Bermuda claim dramatic win
Bermuda Select 3 Oakville Blue Devils 1
Kyle Lightbourne’s young Bermuda Select team sent the crowd home happy when two injury-time goals sealed a dramatic 3-1 victory over Oakville Blue Devils in their opening tour match at the National Stadium last night.
The teams were preparing for a penalty shoot-out to settle the deadlock when Lejuan Simmons netted his second goal of the game to give Bermuda a 2-1 lead two minutes into stoppage time.
Two minutes later Jenico Sealey, who had just come on as a substitute, made certain of the win with a composed finish at the far post from a Simmons cross. Lightbourne, the Bermuda coach, was very happy with the performance of a team containing several under-20 players, including three high-school pupils.
“It was a close game, but we’ve played a few games up here where teams have scored in the last minute, like the Barbados game, so it was nice for us to come and get a result tonight,” Lightbourne said.
“We’ve had a lot of youngsters but I thought it was a very good game. They bossed the game in the second half, they definitely came at us. But the most pleasing thing about us was we withstood the pressure, kept them at arm’s length in front of our goal, rode our luck on one or two occasions and hit them when there was no time to recover.
“We had guys in there, some who haven’t played Premier Division ball yet, so I’m happy with those guys. Aaron Spencer sat in the midfield when we asked him to do a job and did it well, while Jarye Bean at left back also did well, the two young guys from X-Roads. It says something for their programme.”
The game started at a fast pace but had few clear-cut chances in the opening half hour. Oakville had the better of the possession during that period and had a couple of attempts, one which Brandon Duarte, their winger, put wide after the ball was half-cleared to him outside the box following a free kick.
Then Anthony Novak crossed into the box and striker Filipe Vilela headed straight at goalkeeper Jahquil Hill.
Bermuda took the lead against the run of play when midfielder Osagi Bascome chipped a ball into the box and when goalkeeper Matt George failed to collect it, Cecoy Robinson, the Bermuda captain, knocked it back for Simmons to steer it past defender Victor Gallo standing on the goalline.
Vilela, who continued to look a threat, poked a shot towards goal that Hill turned around for a corner. He hit the target in the 43rd minute from another corner, jumping between defenders Na’eem Griffith and Jaylon Bather to meet a cross from his captain Taylor McNamara and place a firm header past Hill.
“I thought it was a good performance by us, in the second half we made some changes because it is our pre-season,” said Vilela, who was born in Canada, but played in Portugal for eight years.
“It didn’t work out but it was a positive game for us. I don’t think it was a fair result but that’s soccer.”
Oakville made four substitutions at the start of the second half, including changing goalkeepers. However, Bermuda continued to battle hard against their semi-professional opponents, with Donte Brangman almost setting up a second goal for Bermuda when goalkeeper Karman Saini allowed the ball to escape his clutches. Brangman collected the loose ball and crossed to the far post where Robinson failed to reach the pass in front of an open goal.
Oakville made a fifth substitution before Bermuda made their first when teenager Quinaceo Hunt replaced Hill in goal. Lightbourne then made a double substitution, replacing PHC Zebras pair Robinson and Marco Warren with Tehvan Tyrell and D’Andre Wainwright.
Bascome almost scored a late winner when his shot from 30 yards was just inches over the bar. The dramatic finish saw another Bascome pass send Simmons away down the right before the Robin Hood captain kept his composure to steer his shot past the goalkeeper.
Then Sealey sealed the win, when another run by Simmons down the flank saw his cross reach Sealey at the far post to score past goalkeeper Karman Saini whose defence was stretched as they pushed players forward in search of the equaliser.
“Bermuda got us in the end with some pace and freshness, but credit to them they took their chances well and that’s what football is all about, ” Duncan Wilde, the Oakville coach, said. “We created enough chances to put it away, however it is pre-season and we made a lot of changes which unbalanced the team. I thought it was a good game of football and too bad it got away from us at the end.”
Bermuda Select: J Hill — D Usher, J Bather, N Griffith, J Bean, O Bascome, M Warren, A Spencer, C Robinson, L Simmons, D Brangman.
Oakville: M George — H Joshi, V Gallo, T McNamara, M Gennaccaro, KMcNamara, L Poderbarec, A Novak, K Ellis, F Vilela, B Duarte.
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