Brown power


Brown power

Brown brace inspires U-20 Girlz to 3-1 win over powerhouse Canada

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, February 27, 2020

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Captain Jody Brown produced another stellar performance to inspire her young Reggae Girlz team to a 3-1 win over Canada in their Concacaf Women's Under-20 Championship Group E top-of-the-table clash in the Dominican Republic, yesterday.

Brown, who has seemingly made the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal her play pen, found Jamaica's opener in the 20th minute and also had a hand in the other goals scored by Lacey-Ann Murray (80th) and Marlee Fray (89th).

Tanya Boychuk pulled one back for Canada in the 90+1 minute.

That strike moved the diminutive Brown's tally to five goals so far in the tournament, while Fray now has four goals and Murray two.

Yesterday's win saw the Jamaicans ending group play unbeaten on seven points and 11 goals to their name, following a come-from-behind 4-4 stalemate with Guatemala and a comfortable 4-1 win over El Salvador.

By virtue of topping the group, Jamaica will face Bermuda on Saturday, while Canada, who ended second on four points, will face Cuba, the third-place finisher from Group C.

Meanwhile, El Salvador surprised Guatemala 1-0 in yesterday's curtain-raiser to clinch third place and a spot in the knockout round with three points.

Guatemala, who held Canada to a goalless scoreline and were favoured to join the round of 16 party, were left brokenhearted at the foot of the four-team standing on two points.

After a cagey start by the teams, the young Girlz playing a very high line, gradually opened up and had a few early warning shots from Chantelle Parker, which kept the Canadians on their toes.

Having heeded the warnings, Canada came out of their shell in the 13th minute when Kaila Novak sidewinded her way through Jamaica's defence, but her final left-footed effort was comfortably accepted by custodian Ella Dennis in goal.

Jamaica survived another scare a minute later when a miscued clearance by Lauren Reid gave Novak a clear path to the 18-yard box where she rounded the advancing Dennis, but the final effort again left a lot to be desired.

In the 18th minute, the Girlz responded with a tidy build up orchestrated by Jaden Roberts, who slipped the ball through the legs of a defender, making space for a cross into the six-yard box where Sydoney Clarke fired wide.

Two minutes later, Brown picked up a pass from Clarke in the middle of the park and went on a beautiful solo run by rounding three defenders before tucking away a tidy left-footer past the advancing Anna Karpenko in goal for Canada.

Novak continued to prove menacing to Jamaica's backline, but again lacked conviction in the final third, as another left-footed shot was easily picked up by Dennis at her near post.

With the score remaining unchanged at the break, both teams came out more purposeful on the resumption showing good attacking intent. However, Canada showed first and went close to grabbing the equaliser on two occasions.

The first came five minutes in when a weighted left-sided cross from Jazmine Wilkinson picked out Tanya Boychuk dead centre of the six-yard box, but Dennis skipped across her line and proved equal to the header.

Boychuk again rose above the defenders to get on a right-sided cross from Caleigh Boeckx, but the glancing header ominously rolled past the right upright.

With Jamaica's defenders starting to tire, Canada continued to apply consistent pressure, but tidy glove work from Dennis, and some wayward shooting at times, denied them on several occasions.

That allowed Jamaica to regain their attacking rhythm and it took a diving effort from Karpenko at her near post to deny Brown's stinging left-footed drive in the 71st minute.

They eventually doubled the lead nine minutes later, when Brown held up the ball well for Parker to overlap and firing in a cross from the right channel for Murray to finish off at the far post.

Canada were again cursing their luck in the 83rd minute after Lara Kazandjian's weighted cross was headed into the crossbar by Mya Jones.

While throwing numbers forward, Canada were left open at the back and Jamaica capitalised with a well-executed counter-attack which started from a defensive clearance.

Fray, who was on the receiving end of that pass, combined with Brown to dismiss three defenders before confidently firing past the outstretched leg of Karpenko.

Malia Atkins, like she did against Guatemala in the latter stages of that contest, gifted Canada a goal as her flimsy clearance was deflected over the head of Dennis by Boychuk in time added.

The final round of group fixtures will be completed today to determine the other teams that will advance to the knockout stage.

The March 8 finalists and the third-place play-off winner will qualify for the World Cup to be hosted by Costa Rica and Panama.

Teams: Jamaica – Ella Dennis, Gabrielle Gayle, Lauren Reid, Nevillegail Able (Gabrielle Scarlett 90th), Malia Atkins, Chantelle Parker (Ciara Whitely 90th), Peyton McNamara, Jaden Roberts, Jody Brown, Sydoney Clarke (Marlee Fray 46th), Lacey-Ann Murray

Subs not used: Milan Dewkinandan, Tayleur Little, Tacia Austin, Sherice Clarke, Alexia Spencer, Jordyn Bartholomew

Booked: None

Canada –Anna Karpenko, Caleigh Boeckx, Emma Regan, Sonia Walk, Caitlin Shaw, Lara Kazandjian, Samantha Chang (Marika Guay 46th), Jazmine Wilkinson, Kaila Novak (Mya Jones 71st), Jade Rose (Joanna Verzosa-Dolezal 86th), Tanya Boychuk

Subs not used: Kayza Massey, Molly Quarry, Maya Ladhani, Wayny Balata, Leonie Portelance, Andersen Williams

Booked: None

Referee: Melissa Borjas (HON)

Assistant referees: Lourdes Noriega (HON); Lesly Gutierrez (HON)

Fourth official: Crystal Sobers (TRI)

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