The Cayman Islands Girls Under-14s finished atop Group 2 of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Challenge Series Friday (9 August) after a 1-1 draw with St. Lucia in the third and final game of a three-game, four team series held at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
Both teams finished with five points gaining one win and two draws each, however, Cayman finished first overall on goal differential. Curacao finished third with four points, while Barbados was fourth with one point.
With a 1-1 draw for each team after day one, Cayman came back Wednesday (7 August) to defeat Curacao 3-0, while St. Lucia beat Barbados 3-2.
Cayman had a lucky start to the first half as keeper Raeanna Stewart had a clearance attempt blocked by St. Lucian striker Jerdel King-Emery that landed in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. Moments later, St. Lucia keeper Nieasha Edward bobbled a 30-foot Cayman free kick that seemed to cross the goal line, but she was signaled by the referee to play on. A few minutes later, captain Alexia Bromfield crossed to an unmarked Ashlyn Evans in the box who was tackled by St. Lucia defender Arnicka Louis.
After initially signaling for a penalty, the referee ruled it a goal kick.
In the second half, the U14s came out aggressive and eager to equalize. In the 42nd minute, Bromfield sent a through ball at midfield to a streaking Evans down the right side who slotted home to equalize 1-1.
Later in the second, a fast counter-attack and a crisp on-two between Sophie Williams and Evans freed Stoyanna Stewart for a chance at point-blank range, but the Elite standout could not find the back of the net.
“I think they were a little nervous at the start,” said Assistant Head Coach Noel Kane. “We went back into the dressing room at half thinking we were the better team, but St. Lucia plays with a lot of heart. We needed to match them, and I think we did in the second half. It was a very intense game, we are delighted, they really deserve it. They’ve been worked so hard since late last year, they’ve been training for this and really came through. We kept pushing, we changed the formation in the second half. First half we tried to exploit the space we had, we played two up front, and one going left down the wing.”
“The girls were very upset (with the non-penalty call), but they have to have respect for referees,” said Kane. “I asked if it was a penalty at half and she said no, so we have to accept their decisions.”