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‘Bermuda moving in right direction’

Photograph by Blaire SimmonsRising high: midfielder Jay Chapman gets in front of defender William White to head home Canada’s third goal at the National Stadium

Kyle Lightbourne believes Bermuda are making positive strides after giving as good as they got against Canada in their friendly match at the National Stadium yesterday.

Although Bermuda lost 4-2 to a more experienced and technically superior Canadian side, Lightbourne was encouraged by the individual displays of some of his players in a team that included seven debutants.

Of those players featuring for the first time, goalkeeper Jahquil Hill and substitutes Zenawi Bowen, Rai Sampson, Oneko Lowe and 16-year-old Keishon Bean will be involved in the Bermuda Under-20 side’s Concacaf Championship campaign in Costa Rica next month.

Bermuda took the lead in the twelfth minute after a close-range finish from defender Jalen Harvey but conceded two first-half goals in quick succession through Jonathan Osario and Tosaint Ricketts.

The home side were on level terms when Lejuan Simmons poked home after a calamitous mix-up by defender Adam Straith and substitute goalkeeper Sean Melvin in the 55th minute.

Canada took control for the second half, with a headed goal from Jay Chapman in the 75th minute and a finish from Anthony Jackson-Hamel in the 88th.

“Canada are one of the powerhouses in our region and, considering it wasn’t our full strength team — although it probably wasn’t their full strength team either — I think it shows we are making strides,” said Lightbourne, the under-20 coach, who took charge of the team in the absence of head coach Andrew Bascome.

“It showed we’re making strides as a country and I think everyone who came to watch the match will be pleased with the effort we put in.

“Canada controlled the possession of the game, but I thought we managed the early part of game pretty well. We got the go-ahead goal from a corner and then you could see their experience and they took over a little bit.”

Bermuda were gifted an equaliser when Melvin allowed Straith’s back pass to roll under his boot, leaving winger Simmons with the simple tasking of forcing the ball over the line.

With Melvin forced off after injuring his right thigh trying to recover the loose ball, defender Maxim Tissot had to go in goal.Bermuda failed to test the makeshift goalkeeper, however, until late on when captain Reggie Lambe twice forced saves from the Montreal Impact player with efforts from distance.

Substitute Shayne Hollis also missed a good chance, lifting the ball over the bar with just the goalkeeper to beat.

“We had a chance to go 3-2 up but we didn’t take it and Canada punished us after that,” Lightbourne added.

“I would have liked us to have a few more shots at the ‘keeper [Tissot] and put him under a bit more pressure. Overall, I’m happy with the individual performances. Everyone put a good, hard shift in today and I can’t fault them for the that.

“If we continue to play friendly games like this, you will see a lot more from us and maybe we can start controlling games a little more.”