Sometimes settling for a draw in a sporting spectacle against weaker opponents seems like a defeat.
When possible victory is compromised by not clinically converting goal-scoring chances, that feeling intensifies.
Perhaps oblivious to the adage that goals win matches, Barbados’ senior footballers, scraped a scoreless stalemate with lightweights Belize in their friendly international at the Wildey AstroTurf on Sunday night.
It was the second straight such result this year for the Bajan Tridents, who have now sweated unsuccessfully for 180 minutes without scoring, following another goalless draw against minnows Bermuda in March.
Barbados squandered at least five clear goal-scoring opportunities and a number of half-chances, disappointing the close to 1 000 spectators sitting in the three bleachers on the eastern side of the venue.
Buoyed by a 4-2 home victory over Grenada in March, Belize, who only started playing international football in 1995, didn’t have their best team on the turf.
They were without regular captain and their most capped international Elroy Smith, who scored twice against Grenada, and some of their leading players such as Michael Salazar, who also netted in that game.
In fact, the visiting Central Americans outplayed Barbados in the early exchanges.
With the game just two minutes old, Jarret Davis, another goal scorer against the Spice Boyz, should’ve put Belize ahead but was not able to control a ball, which eluded central defender Ranaldo Bailey.
Davis was also denied in the eighth minute by Barbados’ new goalkeeper Kishmar Primus, who superbly spread his body to stop a point-blank left-foot shot after the striker collected a defence-splitting pass from Michael Atkinson.
Primus also had to parry a shot from Belize’s all-time leading goal-scorer Deon McCaulay.
At the other end, Barbados midfielder Raheim Sargeant moved towards goal after Belize rookie Norman Anderson missed his clearance. But Belize goalkeeper West Woodrow read the script and came off his line to intercept’s Sargeant’s cross.
Armando Lashley, the lone striker in Barbados’ 4-5-1 formation, got some cheers from the spectators when his shot from the left side, went just wide of the far post.
The best chance of the half fell to midfielder Hadan Holligan, whose diving header through the centre of Belize’s defence from captain Rashad Jules’ left-side cross, was off target.
On the stroke of half-time Lashley won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, but Sargeant’s shot was high and wide.
Early in the second half after Belize introduced three new players, Sargeant became provider. His pinpoint pass found Holligan in between defenders but he couldn’t get off a shot.
Jules also had a shot of his own blocked by the Belizean defence. A minute later, roving wing back Carl Hinkson made a run from defence and played the ball neatly to Sargeant, who skewed his shot skyward.
Desperate for a goal, Barbados switched around a few players with Lashley dropping back into midfield and Jules taking on the point striker’s role.
Barbados were also forced to rearrange their backline when Bailey unfortunately suffered a laceration over an eye after a clash of heads with Belize defender Victor Mejia going for a high ball. He was replaced by midfielder Akeem Hill, resulting in Mario Williams moving back to assist Shane Codrington in the heart of the defence.
There was a second forced substitution with Omani Leacock coming on for the injured Ackeel Applewhaite.
Belize also continued to clear their bench with another three substitutions, while 15-year-old Thiery Gale, who replaced Lashley with seven minutes of regulation time left, actually took two shots that were blocked. (EZS)