Bermuda far too good for shot-shy Grenada

  • Goal time: Russell, centre, is congratulated by Drewonde Bascome and Tyrell Burgess, left, after putting Bermuda in front. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

Outhustled, outsmarted and simply outplayed.

This pretty much summed up in a nutshell Bermuda’s dominant display against Grenada at the National Sports Centre yesterday.

Goals either side of half-time from Antwan Russell and substitute Casey Castle underlined Bermuda’s superiority against a team that never shifted out of first gear.

The home side gained early control of proceedings, took a deserved lead before the break and never gave the visiting side a look-in thereafter.

Bermuda were a cut above their opponents in every facet of the game and were thoroughly deserving of the standing ovation they received from the home crowd after all was said and done on the pitch.

Rarely was Bermuda threatened against a goal-shy Grenada side — the visiting side failed to get a single shot on target — and had it not been for the woodwork and some wasteful finishing, the hosts’ margin of victory might have been wider.

Bermuda’s victory, however, did not come without a cost as Zeko Lewis, the captain, was taken off on a stretcher in the 86th minute after injuring his left knee.

Andrew Bascome, the Bermuda head coach, rung in the changes, making ten to his starting line up from the previous match that ended in a 1-1 stalemate on Friday night.

Grenada sat deep and invited pressure from the opening kick-off and ultimately paid the price as their defensive approach backfired.

Bermuda took full advantage of the real estate on offer and nearly went ahead when Jalen Harvey, the midfielder, headed fellow midfielder Marco Warren’s cross on to the near post with Jason Belfon, the Grenada goalkeeper, in no man’s land.

But there would be no denying the hosts when Russell scored what proved to be the game winner with a free header at the back post. Warren won a challenge for a loose ball on the edge of Grenada’s penalty box, dribbled a few yards before whipping in a cross that Russell finished with aplomb to force the visitings on to the back foot.

Warren, son of former Boulevard and Bermuda midfielder Dwight Warren, tormented Grenada’s back four with his pace, precision passing and off-the-ball movement and was unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet after a last-ditch tackle denied the midfielder a clear run at goal.

Forced to chase the game, Grenada moved their defensive line higher up the pitch in search of a way back in this contest but nearly fell farther in arrears when substitute Rai Simmons squandered two opportunities inside the six-yard box. Scoring seemed easier.

First, the Ilkeston striker failed to convert a breakaway, with Belfon racing off his line to narrow the angle. Then moments later, Simons failed to connect cleanly to Tyrell Burgess’s headed cross.

Simons, though, make amends in stoppage time as he set up Castle’s goal that killed the game off. The striker broke free down the right channel and laid on a pass to Castle, who tapped in from close range without breaking stride.

Castle’s insurance goal arrived six minutes after Bermuda lost captain Lewis to injury, paving the way for Jahnazae Swan to make his senior international debut.

Lewis marshalled the troops superbly and led by example in orchestrating in the middle of the park before his afternoon ended prematurely with the game all but in the bag.

With team morale high after yesterday’s encouraging result against higher-ranked opponents, Bermuda will turn their attention to their World Cup first-round qualifying tie with Bahamas on March 25 and 29.