Jamaica got a second-half goal from Houston Dash defender Deneisha Blackwood, who tallied in the 51st minute at her club’s home stadium, to defeat Nigeria 1-0, in the opening game of the 2021 WNT Summer Series.
Nigeria is coached by American Randy Waldrum, the former head coach for the Dash from 2014-2017, as his new position (he was hired last October) took him back to his old stomping grounds for his third international match as head coach of the Super Falcons.
After a few dangerous forays by Nigeria in the first half, it was Jamaica that produced the first real chance to score and it came from the penalty spot. In the 25th minute, forward Jody Brown, fresh off winning an NCAA title with Florida State, went on a rampaging dribbling run into the left side of the penalty box while displaying some tremendous speed. She tried to push it past Rita Chikwelu, but the Nigeria midfielder cut her down with a tackle and the referee pointed to the spot.
Blackwood stepped up to take it but hit her shot it poorly, and almost right at Nigeria goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, who dropped to her right to make an easy save.
Both teams showed some flashes of productivity on speedy counter attacks in the first half, but as the second half wore on in the humidity and 90-degree temperatures, the match did slow down quite a bit.
In the 50th minute, late first half substitute Ijeoma Okoronkwo put the ball into the net from the left side of the penalty area with a quality far post finish but was correctly whistled for offside.
Just seconds after the goal was waved off, Jamaica scored a goal that did count, and it came off a free kick from the right side. The ball was lofted into the middle of the penalty area and midfielder Vyan Sampson crashed into a Nigeria defender to allow the ball to slip through past the far post. Brown ran it down and did well to cut a pass back to Blackwood, who made up for her penalty kick miss by pounding the ball into the upper left corner with a left-footed shot from eight yards out.
In the 83rd minute, Nigeria forward Michelle Alozie came close to getting the equalizer when she hit the cross bar with a left-footed blast from outside the box, but the ball bounced down and out and was cleared away.
Jamaica almost put the game away in the dying seconds as substitute midfielder Tiffany Cameron got loose on a breakaway. Oluehi closed fast and then did well to hold her ground before going to the ground to save the first shot. Two more follow-up chances from Jamaica were cleared out of the goal mouth and Blackwood’s score proved to be the lone score of the game.