By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
After hosts Cayman Islands had taken a 1-0 lead into halftime on Jonah Ebanks’ score in the 25th minute, midfielder Jamie Wilson scored in front the goal in the 46th minute by the left corner post, off a Luca Chalwell cross past Goalkeeper Albertin Holness on Monday, to give the BVI a 1-1 draw in their Concacaf Nations League match in George Town—the territory’s away leg.
The BVI opened their campaign on Friday with their first home game since 2016 at the A. O. Shirley Grounds. One minute after substitute Syrus Conolly came into the game, he got a pass from fellow sub Elijah Seymour then fired a legger past goalkeeper Daniel Gilford in the 82nd minute, as the Cayman Islands played the BVI to a 1-1 draw in their away leg.
Captain Troy Caesar had given the BVI a 1-0 lead off a header that went over Cayman Islands goalie David Lee’s hands and head while his feet were on the ground, from a set play in the 62nd minute, after both teams had played to a scoreless half. Caesar’s gold ended a five game scoreless streak.
“Unfortunately we played to a draw but we were the better team, everybody in the crowd, everybody on the field knew we were the better team,” Caesar said after Friday’s match. “We came out with a tactic as we knew their weaknesses, we went with it and that’s how I ended up scoring my goal, because we saw their weaknesses in the jump. Fortunately it landed on my head and I scored. I’m so happy. I’ve been away from the national team for a while and to come back and score a goal, it feels good. I wish we could have won the game but unfortunately, it was a tie.”
Coach Chris Kiwomya, said he was proud of the team, they kept their composure, kept fighting and got the goal, but was disappointed that they gave up a goal. “Overall, big improvements and I’m really proud of them,” he said. “Troy is a great leader and he leads the team very well and he plays very well. We knew we’d be good at set pieces and we have to keep putting pressure. It took a little while to get into the game, but once we got into the second half, we got a bit better.”
Cayman Islands Technical Director Claudio Garcia, said he thought it was a good game despite the heat. He said there were a good half, pretty much divided in some points.
“I think we had a bit more time with the ball, I believe BVI chose to go more on a low lob that allowed us a little more time to have the ball but we were unable to capitalize on the chances that we had,” Garcia said. “Second half, I believe BVI came a bit stronger and we took a little more time to adapt and we conceded that goal when we weren’t supposed to concede one. We were aware of all the set pieces from BVI and their strong moments, then we came back in the game again. We tried to equalize and we did. Our coach was very smart in putting more pressure on the BVI’s defensive line. We tried to take it at the last minute but we couldn’t get the win.”
Kiwomya said he liked the fact that even when Cayman Islands applied pressure, they defended really well. “We let them in on one goal which is disappointing, but overall, we’ve got room for improvement,” he said. “We’ve come a long way. A lot of guys had their debut today.”
After Monday’s draw, Caesar said it showed the character of the entire team. “We went down a goal early in the game, but that’s football,” he noted. “The guys dug in deep and we ended up drawing the game once again. They weren’t happy with the outcome but we were. We could have scored a couple goals. We had a couple chances of having a penalty but it didn’t go our way. We’re happy with the drawn result.”
The BVI improved to 0-3-3 against the Cayman Islands since 1991. The BVI will face Puerto Rico in Mayaguez at 6 p.m. on Sunday. In three previous encounters, the BVI has won two and drawn one. The BVI is now 0-7-3 in Concacaf National League play.