One of Cayman’s national youth football teams kicked off the New Year in grand fashion last week.
The national U23 football team took down Bodden Town FC 3-0 in an exhibition match last Wednesday.
Darvin Watson Jr, Raheem Robinson and Theron Wood were the goal scorers.
Coming into the match the U23 team had not lost in their last two matches.
Meanwhile Bodden Town came in with good showings in local football. The squad was second in the Cayman Islands Football Association Premier League and tied atop the CIFA First Division with North Side.
The match was played at 7:30pm in front of a sizable crowd at the Annex Field in George Town.
The match was originally scheduled to be held at Ed Bush Field in West Bay but was changed.
Last Wednesday’s match would see the U23 side start out well from the get-go. The players passed well, stayed calm on the backline and made plenty of runs into the Bodden Town defense.
There they would keep possession of the ball, survey the defense and make good decisions.
Attacking players like Mark Ebanks and Watson Jr would be a thorn for BT sending in crisp crosses and hard shots that were on target for the most part.
As a result, the Bodden Town keeper would be tested early and often. On the whole he did well to get in position to make saves.
But the constant pressure would see two goals get by him in the first half courtesy of Watson Jr and Robinson.
On the other hand the Bodden Town frontline would string some runs together and get some chances of their own.
Bodden Town coach Elbert McLean could be heard urging his players forward and encouraging them to get on the attack.
However U23 keeper Donald ‘Naddy’ Solomon Jr would be up to the task and turn away most shots rather easily though a few would force quality saves.
Solomon Jr, normally a defender, started because Ramon Sealy was unavailable due to his commitment to an upcoming cricket tour to Argentina.
By and large the pace of the game was dictated by the midfielders and the U23 side won that battle time and again.
Players like Dave McLaughlin Jr and Tex Whitelocke would do their part in winning possession of errant passes and making the right passes from the middle to spring attacks on goal.
At half-time the score would read two-nil. Aside from when the goals were scored, the crowd that was there for the match was quiet and at halftime they were no different.
Nevertheless National U23 Coach Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour would loudly urge his side to keep focused, make the right passes and keep up the pressure.
The start of the second half saw a number of changes for the U23 side in an effort to rest players.
Nevertheless the offense didn’t go into hibernation as Wood put the final nail in the coffin with the game’s final ball in the back of the net.
Ultimately the second half saw some notable chances for both sides though for the most part the focus was on ball possession and defense.
Soon enough the final whistle would blow and put an end to another solid showing from the national U23 team.
Coach Gillie Seymour felt the first half was the key for his squad.
‘In the first half they played pretty good. It was by far their best part of the game. The players that were out there played well together.’
In Seymour’s eyes the second half was more of a mixed bag due to his substitutions.
‘In the second half we slowed down the pace and I admit I changed the rhythm of the game a bit by putting on new players. But I had to take off players like Raheem and Darvin because they had games the next day.’
All in all Seymour was pleased with the result saying the match ‘was not one of our best games but the guys played well’.
The next scheduled match for the U23 side is slated to be against North Side on Wednesday 4 February at 7:30pm at the Annex Field.
Meanwhile for Bodden Town the focus will be on getting back into the local competitions.