Barbuda net big returns

Antigua & Barbuda opened its Digicel Caribbean Championship in Grand Cayman with a clinical 4-0 demolition of an outclassed Bermuda on Wednesday.

Antigua & Barbuda started cashing in after only three minutes when Bermudas No. 1 and Captain Timothey Figuerido went walkabout, leaving his goal exposed to an easy finish for Jamie Thomas, who strolled it over the line.

Antigua continued to press, sensing an advantage not only in pace but in vision as well, so it came as little surprise that in minute 15 Stephen Astwood would fashion another goal-den opportunity. Astwood would neatly evade two defenders, before scooping the ball into the box for a first time shot that would stretch Figuerido to his limit.

Minute 20 saw a rasping 25 yard effort from Bermuda’s Jemieko Jennings force Javid Joseph in Antigua and Barbuda’s goal into a great reflex save onto the bar, as Bermuda started to create passing triangles that had Antigua & Barbuda on their heels. The very next trip up field, Bermuda would feel hard done by to have a penalty shout turned down as Reginald Lambe scurried into the box, only to be felled by Dave Carr.

Just three minutes later it was Antigua & Barbuda’s turn to appeal for a penalty as Randolph Burton continued to torment Bermudas backline, his appeal was accepted and a penalty awarded. Jamie Thomas struck it home side footed from the spot, sending the keeper the wrong way. 2-0 to Antigua & Barbuda: the match now taking on a more predictable outcome. The irony of the score line, however, was that it was Bermuda who looked the better organized of the two teams for large portions of the first half. However, the second goal seemed to have broken their spirit.

The second half heralded the disappearance of those Bermudian triangles of play, with Damon Ming’s first half wing dynasty, and soufflé light crossing deflated when he was double teamed out of the game, effectively shutting out Bermudas major creative force.

However Ming would be involved in Bermuda’s best attacking move of the game, building from the back, passing through midfield, Bermuda would switch play over to the right wing where Ming’s teasing cross saw John Nusum charge in for a powerful header that was denied once more by Joseph in goal.

The match would be put beyond all doubt in minute 62 when a defensive lapse saw Randolph Burton latch onto the faux pas, before slotting home coolly with the keeper at his mercy.

Bermuda would only fashion one more attempt at goal in the second half as Antigua & Barbuda played possession football to good effect. The entrance of substitute Okeem Challenger proved a stroke of genius, as he was able to reinterpret the hand of god goal with just his second touch of the game, after breaking into the box the burly striker received a pass from Jamie Thomas that struck his hand and fell nicely for the low finish to make it 4-0.

It was almost 5-0 when man of the match Jamie Thomas cut in from the left flank to fire a right footed pile driver from an acute angle that almost snapped the post in half. By this stage Antigua & Barbuda were walking through the backline so it came as a small mercy when the final whistle blew.

Final score Antigua & Barbuda 4 Bermuda 0.Putting the twin islanders atop the standings with 3 points, to set up a clash with French speaking St. Martin in their next fixture of the Digicel Caribbean Championships 2008.

Bermuda: 1. Timothey Figuerido, 2. Darius Cox, 4. Kijuan Franks, 5. Antonio Lowe, 7. Damon Ming, (12. Jason Davis min 78), 8. John Nusum, 9. Stephen Astwood, (19. Tumani Jennings min 70). 11. Reginald Lambe, (15. Devaun Degraff min 55), 14. Roger Lee, 18. Khano Smith, 21. Jemieko Jennings.

Subs: 6. Kristofer Frick, 13. Nigel Burgess, 16. Casey Castle

Antigua & Barbuda: 2. Ranja Christian, 3. Dave Carr, 4. Karanja Mack, 5. Garfield Gonsales, 6. Damian Farrel, (9. Roy Gregory min 70), 7. Randolph Burton, 8. Teran Williams, 10. Desmond Bleau, 11. Jamie Thomas (16.Okeem Challenger min 70), 12. Ken Pennyfeather, 18. Javid Joseph.

Subs: 1. Keita Decastro, 13. Akeem Thomas, 14. Troy Mellanson, 15. Rackley Thomas

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