Bright start

Harris and Harte rescue Barbados

A thunderous goal scored by midfielder Jomo Harris and a superb effort by captain Mario Harte helped the Barbados national side to come from behind and draw 2-2 against Guyana last night in a friendly international to signal the start of the Digicel-sponsored Barbados Football Association 2015 domestic season.

In front of an almost packed National Stadium, Guyana were off to a dream start having scored two early goals compliments of Sheldon Holder and Emery Welshman. Harris, however, would respond with a gem of a goal in the 36th minute. The ball came in from just outside the 18-yard box to Harris, the son of BFA president Randy Harris, and the youngster controlled the half-volley well on his boot and sent an unstoppable strike past an  outstretched Guyana goalkeeper Akel Clarke. The goal certainly did a world of good for the confidence of the Barbadian side which was under the guidance of Brazilian-born coach Marcos Falopa.

Before Guyana even knew what had hit them Barbados found the equalizer one minute later in the 37th minute through Harte who did what he usually does in the Barbados domestic season. The ball was played into Harte who turned the defender inside out, leaving him in his wake as he placed a wonderful shot into the bottom corner of the net to level the score at two a-piece going into the second half.

Guyanese striker Emery Welshman trying to shield the ball from the Barbadian defenders.
Guyanese striker Emery Welshman trying to shield the ball from the Barbadian defenders.

Both teams had everything to play for in the second half but neither managed to score that all important goal with several chances on both ends going abegging. Both Barbados’ custodian Dario Weir and Clarke made a few brilliant saves to keep their teams alive in the game and at the final whistle everyone went away a winner as the men in blue and the men in green fortified their defence to ensure a draw.

Earlier in the 12th minute of play Guyana striker Holder received the ball up the right side of the field and he controlled it nicely and turned with the ball around the defender and slotted it past Weir who had no chance of getting close to the ball which went some distance away from his right hand.

 The pressure was definitely on for Barbados to respond but the Guyanese never gave them the opportunity to, but instead scored another goal thanks to striker Emery Welshman in the 33rd minute.

The 23-year-old found himself in a one-on-one situation and managed to get past the Barbadian defender and hit the ball like a rocket from what appeared to be more than twenty yards out. The atmosphere and general response from the Guyanese supporters in the stands made it feel as though the game was being played at the Georgetown National Stadium. Such was the cacophony of noise. The Barbadian defenders really needed to step up their game with many of them being too far in their own half which allowed the Guyanese strikers to make deep inroads into offensive positions.

After the game during a short press briefing both coaches said they were satisfied with the result which they considered fair and from which they could  take positives.

Arantes Lawrence receives his MVP trophy and cheque from Digicel representative Krystal Smith.
Arantes Lawrence receives his MVP trophy and cheque from Digicel representative Krystal Smith.

Falopa said he was very glad to see the results and the goals scored by his players. He added that the players must believe in themselves and once they get more exposure they should do very well especially when they take on British Virgin Islands within a month’s time.

Guyana coach Jamaal Shabazz said he thought the game was a fair result and he thought the Barbadian players did very well.

“I thought the Bajan boys did very well you could have seen their fitness and enthusiasm and good quality. Looking at them you could see a lot of work has gone into them and I am very impressed.”

Earlier Pinelands’ striker Arantes Lawrence received the award for being the BFA’s Footballer of the Year 2014.

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