Jalen Harvey red card compounds misery for misfiring Bermuda
Guyana 2 Bermuda 1
Bermuda's Concacaf Nations League promotion and Gold Cup qualification aspirations were dealt a major blow after slipping to defeat by Guyana at the National Track and Field Leonora Stadium tonight.
Having held Haiti to goalless draw in their group B opener at the Flora Duffy Stadium on Saturday, Kyle Lightbourne's side were aiming to clinch all three points and replace the group leaders, who came into the encounter on the back of a 2-1 victory over Montserrat.
However, it was the home side, who further strengthened their position at the top of the standings as Omari Glasgow's strike in first-half stoppage time ultimately proved the winner after Danté Leverock had spectacularly cancelled out Trayon Bobb’s 35th-minute opener.
The match ended on a sour note for Bermuda with centre half Jalen Harvey sent off for being adjudged to have kicked out at Stephen Duke-McKenna after winning his tackle as last man.
Lightbourne opted for a largely unchanged side, with Willie Clemons coming into the midfield in place of Milan Butterfield, while Jonté Smith was preferred to Kole Hall in attack alongside captain Nahki Wells.
After a tentative start to the match, Bermuda worked the first real opening in the ninth minute. Reggie Lambe released Wells down the right-hand channel, whose attempted cross was cleared only as far as Lambe, who sliced a first-time effort harmlessly wide of Quillan Roberts’s goal.
Guyana started to find a foothold and created their first opportunity in the seventeenth minute, but Duke-McKenna failed to capitalise on the abundant space afforded to him inside the area, firing a tame effort into the arms of Dale Eve, diving to his right.
Just a minute later, Neil Danns spurned another chance for the home side, curling a right-footed effort narrowly wide before the lively Glasgow came close to breaking the deadlock in the 22nd minute. Racing down the right-hand side, the forward played an incisive one-two into the area, his volleyed effort kept out at the near post by Eve’s left foot.
At the other end, Wells was presented with two opportunities to find a breakthrough in as many minutes on the half-hour mark. The first saw the striker bring down a long kick from Eve inside the area, before shifting the ball on to his left foot, with his low effort well held by Roberts.
Just a minute later, the Bermuda captain had to score after being played in by Smith, but his under-hit attempt at lobbing the goalkeeper rather than putting his foot through it provided a comfortable save.
Wells was made to rue his profligacy just three minutes later when Guyana opened the scoring. With time on the ball, Duke-McKenna released Bobb beyond the static Bermuda defence with an acute reverse pass, with the winger lashing a left-footed strike in at the near post past Eve, who might have done better.
The visiting side were behind for only six minutes as they hit back to level in spectacular style through Leverock. Having made his way up the field for a free kick, the towering centre half was still inside the area as Lejaun Simmons worked the ball back into the box, which Leverock brilliantly beat Roberts with an overhead kick.
However, just as Lightbourne was preparing his half-time team talk, Guyana regained the lead in the first minute of additional time. Failing to pick up the unmarked Glasgow, Bermuda were duly punished as he collected the ball on the right-hand side of the area and lashed a low right-foot strike through the legs not only of Eve but also Leverock on the line.
In stark contrast to the first half, the second started with a lull in action before Bermuda's goal came under pressure in the 59th minute as Harvey found himself in the right place at the right time to help keep out a dangerous, inswinging free kick from Duke-McKenna from the left-hand side.
Two minutes later Eve was called upon again to prevent Guyana from extending their advantage. Finding further joy down the left-hand side, Bobb squirmed away from Harvey, before his cut back was deflected into the patch of Danns, whose overhead kick was kept out by the outstretched arm of the custodian, despite slipping to the ground.
With 12 minutes remaining, Wells again was culpable of spurning another golden chance. In what was a rare opportunity of the second half, Wells could not capitalise after being picked out by a low Lambe free kick, blazing his first-time effort harmlessly over the bar.
Moments later, Roberts had to be alert to keep the home side in front, diving to his left to palm away a stinging drive from the edge of the area from substitute Djair Parfitt.
Chasing a route back into the game, Bermuda's uphill task was made even harder with three minutes of normal time remaining when Harvey fouled Duke-McKenna as the midfielder bore down and then left something on him as he walked away.
If the referee’s mind had not been made up over what colour card Harvey would see, it was then.
With the numerical advantage, Guyana should have put the result beyond any doubt late into stoppage time. Breaking upfield, the ball was played into Glasgow, who with abundant time inside the area fired wildly wide with only Eve to beat.
To his relief his miss did not prove costly, as Wells fired one last half-chance over the bar through a crowded box, as Guyana held on to claim what could prove a pivotal victory and maintain their place at the top of the group.
With Haiti beating Montserrat 3-2 in the Dominican Republic in the later match, Bermuda head into their back-to-back matches with the group minnows — on Saturday at the Olímpico Félix Sánchez stadium and June 14 at home — third in the group and put in a must-win position.
Guyana: Bobb 35, Glasgow 45+2
Bermuda: Leverock 42
Guyana (5-3-2): Q Roberts — J Jones, L Lovell (sub: N Moriah-Welsh, 71min), D Wilson, S Cox, S Duke-McKenna — N Danns (sub: C Nobrega, 70), T Bobb, Q Adams — A Glasgow, T Ondaan (sub: E Welshman, 51). Substitutes not used: A Clarke, A Murray, M Briggs, J Garrett, J Caesar, A Jeffrey, T Mitford, K Benjamin, T Schultz. Booked: Ondaan, Lovell, Moriah-Welsh.
Bermuda (5-3-2): D Eve — R Lee, R Jones Jr, J Harvey, D Leverock, D Cook (sub: K Hall, 90) — L Simmons (sub: L Robinson, 64), W Clemons (sub: M Christian, 90), R Lambe — J Smith (sub: D Parfitt, 64), N Wells. Substitutes not used: D Bell, Q Hunt, M Hardtman, N Paynter, R Robinson, K Scott, K Bean, E Russell. Sent off: Harvey.
Referee: R Radix (Grenada).