New look Reggae Boyz defeat Barbados 2-0

Before a sizeable crowd, at a venue two miles outside of the capital, the new look Reggae Boyz absorbed tremendous pressure from their hosts before gaining  ascendancy late in the game.

Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake made three critical shut-outs in the first half as the Barbadian forwards who often threatened came away with nothing to show.

The Jamaicans appeared more organised in the second half and tactically opted to produce the extra pass, while seeking to pull the opposing defenders out of position.

Following a string of swift passes, they broke through in the 76th minute as Ricardo Morris went left and squared the ball for Mattocks, a player with the Vancouver Whitecaps, to beat Barbados goalkeeper Jason Boxill to his right with a clinical finish.

The goal seemingly dented the spirit of the young Barbados team, who were matching their opponents in most departments, and six minutes later Brown, of the Colorado Rapids, put the issue beyond doubt for Jamaica.

He rose above a flat defence in the 82nd to head into the far corner, on a ball squared from the right, and set off jubilation in the Jamaican camp.

The Jamaicans also survived two other scares in the second half as goalkeeper Blake, in the 60th minute, mistimed an attempted clearance and the ball peeled off his left boot and missed the nets by 12 inches.

Barbados striker Jamal Chandler also shook the upright in the 62nd minute, as his crisp left-footed shot rebounded for the Jamaican defence to clear.

“I think Barbados played fairly well. They gave us a good challenge and it was a good test for our team as we are rebuilding and looking to the future,” said Jamaican coach, German-born Winfried Schaefer.

Jamaica used the services of MLS players, as well as home-based players, for the match against Barbados but the squad is expected to be strengthened by a number of England-based players for their next match in St. Lucia on Wednesday.

Having failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, the Jamaica Reggae Boyz are assessing several new players and looking to re-build over the next two years and seek to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

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