AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Local based players Xavian Virgo, Tramaine Stewart and Navion Boyd flew the Jamaica flag proudly down under earlier today when each hit the target to help Jamaica to a 3-2 victory over New Zealand at the Mt Smart Stadium. Chris Wood and substitute Chris Killen replied for the home team in the second half in front of 15,379 spectators, including former Jamaica and West Indies Test cricketer Franklyn Rose.
Virgo, of Boys’ Town, opened the scoring in the 39th minute when his attempted cross from the right flank caught goalkeeper Mark Paston unawares, as they ball sailed over his head and into the far side netting, much to the chagrin of the partisan home crowd who had ventured into the venue hoping for victory for the All Whites.
Eight minutes after the resumption, Stewart, who was having only his second game for Jamaica at this level, increased the lead when he rifled home from inside the penalty area, after strike partner Omar Cummings and midfield ace Keammar Daley had combined well to create the opening.
But Jamaica hardly had time to savour the celebration when the home side reduced the deficit, courtesy of a well-placed shot by Wood, after the Jamaican defence was caught out of position.
However, substitute Boyd restored Jamaica’s two-goal cushion in the 77th minute when he found the target from a lightning counter attacking move through Luton Shelton, who made the perfect pass when it mattered most, leaving Boyd to do the rest with some degree of composure.
But as Jamaica cruised towards the inevitable victory, Killen headed home from a right side corner to lend some respectability to the final score line, as Jamaica registered their second victory over the All Whites in as many engagements, and their third victory in a week, following 1-0 and 3-0 triumphs over Cuba in Jamaica.
The Jamaican players are scheduled to depart New Zealand early Thursday morning (Wednesday evening Jamaica time) for home, via Sydney in Australia, Los Angeles and Miami, before arriving home on Friday morning.
Teams: Jamaica – Dwayne Miller, Claude Davis, Damion Stewart (Adrian Reid 88th), Troy Smith, Xavian Virgo, Jermaine Taylor, Luton Shelton, Je-Vaughn Watson (Jorginho James 82nd), Keammar Daley, Omar Cummings Navion Boyd 65th), Tramaine Stewart (Richard Edwards 73rd)
Booked: Wattson (21st), Shelton (37th), Miller 90th+
Subs not used: Jacomeno Barrett, Oneil Thompson, Keneil Moodie, Romeo Parkes
New Zealand – Mark Paston, Winston Reid (Ben Sigmund 45th), Tony Lochhead, Tommy Smith, Ryan Nelsen (Ivan Vicelich 90th), Tim Brown, Marco Rojas (Leo Bertos 74th), Michael McGlinchey (dan Keat 64th), Jeremy Brockie, Kosta Barbarouses (Chris Killen 64th), Chris Wood
Subs not used: Shane Smeltz, Scott Basalaj
Referee: Norbert Hauata (Tahiti)
Assistant Referees: Mark Rule, Jan-Hendrik Hintz (New Zealand)
Fourth Official: Chris Kerr (New Zealand)
General Coordinator: Glyn Taylor (New Zealand)