News/SportsReggae Boyz

Minnows Dominica Show Tenacity to Scare Reggae Boyz

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Late horror shows almost proves costly for Jamaica in World Cup qualifier

Shamar Nicholson again found his shooting boots for Jamaica, bagging a brace as the Reggae Boyz stuttered past Dominica with a slender 3-2 success at Windsor Park in Roseau today (9 June).

Kaheim Dixon, handed a rare start, slotted home between Nicholson’s strikes. Slack defending allowed the hosts to snatch two late goals in a seven-minute purple patch, but the resolute Jamaica backline was enough to clinch valuable FIFA World Cup qualifying points.

The Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson was forced to shuffle his pack because of a string of injuries, making five changes from the starting line-up that narrowly beat the Dominican Republic 1-0 in Kingston on Thursday.


Despite Dominica having been smashed 6-0 by Guatemala in their midweek World Cup qualifier, they bounced back with aplomb to show more enterprise than their illustrious opponents on home soil.

It was only down to superior finishing that Jamaica entered the interval with a two-goal cushion. Yet the Boyz were guilty of struggling to make the breakthrough. Shotstopper Glenson Prince did well to save Nicholson’s header midway through the first-half, and a few moments later lively 19-year-old Dixon prodded his attempt across the face of the gaping open goal.

The Jamaican duo made amends before the interval. Nicholson toe-poked home Greg Leigh’s pass on the half-hour mark. An individual piece of brilliance from Dixon, who saw off the attention of being man-marked, darted from the left wing and beat Prince at his near right post on 42 minutes. This was the teenager’s first official international goal, having only found the back of the net in an unofficial friendly success over Trinidad & Tobago this year.

Hallgrimsson was sticking to the strange 4-1-3-2 tactics, which failed so miserably against the Dominican Republic, but shook things up with a double half-time substitution by bringing on Michael Hector for fellow defender Di’Shon Bernard and introducing forward Deshane Beckford for winger Renaldo Cephas.

After the turnaround the Boyz initially were all guns blazing. In the space of 60 seconds Bobby De Cordova-Reid’s effort from an acute angle on the left was blocked, Nicholson’s attempt was saved by Prince, and Dixon was denied by the right post.

Dixon and Karoy Anderson both scooped goal-scoring chances over the target. Yet it was Dominica who then turned the screws, with Briel Thomas and Javid George attempting audacious shots from outside the area, before the hosts gifted Jamaica a spot-kick after Erskim Williams handled the ball.

Nicholson duly converted the resultant penalty, finding the bottom left corner for a comfortable enough looking three-goal lead on 79 minutes. But the Boyz took their foot off the pedal, and paid the price.


Savio Anselm picked out George in the box, who cleverly rounded goalkeeper Jahmali Waite to reduce the deficit with his left-footed strike on 82 minutes.

Nicholson and Kasey Palmer then seemed over ambitious with long-range efforts. Dominica’s Troy Jules 18-yard free-kick was thumped into the top right corner, giving Waite no chance between the sticks on 88 minutes.

The hosts continuously piled on the pressure, but the closest they came to snatching a shock equaliser was Fitz Jolly’s left-footed 40-yarder deep into added time.

Having been so easily pegged back late on, had the Boyz left the Eastern Caribbean island with a score draw then questions would arguably have been raised. This was not the sort of display nor result that was acceptable from Jamaica ahead of tackling the coveted 2024 Copa America.

Hallgrimsson tested out his new-fangled formation with little success, in both outings his side looked disjointed, and if he continues to employ these tactics then the Boyz will surely make a swift Copa America exit.

Jamaica lie behind Group E leaders Guatemala, who beat the British Virgin Islands 3-0 on Saturday to add to their demolition of Dominica, in the World Cup qualifiers.

Next up for Hallgrimsson’s troops is the necessity to be firing on all cylinders for their Copa America group games. However, a drastic upgrade in style and personnel is needed for the bland Boyz to avoid suffering an unceremonious exit in that prestigious tournament.

JAMAICA | Waite – Leigh, King, Bernard (Hector, 45), Lembikisa – Anderson (Ricardo Reid Jr, 89) – Dixon (Marshall, 64), Decordova-Reid (Johnson, 73) – Nicholson, Cephas (Beckford, 45). Subs: Davis, T.Gray, Campbell, Boyce-Clarke, Irving, D.Lowe, Lambert

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