Somerset Trojans 2 X-Roads 2
Farid El Karfa, the X-Roads coach, was left to bemoan the officials after his side missed the chance to seize top spot after being held to a 2-2 draw away at basement dwellers Somerset Trojans at Somerset Cricket Club on Saturday night.
Goals from Donovan Thompson and Paul Simons had sent the visiting side into the interval ahead, after Jaden Ratteray-Smith had opened the scoring for the home side.
D’Andre Wainwright struck back in the 52nd minute to deny X-Roads victory and securing Trojans only their third point of the season.
Despite his own sides defensive frailties and inability to convert numerous opportunities in the second half, Karfa opted to aim his frustrations at the match officials.
“I’m not happy with the officials because I feel we were denied victory again,” he said. “I thought we had a perfectly legitimate goal ruled out and that’s not the first time that has happened this season.
“That goal would have given us a victory that I think we fully deserved and that is very disappointing and hard to accept.
“We did not expect an easy game against Trojans because they are fighting for survival. I didn’t expect for one moment that we would come here and it would be a simple match.
“Credit to them. They were organised and played well but I still believe we were very unlucky to be denied victory once again.”
The result left X-Roads in third place, two points behind leaders PHC Zebras, having played a game more, but despite failing to seize the opportunity make up ground on the top two, El Karfa is far from giving up on being crowned champions come the end of the season.
“It’s disappointing not to make up ground on the top two but there is still a long way to go, the season is far from over,” he added.
“We’ve dropped two points but there’s still plenty of matches to play and we just have to stay focused for the remainder of the season and keep chasing.”
The visiting side came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock almost immediately as Thompson bullied his way into the right-hand side of the area before seeing his driven shot cannon back off the underside of the crossbar.
Trojans responded strongly and began to create chances of their own with Antoine Seaman and Coolidge Durham both testing X-Roads goalkeeper Dsahun Cooper. That pressure finally reaped its reward after 33 minutes as Trojans deservedly equalised.
The ball was played into Rattery-Smith on the right-hand side of the area, with the striker smartly shifting the ball on to his left foot before exquisitely curling his effort into the far bottom corner.
However, the lead only lasted a little over a minute as X-Roads struck back. Tyquan Perinchief’s deep cross from the right found Simons, whose effort was well saved, only for the ball to fall perfectly to Thompson, the league’s top scorer, to prod home his eighteenth of the season.
The leveller appeared to knock the home side who found themselves behind just two minutes later. This time Thompson turned provider, playing in strike partner Simons, who slotted the ball past the advancing goalkeeper Yizharyah Williams, to send the visiting side into the interval ahead.
However, the their credit, Trojans rallied after the break and managed to equalise themselves in the 52nd minute. Bullish striker D’Andre Wainwright received the ball down the right-hand side before driving into the area and slotting his low shot past the X-Roads goalkeeper.
The setback appeared to shock the visiting side into life who regained a foothold in the match, creating a host of clear chances to wrap up victory. However, a combination of misfortune and profligacy, namely from Simons, conspired against them.
His first chance, in the 58th minute, came after good work from the impressive Thompson, who raced down the left-hand side before picking out Simons, inside the area, whose effort flew over the bar.
Just eight minutes later an almost carbon copy opportunity fell his way with Thompson, this time from the right, beating two players before teeing up his strike partner, who could only drive his right-footed effort wildly over once again.
X-Roads defender Kijaun Wilkinson then bundled the ball home from a corner only to see his effort ruled out by referee Tashun Simons, much to the annoyance of El Karfa, before the man in the middle was again in the spotlight in the 72nd minute, this time at the other end, as he waved away a penalty appeal from Trojans Makai Joell, who went down under slight pressure from defender Larry Simmons.
With the match entering its final moments, Simons was presented with a golden chance to snatch all three points for X-Roads. Racing onto a long pass over the top, the striker beat the onrushing Williams to the ball but could only watch on as his lobbed effort bounced agonisingly wide of the left post, much to the relief of the strong home crowd inside the ground.
Ratteray-Smith 33, Wainwright 52
Thompson 36, Simons 38
Somerset Trojans (4-3-3): Y Williams — C Durham, T Harris, S Brangman, T Ming — M Joell (sub: A Trott, 74min), D Swan, A Seaman (sub: Z Darrell, 58) — J Ratteray Smith, D Wainwright, D Zuill (sub: Z Smith, 69). Substitutes not used: R Simmons, K Symonds, D Darrell, J Greaves, J Butterfield.
X-Roads (4-4-2): D Cooper — L Simmons, K Wilkinson, J Furbert, M O’Brian (sub: W Spencer, 53) — P Richardson, T Daniels, J Bean (sub: J Sanchez, 74), T Perinchief (sub: Q Darrell, 62) — P Simons, D Thompson. Substitutes not used: T Lowe, N Richardson, K Knights, K Brown, A Heyliger. Booked: Darrell, Wilkinson.
Referee: T Simons.