Reggae Boyz hit back late to avoid embarrassment

Marvin Morgan … scored one of the goals for Jamaica.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Jamaica Reggae Boyz scored twice in the last 10 minutes as they came from two goals down to snatch a thrilling 2-2 draw against a spirited Barbados in their international friendly here Monday night.

Playing at the Wildey Turf at the Garfield Sobers Complex, Jamaica were stunned in the first half as a Chevone Marsh own goal in the 33rd minute and Zico Edmee’s strike in the 43rd minute, handed the hosts the shock advantage.

Despite threatening for most of the game, Jamaica looked to be heading for a surprise defeat before Marvin Morgan scored in the 80th minute to pull one back.

Three minutes later, Peter-Lee Vassell netted from the penalty spot to draw Jamaica level,  setting up a dramatic end to the contest under lights.

“We allowed them to play in the first half and then we played a better second half,” Jamaica’s manager Roy Simpson said afterwards.

“We were more purposeful, we were quicker, we were getting the second balls and we showed some amount of character in getting a draw from this game but as coach (Theodore) Whitmore said to the players after the game, is that every game at the international one has to come with their A game.

“You can’t allow teams to play and you don’t play. We allowed them to dominate the first half though we got a number of chances that if we were more clinical the results would have been different.” Jamaica, coming off 5-1 hammering of Grenada last Friday in St George’s, looked distinctly the better side as they attacked down the wings with fluency in the early stages of the contest.

However, they failed to force a single save out of goalkeeper Kishmar Primus and paid dearly for their lack of finishing as Barbados produced two moments of brilliance to take the lead.

Firstly, after repeatedly putting pressure on the Jamaican defence with long balls down the centre, Barbados opened the scoring when Rashad Jules’s goal-bound volley ricochetted off Marsh and beat goalkeeper Damion Hyatt.

Ten minutes later, Barbados came up with a sublime move down the left that ended in Edmee easily driving past Hyatt from close range.

Jamaica rallied in the second half with Barbados content to continue to defend in numbers and then hit on the counter.

The strategy frustrated Jamaica but Morgan finally broke the resistance when he fired past replacement custodian Jason Boxhill from just inside the 18-yard box, after Primus left the game injured.

Primus had earlier pulled off a superb save to deny Fabion McCarthy from the penalty spot.

With the momentum behind them, Jamaica found the equaliser from the spot when Raheem Sargeant’s handled the ball in the box under pressure and Vassell punished Barbados from the spot.

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