Jamaica's under-17 defeated Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 in their international friendly at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex yesterday afternoon.
Orane Watson scored the winner in the 77th minute, clipping the ball past Trinidadian goalkeeper Ailan Panton.
The match was the first of a two-game series between the two countries in preparation for the Concacaf Under-17 Championships, which begins on February 11. The top four will qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup that takes place in Peru from November 10-December 2.
The young Reggae Boyz will face Trinidad and Tobago again on Tuesday at St Elizabeth Technical High School, starting at 4:00 pm.
Trinidad and Tobago (4-2-3-1): 20.Ailan Panton (GK); 4.Aydon Caruth, 6.Joshua Figaro, 12.Jaden Williams, 19.Lyshaun Morris; 14.Tau Lamsee, 5.Josiah Ochoa (captain); 16.Derrel Garcia, 15.Michael Chaves (vice-captain), 2.Jeremiah Niles; 13.Lindell Sween.
Substitutes: 1.Jaden Ottley (GK), 8.Samuel Duncan, 9.Tyrell Moore, 10.Malachi Webb, 17.Vaughn Clement, 18.Armani Rowe, 21.Seth Hadeed.
Unavailable: Jeremiah Cateau, Rio Cardines, Dominic Wilson.
WATCH: - Head Coach of Trinidad and Tobago U17 Shawn Cooper reflects after 1-0 loss to Jamaica
Young Reggae Boyz clip T&T 1-0 in friendly opener.
Jamaica Gleaner Reports (Daniel.Wheeler).
DESPITE A few nervous moments at the end, National Under-17 head coach Merron Gordon feels his team hit their marks in their 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) in the first of two international friendlies yesterday at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.
Orane Watson got the winner in the 77th minute as they fine-tuned their preparations for the Concacaf Under-17 Championships, which begin on February 11.
Gordon hoped to see a strong defensive identity with this unit, having had them in camp for more than a month. He said he was satisfied with what the boys displayed throughout.
“I think, had we scored that penalty, it would have been much easier. But I am proud of the boys. This is the first time they are playing against their age group. We are just going to tighten up things and move on,” Gordon said.
The missed penalty in question came in the first half when Jahmani Bell was taken down in the box in the 11th minute. However, Nicholas Simmonds could not convert from the spot, dragging his shot wide, having sent the T&T ‘keeper the wrong way.
Bell caused various problems for the Trinidadian defence, cutting inside a minute later before seeing his shot sail over.
While Jamaica’s press caused problems for the young Soca Warriors, the hosts were not able to make that pressure count in the final third.
Watson was introduced for Simmonds in the second half and he came close to giving the Young Reggae Boyz the lead, as he had a header hit the post and, in the middle of the second half, opted to take a shot that was tame and straight to Trinidadian goalkeeper Ailian Panton.
But Watson would be rewarded for his enterprise in the 77th minute when he was sent through and finished calmly past Panton.
“I think, defensively we were good, but in the latter stages of the game we sat back too far. But playing with your home crowd, you wanted to hold on to the win,” Gordon assessed.
T&T head coach Shawn Cooper said his team lacked experience but hoped Crystal Palace Academy player, Rio Cardines, who didn’t feature in the game, provides some of that for the team when he is available.
“Some of the guys have never played at this level before. We still have two outstanding players who have yet to arrive in Jamaica, who would have made a difference in the team,” Cooper said.
“The winning goal came from a tactical error from our left midfielder, but I think it was a decent performance from us.”
The game also had a penalty shootout, which Jamaica won 4-2, something Gordon said was important to practise heading into what is effectively a World Cup qualifier. The top-four teams from the Concacaf Under-17 Championships make it to the next Under-17 World Cup.
The second game of the series will take place at St Elizabeth Technical High School at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.