Bajans, Spice Girls battle to a draw
Barbados’ women footballers stepped further into the limelight with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Grenada in a friendly international at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, last night
The local women had the upperhand in the first half of the encounter even though the visitors did produce some good chances of their own. Plenty of build-up work caught the eye with both teams employing short passes and the occasional long ball through the middle. Invariably, though, several offensive efforts broke down in the penalty area and the game remained goal-less at the end of the first half.
When the second period began both teams came out with noticeably greater purpose in an effort to break the stalemate. It was Grenada who took the lead thanks to Merissa Charles who found an opening when the ball was mistakenly kicked to a Grenadian player who deftly crossed it to Charles. She then dribbled her way past Barbados’ goalkeeper Kamillah Burke and scored in the 62nd minute.
There was great celebration among the Grenadians and fans at the ground. But those celebrations would quickly fade when Barbados responded a minute later through striker Kimberley Ellis.
Shonelle Small received the ball up the right flank of the field and ran swiftly at the Grenadian defenders before sending in a lovely cross to Ellis who was lurking right of the goal area with a defender shadowing her. She controlled the pass skillfully and placed the ball into the back of the nets even though there was a scramble in front of the nets by two Grenada defenders and goalkeeper Connie John to thwart her efforts.
The goal brought alive the local supporters in the UWI stands and they cheered even more when Barbados earned a penalty thanks to Rianna Cyrus who was brought down inside the 18-yard box by Grenadian defender Shakira Collymore. It was the ideal opportunity for the Bajan girls to cap the night.
Barbados captain Gabriella Lopez who played well throughout the game and was involved in several goal-scoring opportunities that went abegging stepped up to take the shot. Lopez placed the ball on the penalty spot, referee Gillian Martindale blew her whistle and Lopez ran in and delivered a powerful right-footed shot that hit the top post of the goalbars, cleared the goal, and brought a sigh of relief from John and her team-mates as well as their Grenadian supporters in the stands. That was the 86th minute and Barbados had squandered a golden opportunity. The game eventually petered out into a draw with no further chances for either team.
After the game head coach for the Barbados team, Thomas Jordan, said he was quite satisfied with the results seeing that the girls only had one week to prepare for the match.
“[I am] pretty satisfied based on the fact that we only had one week training and most of the girls are generally unfit. But it was a competitive game and I think the one-one scoreline was a fair result,” Jordan said, adding that the Grenadians were worthy opponents and were a seemingly fitter unit than the local girls.