PRESS RELEASE: The BVI national football team defeated a very strong Barth’s national team by 4-3 in the Bath’s International Football Festival — a triangular tournament which included French St Martin.
The BVI had played the French the day before and drew 0-0 in a hard-fought game but they knew St Barth’s was a different opponent and would be difficult to defeat at home.
It must be said that this 2018 BVI squad – now with a new performance coach Mark Hooks –seemed destined for greatness in this tournament and beyond and would not allow St Barth’s to push them about.
The BVI – under manager John Reilly, along with coaches Dan Neville and Andy Davis – decided to invest in their youth and started with 17-year-old Tosh Gallimore in midfield, while 16-year-old Charles Medway retained his place in the starting 11 for this crucial and difficult game.
Also in the starting line-up were local lads Troy Ceasar and Trevor Peters up front in the striking positions and Jamie Wilson in midfield.
Our powerful defence included more local players with Josh Bertie on the left wing along with Phil Neson and James Drury.
As they had done all weekend the BVI started slowly again and St Barth’s took the lead through a long-range strike after 15 minutes of play.
This BVI team have shown great resilience in this tournament and started to come back into the game and created several chances before Jordan Johnson equalized after 30 minutes.
The game then became somewhat disjointed after a succession of fouls by the home side attempting to throw the BVI off their game, hoping to score more goals before the break.
As half-time approached St Barth’s got their wish and regained the lead through a controversial goal which had a hint of offside and a foul on goalkeeper Ben Chapman in the build up.
A lengthy stoppage time ensued while keeper Chapman received treatment from our medical staff.
Shortly after things went from bad to worse for the BVI – this after Carson Price was inexplicably sent off by the referee who was struggling to maintain control of the game.
The half-time whistle then went and BVI trailed 2-1 to the home side.
During the break the BVI coaching staff had time to analyse what was happening with their team realizing the mode of the home side and, the way the game was headed, introduced players – Kevin Fisher and Christian Xavier and shuffled the pack by moving several players to different positions.
The changes had an almost instant impact and Troy Ceaser equalized shortly after the restart.
The BVI continued to push, and as St Barths began to show signs of fatigue, further chances were created as the BVI dominated possession of the ball.
Against the run of play, St Barths regained the lead after a breakdown in the BVI’s right-wing defence.
The BVI, undeterred, continued to have most of the possession of the ball and their persistence paid off when Kevin Fisher grabbed the equaliser after an accurate Xavier pass.
With 10 minutes to go, and BVI camped inside the opponent’s half, made their last change, and brought on Bailey Rowe as an extra forward and sacrificed Medway to become a 3-4-2 formation.
The change proved to be a stroke of genius and immediately paid off as Rowe got straight into the mix and was heavily involved in the build-up to chances for Johnson and Fisher having attempts at goal.
Deep into injury time – it was Jamie Wilson, who arguably had the game of his life. He was probably MVP of the game and has been in tremendous form in the 2018 local league.
He was hacked making a driving run into the box and gave the local referee no option but to award a penalty to the BVI.
Jordan Johnson was cool and calm as he duly despatched the ball into the back of the net to secure another significant win for the BVI and not only brought a fitting end to a record-breaking tour, but more significantly brought the BVI back into winning ways.
Our National mens team can hold their heads high, havng played four games and lost none!
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