Antigua takes warm up game from BVI ahead of 2018 World Cup qualifier


BVI Men's National Football team that faced Antigua in  2018 World Cup qualifier warm up. Photo: BVIFA

BVI Men’s National Football team that faced Antigua in 2018 World Cup qualifier warm up. Photo: BVIFA

St Johns, Antigua – a shorthanded BVI National Men’s Football team put up a spirited battle against Antigua on Sunday March 22nd, 2015, only to go down to the game’s only goal, ahead of the World Cup Qualifier in Dominica later this week.

The game’s only goal came in the 6th minute when Mervyn Hazlewood took advantage of a defensive lapse to calmly slot home past the BVI’s Man of the Match, Daniel Barker.

Coach Avondale Williams, though, was pleased with the overall performance of a hastily re arranged team, which had fallen “foul” of FIFA’s eligibility rules.

“I’m very pleased with the performance of my team tonight, we had to reshuffle things at the last minute, but all the players stepped up and battled well,” said Williams. “Debutants, Mario Burke, and Allon Williams played well as did Daniel Barker in goal. Hopefully we can be more successful as we go on.”

Barker was a standout performer, playing in goal. “We played well and in terms of performance, we are getting better every game. It’s not about individual performance, but how we play as a team, so tonight bodes well for the future,” said the goalie.

One of the young debutants was Mario Burke, who came to the squad late, but impressed both in training and during his first game for the Territory. “I really went out there and tried my best,” said Burke. “I’m not as fit as I want to be, but I went out there and gave it my all. I will be getting up early, training, running and doing what I can to get even better for the games against Dominica.”

The team, whilst ceding large amounts of possession to Antigua, had several opportunities to level the match, but where thankful to Barker, who pulled off some stunning saves. Especially a double block late in the second half.

James Shearman was adjudged off side just before he unleashed a shot, which went narrowly over the bar and with a slightly longer leg, Andy Davis would have made a crucial contact inside the six yard box after Allon Williams won a free kick just outside the box.

The team leaves for Dominica this morning and will be preparing for a two legged, first round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, to be held in Russia.

The first leg is scheduled for the 26th March and the second leg, Sunday 29th March, both at Windsor Park, in Dominica.