Colts eye consolation cup title
Devonshire Colts 2 Somerset Trojans 2
(Colts won 4-1 on penalties)
It was not the final Devonshire Colts wanted to reach the most, but coach Ray Jones was happy to reach the Expansion League Festive Tournament final after his team dethroned champions Somerset Trojans yesterday at Goose Gosling Field.
Colts, who lost last week to Hamilton Parish in the Shield semi-final, showed plenty of character in challenging conditions to come from behind twice before beating the holders 4-1 on penalties.
“We were looking to be in both [finals], we have a lot of players overseas so we had the squad to play in both competitions,” Jones said. “We really wanted to be there on New Year’s Day and we’re disappointed about that, but we only have ourselves to blame. In that match we couldn’t believe the chances we didn’t take, but that’s football. The next day we came back and played X-Roads in this competition and came back from being down 1-0 at the half to win 2-1. When these guys are back the team has a lot of character and a lot of fight. They have been with the club since they were four or five years old.
“What we have said to them is when you return you will bring us back to the glory days. That was the determination you saw on the pitch today. It was a bit difficult as we allowed the officiating to get under our skin a bit, so the fluency in the match wasn’t there.”
Colts had to make a change just before the start of the match with goalkeeper Johniko Francis suffering a back injury in the warm-up, leaving outfield player Quinn Simmons to take over the goalkeeper’s duties.
Simmons was called into action as early as the sixth minute when he had to sprint back towards his goal to clear the ball off the line from a shot from Zaire Smith from outside the box. Simmons was beaten midway through the half, however, when captain Jaz Ratteray-Smith took a pass from brother Jaden and slotted the ball under the body of Simmons from inside the box.
Colts were level five minutes later when Jaquari Paynter curling shot from the left side of the box found the far top corner, the best goal of the game. Somerset went back in front late in the first half with captain Ratteray-Smith this time turning provider when his pass on the right side of the box sent Antoine Seaman through before placing his shot into the far bottom corner.
A match that started in the rain was being playing under warm sunshine late in the first half as the pitch began to dry out. Five minutes into the second half Brandon O’Connor was denied when an outstanding save by goalkeeper Kyjuan Symonds kept out a long-range shot that was headed into the top corner.
Colts finally got their second equaliser in the 74th minute after Jomei Bean-Lindo curled in a free kick from the right side, Mateo Isaac headed it on and Teniko Eve forced it over the line from inside the six-yard box to send the match into a penalty shoot-out.
Colts were flawless in the penalties, scoring all four of their efforts while Somerset missed their first two. Diego Richardson, Freeman Lema and goalkeeper Simmons scored for Colts before Johkeylo Burgess netted the decider. Jeze Butterfield had his shot saved by Simmons before Jaellan Greaves fired over the bar and then Malik Joell scored their third kick.
“He saved one and one goes over the top; that’s the team spirit,” Jones said of goalkeeper Simmons. “We asked him, literally, ten minutes before the match if he could go in goal.
“That’s where this team is, willing to pull for each other. I’m just happy for the youngsters; it would be nice if we can win it, just to let them know the future is there and they could be the start of winning some things.”
Jaz Ratteray-Smith conceded that Colts were the deserved winners. “It was a hard game, they were fierce, came to play and were tough.
“You can’t win them all,” said the Somerset captain who played a key role in last year’s win in the final.
“I have a poster in my house, newspaper article, everything,” he said of The Royal Gazette write-up on their win over BAA.
“Every year in the PDL [Player Development League] we come strong but this year we fell short. The PDL helps the youngsters get familiar with how we want to play, then grooms them to be Premier Division players. Some of them already play in the Premier Division.”
Paynter 27, Eve 74
Jaz Ratteray-Smith 22, Seaman 39
Devonshire Colts: Quinn Simmons — J Bean-Lindo, S Burgess, R Jones, J Burgess, C Henry, D Richardson, E Smith, J Paynter, M Isaac, J Talbot-Thomas. Substitutes: F Lema, M Bean-Brown, Quilven Simmons, E Weldon, B O’Connor, A Hart. Booked: Isaac, Bean-Lindo, Richardson, Lema.
Somerset Trojans: K Symonds, Jaz Ratteray-Smith, J Greaves, T Harris, M Henschke, Makai Joell, Malik Joell,D Richardson, R Simmons, Z Smith, D Wainwright. Substitutes not used: Jaden Ratteray-Smith, J Estis, H Butterfield, J Butterfield, N Brockington, C Durham, T Edwards, A Seaman, D Zuill, T Ming. Booked: D Richardson, Jaden Ratteray-Smith.
Referee: W Woodley.