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Bermuda head to Gold Cup on a high note

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Reggie Lambe gets the ball under control as Sam Cox, the Guyana captain, closes in (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

Bermuda 1 Guyana 0

Bermuda sealed a hard-fought victory in their final friendly match before the Concacaf Gold Cup, with defender Donte Brangman netting the game’s only goal late in the first half.

The Southampton Rangers captain, who was asked to do a job at right back, spent much of the first half in an attacking role down the right flank as Bermuda created a host of chances with some fluent play, with Kacy Milan Butterfield, Osagi Bascome and Reggie Lambe controlling the midfield.

Despite the dominance in the opening half, Brangman’s goal was all that separated the teams at the half.

The goal came from another good move, Nahki Wells laying on the decisive pass to send Brangman through into the box on the right side before hitting a shot inside the far post.

It capped off an encouraging first half for the home side who had two opportunities to score in the space of a minute early, first Justin Donawa having a shot blocked from inside the box and then Wells shrugging off a couple of challenges before hitting a dipping shot from 30 yards that goalkeeper Alex Murray saved.

Guyana, who like Bermuda are also preparing for the Gold Cup, were forced to do a lot of defending as Bermuda impressed with some quick moves forward for front men Wells, Donawa and Lejuan Simmons.

Brangman, with not much defending to do, pushed forward again midway through the half and squared a ball to Butterfield who lifted a left-footed shot over the bar.

The best chance before the goal came in the 28th minute when Simmons intercepted a pass from defender Matthew Briggs before Wells sent him through down the right with a good pass. Simmons used his pace to get into the box but fired his chance wide of the far post from an angle.

Both teams made a host of changes early in the second half with Bermuda making three substitutions at the restart, Jonté Smith coming on for Simmons, Zeiko Lewis for Bascome and Roger Lee for Butterfield.

Guyana also made an early change with Pernell Schultz replacing striker Sheldon Holder before goalkeeper Akel Clarke limped off with a leg injury in the 52nd minute.

Brangman also came off with a hamstring injury in the 69th minute, with Marco Warren coming on as the replacement.

Three more substitutes were made by Guyana in the 59th minute as the visiting side freshened things up in search of the equaliser.

Bermuda could have had a second goal in the 54th minute when a long ball forward by defender Jaylon Bather sent Smith away down the left. The striker got into the box before putting his left-footed shot wide of the far post after substitute goalkeeper Clarke narrowed the angle.

Wells then cut inside the box before shooting into the side-netting with a left-footed effort as Bermuda looked to extend their lead.

Frustration earned Guyana coach Michael Johnson a booking from Jamaican referee Kevin Morrison for dissent.

Guyana had a couple of chances to equalise in the final ten minutes when Terell Ondaan put a free kick from 25 yards well wide after he was fouled.

Then a header by Terence Vancooten, another substitute, from a corner was easily collected by goalkeeper Dale Eve, probably the most he had to do all night.

Calon Minors, the Bermuda defender, and captain Danté Leverock were cautioned, while Daniel Wilson, of Guyana, was also booked.

Both teams made six substitutions in all, with Willie Clemons coming on for Lambe, while Wells was replaced by Chikosi Basden in the 72nd minute.

Donte Brangman