Bermuda Under-20 ride luck in West Ham draw
Controversy marred the Bermuda Under-20 team’s hard-fought 1-1 draw in their opening Bermuda International Football Festival round-robin match against the West Ham United Under-19s at the National Stadium last night.
The host side took the lead early in the second half through D’Andre Wainwright’s disputed goal.
Jayden Fevrier, the West Ham right back, gave up pursuit of a loose ball that appeared to go out of touch deep in his team’s own half. However, the referee assistant’s flag stayed down and an alert Knory Scott took possession and drew goalkeeper Joseph Anang off his line before squaring the ball for Wainwright to tap into an empty net.
“Their goal was so far out of play it was ridiculous, so that leaves a sour taste because the boys worked so hard,” Terry Westley, the West Ham Academy director, said.
“For ten minutes that upset them. But for young players, they learnt that things don’t always go your way and eventually got back into the game.”
Ray Jones, the Bermuda coach, added: “We were probably a bit lucky that the call went our way.
“It appeared that the ball might have went over the line but as you know you play until the whistle and the boys did that and put the ball in the net and that’s what counts.
“I have been on the bad end of some officials calls but at the end of the day they are in charge.”
The young Hammers eventually hit back through Emmanuel Longelo’s late equaliser and were unfortunate not to grab another as they also hit a post and were denied by some tidy defending and goalkeeping by the home side.
Bermuda had the first clear-cut chance of the match but were unable to capitalise. Rhazir Smith-Jones, the captain, was played through, but was denied by Anang.
The visitors also failed to convert a breakaway as Quinacaeo Hunt, the Bermuda goalkeeper, made a huge save to thwart Hammers striker Longelo.
Bermuda finally made the breakthrough through Wainwright’s disputed goal in the 53rd minute and should have extended their lead when West Ham were caught in possession deep in their own half. But with an open net to aim for Wainwright hurried his lob well wide of the target.
The visitors eventually settled back into their groove and after taking charge of midfield began pouring balls into Bermuda’s box in search of an equaliser that nearly arrived when Josh Wilson-Esbrand’s cross struck Hunt’s near post.
Hunt would not be so lucky moments later as the Hammers levelled from a clever set-piece with eight minutes remaining.
Bernardo Rosa dribbled Kyle McGeachy’s short corner to the touchline before whipping in a cross that Longelo slotted in at the back post.
It was end-to-end stuff with both teams creating chances in the dying minutes but unable to find a way through, with Bermuda substitute Simeon Burrows volleying straight into Anang’s arms and Longelo just failing to get onto the end of Rosa’s cross.
“I’m never happy unless we win but to be fair we’ve only had this group together as unit for three days and 80 per cent of the team is based overseas,” Jones said. ”It was high-tempo and physical match against some good opposition and for the most part I thought the boys handled themselves quite well.”
Westley was also pleased with his team’s performance.
“We are a young team and to play against the national team and to come away with a draw you would be satisfied,” he said. “This is a great experience for our young players and that’s really why we have come.”
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