Jamaica had the ideal preparation for their forthcoming campaign in the Gold Cup at the expense of Cayman.
The Reggae Boyz beat a Cayman Select side 5-0 on Thursday night and the full national side 4-1 on Sunday night at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
At least Rene Carter can take heart that he has done what no other teams under Jamaica coach Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore had been able to do in nine previous matches – score.
And what a beauty it was! A spectacular free kick from an impossible angle in the 40th minute. Carter was so delirious that he ran to his dug out and bowled coach Thiago Cunha over.
As free kicks go it was top drawer and worthy of breaking Tappa’s impressive record. It was the equaliser Cayman didn’t expect because Jamaica had dominated proceedings up till then.
They swarmed Cayman at will but could not find a finishing touch until Brian Bayliss relieved their frustration in the 22nd minute. He turned the defence and fired low past Joseph Tatum.
Jamaica had a goal disallowed for offside soon after. Then Ricardo Fuller worked well on the right to set Devon Hodges up but he squandered the chance.
Carter’s goal was the first Cayman shot on target up till then. He took a free kick earlier but it sailed over the bar. The second one was just outside the box on the left and somehow Carter hit it left-footed into the top left hand corner with keeper Dwayne Miller flailing. Carter had a superb season with Elite, winning the Digicel Cup, Premiership and getting to the final of the FA Cup.
‘I dreamt that I would score from a free kick and been saying all week I would do it.,’ Carter said. He didn’t think it was as good as his stunning goal in the Digicel Cup final but gave him as much satisfaction.
Cayman did not stay level for long as three minutes later Rafe Wolfe hit a low shot from the right from short range to make it 2-1.
After the break, Cayman stepped it up. A 40 yard Oneil Taylor free kick was easily saved.
The game then slowed after a series of substitutions until Keammar Daley sparked it again with a low shot from 12 yards to put Jamaica 3-1 up in the 68th minute.
A long, weaving run by Luton Shelton followed but the Jamaican’s shot was tame and wide.
There was a big Jamaican contingent, many in national colours and waving flags. A friendly rivalry ensued as Cayman flag wavers competed with Jamaicans to stir up the crowd which must have totaled a couple of thousand.
Jason Morrison hit Jamaica’s fourth in the 82nd minute from close range to emphasise their superiority.
In injury time, one avid Cayman supporter shouted: ‘Cayman, you only have four minutes to win.’
It was a good work out for the visitors and an excellent test for Cayman’s youngsters, half of whom play for the all-conquering Elite. At least there was some cohesion between the Caymanians because of their familiarity at club level.