Soccer

X-Roads eye cup glory after upsetting Village

  • Close contact: North Village’s Kyler Knights and X-Roads’ Donavan Thompson tussle for the ball

(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

North Village 1 X Roads 2

X-Roads may not be among those favoured to ultimately win the Friendship Trophy — but just do not tell assistant coach and founder Saleem Talbot and his troops, who have their eyes squarely on celebrating the festive season with their first piece of top-flight silverware, that they cannot do it.

North Village, who have won all manner of competitions the island over, found out yesterday just how hungry and resilient the men in purple can be, much to their chagrin and they will have to find another trophy to chase after losing at home.

“Every game we play we want to win it no matter what game it is,” said Talbot, who was deputising for head coach Larry Smith.

“Whether it’s the Friendship or league game, we go in to get maximum results, so with the Friendship we’re looking to win it without a doubt.”

However, the final result rarely looked certain with neither side able to stamp any real authority upon the proceedings for the first hour of play and it took a highly disputed penalty call from referee Tashun Simons in the 58th minute to jump-start the proceedings.

Alaye Darrell was adjudged to have had the ball brush against his arm during a scramble inside the penalty area and X-Roads took full advantage with Tyrell Burgess converting the spot kick.

Village finally began to shake off their lethargy but before they could convert their dominance into goals they were placed further behind in the 86th minute when Donovan Thompson produced some trickery to take advantage of a goalkeeping blunder by Bell.

A ball to the goalkeeper that should have been collected was dropped next to Thompson in close and the lanky striker produced a neat, but cheeky back-heel to squeeze the ball past an now hopelessly exposed Bell.

Mere moments later, Village finally found the target and beat the X-Roads resistance through Jaziel 88Smith-DeShields, who sprinted up the middle, past the defence to easy place the ball beyond goalkeeper Jez Burgess.

And as time continued to tick away Village continued a determined onslaught upon the visiting side’s defence, but X-Roads held firm until the final whistle.

“What we did well today was to maintain a solid defensive shape today and were able to exploit their weaknesses behind the backline, so we kept our shape and exploited them in attack,” Talbot added.

“We repelled everything that was thrown at us. It was not one man that shone but the whole team, the result was very much a collective effort and coming off of a loss it was a good rebound game for us.”

Leading the Premier Division and among the favourites in all competitions, Village unexpectedly fell flat and now have much more time on their hands that they may have desired to contemplate a way forward.

“We waited too late to play football,” Kenny Thompson, the Village coach, said. “In the first half we felt we were in control, we created some half chances but didn’t have the right, decisive mindset to make the difference, so the second half we increased the intensity a little bit but still not to that expected. We only really turned up once we went behind.”

SCORERS

North Village: Jaziel Smith-DeShields

X-Roads: Tyrell Burgess 58th, Donovan Thompson 86th

TEAMS

North Village: T Bell — A Darrell, K Knights, Z Richardson, T Bean (sub: J Daniels 70min) — D Daniels, J Briers, T Tucker — K Beaqn, R Murphy (sub: J Bell, 66), J Smith-DeShields. Substitutes not used: R Simons, W Shakir, C Casey-Zuill, P Castle, G Butterfield. Booked: Z.Robinson, T Bell, J Daniels.

X-Roads: J Burrows — J Furbert, C Hayward, K Wilkinson, T Daniels — C McDowall, P Richardson (M Hill 79th), D Woolridge, J Lottimore — T Burgess, D Thompson. Substitutes not used: A Cannonier, D Cooper, S Thomas, K Talbot, N Richardson. Booked: D Thompson.

Referee: Tashun Simons.