Jamaica Reggae Boyz hammer Grenada 4-0

June 7th, 2011

CARSON, California – Jamaica opened their 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Tournament in fine style last night when they hammered Caribbean rivals Grenada 4-0 here at the Home Depot Centre.

Luton Shelton in the 21st minute; Ryan Johnson, in the 39th; Demar Phillips in the 79th, and Omar Daley five minutes later, registered strikes for Theodore Whitmore’s Reggae Boyz for their biggest margin of victory in their eighth Gold Cup appearance.

Their previous best result was a 3-1 victory over Central American rivals Honduras when they had their best showing at the tournament, a joint third place finish in 1993.

The result gave Jamaica an early lead in Group B with three points, two ahead of Honduras and Guatemala, who played out a 0-0 result in the night second game of the double header. Grenada are rooted at the bottom without a point.

Guatemala ended the game with nine players after Gustavo Cabrera (62nd) and Henry Medina (80th) were ejected for two bookable offences.

The Boyz could have sent an even more ominous warning to the other 10 Gold Cup contenders, but they spoiled their overall performance by being extremely profligate.

Still, they have put themselves in a strong position to advance from Group B, where Honduras and Guatemala are also vying for promotion.

Despite bossing the game without really threatening goalkeeper Shemel Louison in the early stages, Jamaica’s first shot in anger was when midfield ace Rudolph Austin released the overlapping left-sided midfielder Phillips inside the penalty box. However, his firm drive whistled past the right upright and into the side netting. It was a warning the Eastern Caribbean side should have heeded but they didn’t and were made to pay immediately after.

In a set piece designed and practised repeatedly on the training pitch, Austin played a left-sided corner short along the goal line to Dane Richards, who had raced away from the centre of the goal. The diminutive forward returned the pass to Austin, who had drifted inward and toward the edge of the penalty area, where he whipped in a teasing cross towards the near post for Shelton to stab home ahead of a ball-watching defence, much to the joy of the few Jamaican supporters inside the stadium.

In was Shelton’s second goal in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Tournament, and he now joins seven other Reggae Boyz, who have scored two goals in the history of the tournament.

The Boyz should have added another shortly after when central defender Jermaine Taylor picked out Richards with a brilliant diagonal pass from deep left. The New York Red Bull sped into the danger area, but his deep, teasing cross to the back post was squandered by Johnson, just a few metres from the goal.

The wastefulness continued when Phillips sent Shelton through inside the penalty box, but after tricking his way past a defender, he tried to do too much and the chance was snapped away.

Richards, whose pace proved to much for the losers, got behind yet again, but his cheeky pull back for Austin was not matched by the quality required.

Shortly after Richards, set free down the right by Shelton on this occasion, served Johnson on a platter, and this time the San Jose Earthquakes front man finished with aplomb, stabbing home from close range, to make the game safe for the Boyz.

The Boyz continued from where they left off in the second half, with Shelton squandering yet another chance from the centre of goal, though he had created the opportunity all by himself after cutting inside from the left flank and easily leaving Grenadian skipper Anthony Modeste for dead. Having done the hard work, Shelton booted high over the crossbar.

Still, it was all one-way traffic, as the Boyz completely dominated the game, with Ricketts a mere spectator, having not been required to make a single save.

Shelton and Johnson then treated the crowd to a sumptuous piece of football, when they nonchalantly cut and diced their way through the Grenada defence like the proverbial hot knife through butter, but Johnson failed to match his finish with the enterprise displayed in creating the chance.

Goalkeeper Louison was proving to be Johnson’s nemesis, and shortly after he heaped more frustration on the Jamaican striker when he palmed away his firm drive from the edge of the area.

As the game entered the last quarter, Johnson had a glorious chance to add a third goal when he sprung the off-side trap and raced clear on goal, but somehow with Louison hopeless out of it, Johnson’s shot slammed against the crossbar and back into play. His appeal for a goal was turned down.

Having watched his front men wasting numerous chances, Phillips taught them a lesson in finishing when he raced into the box from the left to bury a grounder past Louison.

Substitute Jevaughn Watson seemed not to have taken note of Phillips’ unsolicited lesson in finishing, as he wasted yet another chance good approach play by the now rampant Reggae Boyz.

To say the Boyz saved their best for last would be an understatement. In one of the goals of the tournament so far, substitute Omar Daley put the icing on the cake when finished expertly with a beautiful left-footed half volley which rocketed into the net after a series of intricate passing by the Boyz.

The Boyz had had enough and for nearly all of the three minutes of time added, they passed the ball around the pitch, as if not wanting to embarrass their Caribbean neighbours anymore.

The Boyz are scheduled to depart California this morning for Miami, where they are set to meet Guatemala in their second game on Friday night at the FIU Stadium.

Teams: Jamaica – Donovan Ricketts, Shavar Thomas, Jermaine Taylor, Dicoy Williams, Jason Morrison, Rudolph Austin (Keammar Daley 69th), Demar Phillips, Eric Vernan, Luton Shelton (Jevaughn Watson 79th), Dane Richards (Omar Daley 65th), Ryan Johnson.

Booked: Dicoy Williams (77th)

Subs not used: Dwayne Miller, Adrian Reid, Richard Edwards, Damion Williams.

Grenada – Shemel Louison, Anthony Modeste, Leon Johnson, Davis Cyrus, Marc Marshall, Craig Roscastle (Lancaster Joseph 46th), Patrick Modeste (Shannon Phillip 87th), Anthony Straker, Ricky Charles, Delroy Facey, Shane Rennie (Bradley Bubb 62nd).

Booked: Cyrus (2nd),

Subs not used: Andray Baptiste, Clive Murray, Dwayne Leo, Moron Phillip.

Referee: Baldomero Toledo (USA)

Assistant Referees: Joe Fletcher (Canada), Hector Vergara (Canada)

Fourth Official: David Gantar (Canada)

Fifth Official: William Torres (E Salvador)

Match Commissary: Colin Klass (Guyana)

Referee Inspector: Stanley Darville (The Bahamas)

General Co-ordinator: Hugo Salcedo (CONCACAF)


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