BVI bows out of World Cup 2018 qualifiers


BVI in possession of the ball in first round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers vs Dominica but bows out 2-3. Photo: BVIFA

BVI in possession of the ball in first round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers vs Dominica but bows out 2-3. Photo: BVIFA

Needing to win by two clear goals after losing the “home” leg to Dominica, 3-2, the BVI were held goalless in the away leg at Windsor Park, Roseau, of the first round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and bowed out of the competition on Sunday evening.

The BVI started brightly and took full advantage of the space offered by the Dominica side that preferred to sit back and wait out the opening exchanges.

With a revamped line including switching James Shearman to right back and inserting Trevor Peters out wide on the right, the hosts were nearly made to pay for their hesitancy, firstly by Matthew Bell and then Karl Espley, who both saw half chances go begging.

Ever dangerous on the break, Dominica sounded alarm bells, with Julian Wade going close and Daniel Barker producing a finger tip save of the match to keep BVI hopes alive.

Early in the second half, with the game still in the balance, Peters just failed to get a touch ahead of the last defender, with the goal beckoning. Andy Davis also saw a shot scream just wide and Epsley also saw his effort go wide.

However, with the hosts now introducing Randolph Peltier, much to the crowds delight, the BVI were pushed back and thankful for more fine saves from Barker including a couple of one on ones with Peltier, a diving block to deny Wade and also another fine save from Sidney Lockhart.

On the night, a stalemate was a fair result and represented a tremendous performance from the BVI team. Coach Avondale Williams, whilst regretting the defensive errors that cost his team dear in the first leg, noted that he was proud of his team.

“It was very difficult to break down their defense but we battled hard, created a few good chances, but were unable to convert them,” said Williams. “Daniel Barker was very impressive and kept us in the game, especially as we pushed forward in the latter stages of the game. To go out of the competition is a bitter pill to swallow, but with the performance I believe we are on the right track to only get better and better as a team.”

Dominica’s Coach, Shane Marshall commented that his team grew into the game especially in the second half. “We started slowly, but in the second half began to knock the ball around, looked comfortable and had many shots on goal,” said Marshall. “Before we play Canada, we have to go back to the drawing board and work on our first touches, our crosses and our finishing.”