U17 coach wants more sharpness in final third
Jamaica under-17 coach Merron Gordon says winning games at all cost is the key following his team's second 1-0 win over their Trinidadian counterparts at the St Elizabeth Technical High Sports Complex yesterday.
The young Reggae Boyz, who made three changes from the opening game in Kingston, got the lone goal in the fourth minute when Adrian Reid converted a penalty after Nahshon Bolt Barrett was brought down in the area following a rash tackle from Trinidad defender Joshua Figaro.
That early goal seemed to have comforted the Jamaicans a bit too much as the home side was found wanting for the remainder of the contest in the final third.
Following a tactical change by Trinidadian coach Shawn Cooper, the visitors looked a totally different side in the second half and were it not for some excellent defending from Ahir Dixon and Reid, the game could have turned out a lot different.
The Jamaicans got a chance to double their lead in the 57th minute when defender Malachi Molina rifled a right-footed shot on to the post after some good work down the left side from Jahmani Bell.
For the second time both teams took part in a mock penalty shoot-out after the game and the Jamaicans came out on top 4-2 with overseas substitute goalkeeper Joshua Grant saving two Trinidadian penalties.
The Jamaicans are set to fly out of Montego Bay tomorrow en route to Guatemala for their first match in the qualifiers against Cuba on Sunday, and Gordon made it clear that any sort of a win will be key for the side throughout the tournament.
"We are not finding the back of the net as we would like, but we are winning the games and this is also important. Yes, we want to score more because we have created a lot of goal-scoring opportunities, but such is football," he said.
Gordon added that his team is looking good defensively and he would want his team to be more consistent and sharper in the final third.
In the meantime, Trinidadian coach Cooper says his team is without two key overseas players but he was pleased that he was able to get some good practice against a formidable Jamaican side.
"I think it was a good exercise for us in this fourth practice game. We are steadily going forward and progressing," Cooper said.