Stefan Jones the hero with late winner for ten-man Bermuda Under-20
Bermuda 3 Barbados 2
Stefan Jones scored in the second minute of second-half stoppage time to earn short-handed Bermuda a stunning victory over Barbados in their opening group C match at the Concacaf Under-20 Championship Qualifiers in the Dominican Republic on Saurday night.
Cecoy Robinson’s side had been reduced to ten men as early as the twentieth minute when midfielder Jakeem Jennings was shown a straight red card for what was deemed to be serious foul play against Tyrique Bailey-Edwards.
Their predicament was compounded 15 minutes later when Kevon Lucas put Barbados ahead from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Coleridge Fubler brought down Kyle Forde-Blades, with the sidelines relieved when the Guatemalan referee reached into his pocket for only a yellow card.
But this young Bermuda team wasted no time feeling sorry for themselves in the Olímpico Félix Sánchez stadium and hit back almost immediately, with Jarryd Richardson finding a neat finish with his left foot to dink over the outrushing Barbados goalkeeper in the 38th minute.
Before Barbados had time to gather themselves, Richardson was played through on the left three minutes later, rounded the goalkeeper and then unselfishly squared past the last defender for Keyni Mills to tap into the empty net.
Bermuda more than held their own from this point, with Fubler making a few key saves, and could have made the game safe approaching the end of regulation time, but Sincere Hall dragged his left-foot shot wide.
It appeared Bermuda would pay for that miss not long after when a defensive breakdown allowed two Barbados attackers in on goal, with substitute Zuhri Morris getting the crucial touch in the first minute of stoppage time.
But Bermuda stormed right back and, thanks to a fine recovery tackle deep on the Barbados left by Leroy Lewis, followed by a pass and deflected shot, the ball fell to Jones, who buried his strike low to the goalkeeper’s right to set off wild celebrations.
Bermuda will be back in action today at 7pm against St Vincent & the Grenadines in a match that could be winner-takes-all for the lone spot to qualify for the championship proper next year.
St Vincent are top of the group, having been awarded the three points and a nominal 3-0 win because Puerto Rico failed to adhere to Covid-19 protocols by not producing the required PCR tests.
Bermuda are scheduled to play Puerto Rico in their final group match on Wednesday at 7pm.
Bermuda: Richardson 35, Mills 38, Jones 90+2
Barbados: Lucas 20 pen, Morris 90+1
Bermuda (3-5-2): C Fubler — C McDowall, A Trott, K Mills (sub: L Lewis, 46min) — S Simmons (sub: N Furbert, 65), M Moreno (sub: S Jones, 82), R Robinson, J Jennings, J Richardson (sub: C Lugo Elibox, 75) — S Hall, D Hill (sub: J Joseph, 65). Substitutes not used: M Perott, A Simons, J Warner. Booked: Fubler. Sent off: Jennings.
Barbados (4-4-2): J Griffith — J François-French (sub: M Dziazhko, 65), H Bradshaw, J Headley (sub: T Byer, 46), T Bailey-Edwards — J Watson-Cummins, T Thorne (sub: K John, 77), K Lucas, K Forde-Blades (sub: Z Morris, 72) — R Jones (sub: N Butcher, 46), J Jaunai. Substitutes not used: A Mallaliu, K Hutson, A Forde, K Cox. Booked: Lucas, Butcher.
Referee: J Luna (Guatemala).