Digicel Caribbean Cup Game 3: Cayman Islands 4 Anguilla 1

Anguilla coach Scott Cooper was left disappointed after a 10 minute spell that has ended his side’s chances in the Digicel Cup, “we played very well for the majority of the match and could have caused a shock if the decision had of been different on the stoke of half-time.”  Anguilla took the lead through an excellent headed goal by their centre forward Javille Brooks that he managed to loop over the Cayman keeper.  However, they were pegged back in first half injury time by a penalty that the referee seemed at first to award.  It was the referee’s assistant who made the decision by raising his flag, much to the disappointment of coach Cooper, “it was strange as the referee seemed to be positioned better than his assistant and was clearly not going to give a penalty until he saw the flag.”  Cayman’s second penalty in as many games was comfortably dispatched by Mark Ebanks to level the score at one each, the goal keeper had no chance.

It was harsh on Anguilla who had played a very good first half, and were doing their country proud against the odds.  Anguilla tend to be underdogs in these encounters but in fairness to them, they took the game to Cayman in the first half.  They had a number of attempts at goal before they finally broke the deadlock.  The goal scorer, Brooks, was instrumental in their build up play, holding the ball up and laying the ball off for shots from the edge of the area.  Ultimately however, their shooting did not match the build-up play in these early exchanges.

It was a ten minute spell at the beginning of the second half where Cayman simply blitz the Anguilla goal and scored three very good goals.  It was Ebanks again on 48 minutes who provided an excellent finish as he latched on to a defense splitting through ball, and with his first touch was able to stir it past the oncoming keeper for Cayman’s second goal.

Anguilla did come forward just after the goal and had a set piece from a descent position on the right hand side, the chance was wasted with a poor delivery.  With their height and physical presence, they need to make more of such opportunities.

Back came Cayman and on 56 minutes a superb one-two on left side of the penalty area completely opened up the Anguilla defense who were left flat footed.  Theron Wood was through for a one-on-one with the keeper and he made no mistake with a sublime finish.  We barely had time to blink as two minutes later Cayman were on the attack again, from a corner Paul Brown met the delivery from the left with a powerful header that shook the back of the net.  At four one it was game over!

Cayman were comfortable after that and actually had a couple more opportunities to add to the lead, from one such attack Ebanks was denied his hat-trick when he was put through only to be foiled by a fantastic finger tip save by Ryan Liddle in the Anguilla goal.

Carl Brown, the Cayman head coach, commented that he was delighted with the result, “it was great to score so many goals, in general we are not a high scoring team…..it is important that we keep our feet on the ground and don’t get carried away with it though.”  When asked about Wednesday’s match versus Puerto Rico, he responded “we knew that Puerto Rico were going to be our toughest opponent in the Group, they are very physical so we have to try and match that, our team is very young so we need to recover well tomorrow and be ready for Wednesday.”

Cayman’s captain Ian Lindo was also satisfied with the result, “scoring four goals will help our confidence going into the Puerto Rico match.”  He added “it was a more enjoyable match because the conditions were far better than Saturday night.  It would be great for football in Cayman if we can qualify to stage 2 of the Digicel Cup so we must remain focused over the next few days.”

Qualification for stage two is still in the balance for Cayman but this win and scoring four goals will help their cause.

Cayman Islands:  12. Ramon Sealy 2. Paul Brown (77 Minutes 6. Ron Christopher Douglas) 4. Oneil Taylor 5. Lugi Hernandez 7. Donald Solomon 8. Ian Lindo (Capt.) (65 Minutes 18. Nicholas Ebanks) 9. Theron Wood (73 Minutes 17. Tex Whitelocke) 11. Mark Ebanks 13. Mario Rene Carter 14. Andre McFarlene 19. Leighton Elliot

Anguilla: 1. Ryan Liddie 2. Girdon Connor 3. Romare Kelsick 7. Walwyn Benjamin 8. Leon Jeffers (60 Minutes 4. Khaloni Richardson) 9. Javille Brooks (75 Minutes 6. Damian Bailey) 10. Terrence Rodgers 11. Ian Edwards (Capt.) (60 Minutes 12. Gracen Richardson) 13. Adonijah Richardson 14. Jarden Abbot 16. Kevin Hawley