Asha Stevenson (right) battling St Kitts and Nevis' Javisha Bowry during the second qualifier match.
True to their word, the Barbados Football Association’s Women’s Under-17 national team brought the thunder to St Kitts and Nevis tonight.
Led by Captain Olianna Bishop, the young Bajan Tridents wore their hearts on their sleeves in the second qualifying match of the Concacaf Women's Under-17 Championship Qualifier, and gave the fans at the Wildey Turf something to shout about, with some even performing a victory dance at the end of the 1-0 result against the Kittitians.
Coming off of a 10-0 victory against USVI, the very technically apt St Kitts and Nevis did not hesitate to pressure the Bajans as the game kicked off. However, the home team upped their defence, and gave as much as they got.
With one major change to the starting 11, forward Ryah Dates was up, while midfielder Amber Soudatt-Sealy sat on the sidelines. While there were some of the same mistakes made in their first encounter agianst Belize, and much of the game was played in the midfield, it wasn’t until the dying minutes of the first half that Barbados struck gold.
Following an attempt by St Kitts and Nevis to score the first goal of the game, which was eventually blocked by Keinelle Johnson after six frantic attempts by the opposition to score inside the goal box, Dates took possession of the ball and counter attacked heading up the right side of the pitch.
However, she was fouled, and less than 30 seconds later after stoppage, Barbados was awarded a free kick from just outside the penalty area. Bishop stepped up to the challenge and kicked the ball from about 40 yards out. Goalkeeper Solleessh Rawlins caught the ball, but referee Priscilla Perez intervened and the kick had to be taken over.
The bespeckled Bishop once again stepped up to the challenge. Bending the ball, with her right foot, it settled into the back of the net, despite Rawlins touching it, giving the Tridents the advantage with an indirect free kick, just as the final whistle was blown to signal the end of the first half in the 47th minute.
Coming into the second half on a high, the Bajans wasted no time in tightening up their defence, while the Kittitians increased the pressure. While Perez called some unfavourable calls for Barbados, it was not to their demise, as they continued to hold firm.
Just when everyone thought the game was about to end in favour of the Tridents, St Kitts in a last bid attempt to secure a goal, was awarded a free kick that was headed straight past custodian Lisa Harding, but some quick intervention on Bishop’s part saw the ball being headed away.
With four minutes added to the clock, Asha Stevenson was taken down by captain Jasonna Williams and Barbados was once again awarded a free kick. However, this time they were unable to convert the only goal scoring opportunity they had in the second half.
Notwithstanding, the lone goal of the night was enough for the fans who erupted in a frenzy as Perez blew the final whistle to end the night’s proceedings and Barbados walked away with three points.
In the earlier game, Belize walked over USVI 5-0, registering four goals in the first half. While USVI defended greatly in second half, Belize was still able to secure a lone goal, as they walked away the winners.