Foursome Simons crushes St George’s
X-Roads 5 St George’s 0
X-Roads reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time after college student Paul Simons netted four times at Garrison Field yesterday.
The club’s decision to bring Simons back from school in Tennessee proved to be money well spent as X-Roads won comfortably.
They could easily have won by a more comfortable margin, with goalkeeper Zeko Burgess, standing in for regular goalkeeper Freddy Hall who is off the island, outstanding for St George’s, saving a penalty and then making a good stop to deny Simons as X-Roads threatened to run riot in the second half.
In recent years there have been upsets at Garrison Field, with X-Roads, then in the First Division, beating Devonshire Colts two seasons ago, before Paget Lions upset X-Roads in the first round last season.
St George’s were hoping to add another top-flight scalp to their collection in the competition.
They did a good job of keeping their former striker Donavan Thompson reasonably quiet, but the league’s leading scorer turned provider instead, assisting with Simons’s second and third goals before finally getting on the scoresheet himself in the 88th minute.
The last time Simons scored four goals in a match was in November 2017 when he gave X-Roads the lead four times only to see Flanagan’s Onions equalised four times in a 4-4 draw at Goose Gosling Field. This time he was not to be denied, the match all but over when he scored his second goal midway through the second half.
“I had the flu today and in the first half I was struggling, but the goals started to fall in the second half,” Simons said. “It was a hell of a performance by their goalkeeper Zeko Burgess, I’ve got to give him the props.
“We put it together in the second half and the ball just fell for me. With Donavan coming to the team this season they asked me to play behind him and facilitate him, so that’s been my role for the majority of the season. Every striker goes through their patches and he is going through a patch right now.
“Props to the coach for making the shift midway through the game to push him out wide and me up top. He still contributed with two assists and a goal, so there is a lot to his game even although he is not scoring at the rate that he did before. I’m just happy to help wherever.”
X-Roads had the greater share of the possession in the first half, coming close to scoring in the seventeenth minute when Thompson drove his shot inches over the bar.
They finally broke the deadlock a few minutes later when Simons collected a throw in on the right side of the box, turned and drove his left-footed effort inside the near post.
St George’s came closest to equalising three minutes into the second half when Jahkai Brangman robbed Jamin Furbert down the right side and raced into the box before driving a shot just past the far post.
X-Roads wasted a good chance to double their lead on the hour mark when Ernest Signor conceded a penalty after a foul on Thompson. However, Burgess dived to his left to save Patrick Richardson’s spot kick.
Despite the setback, X-Roads tightened their grip on the game with Simons’s second goal seven minutes later, getting on the end of a cross from the right by Thompson and steering his header inside the far post.
Burgess produced a fine save to deny Simons his hat-trick minutes later when his shot from inside the box looked headed for the roof of the net before the goalkeeper tipped the ball over the bar.
Simons, now playing as the striker, completed his treble in the 82nd minute after a run down the right by Thompson saw him provide the cross for Simons to score from close range.
Burgess was being kept busy in the St George’s goal, injuring himself after colliding with the upright in the 85th minute while trying to keep out a back header by Simons from a free kick which hit the woodwork.
X-Roads added two late goals to secure their first win of the year. Thompson finally got on the scoresheet in the 88th minute when he scored from a free kick on the edge of the box after a foul by Ernest Signor.
Simons closed out the scoring in added time after racing through down the left before slotting the ball past Burgess.
Simons, who has been brought back on a few occasions this season to help his team, hopes to be available for the semi-final, scheduled for midweek in mid-March.
“I’d love to meet Robin Hood, either in the semis or the final,” Simons said.
“They and PHC have set the bar as far as the standard of football in Bermuda.”
X-Roads: Simons 24, 67, 82, 90+2, Thompson 88
X-Roads: D Cooper — LSimmons, J Furbert, K Wilkinson, J Bean, A Heyliger (sub: A Burgess, 59min), N Richardson, P Simons, D Thompson, P Richardson (sub: K Talbot, 64), J Sanchez (sub: Teiko Lowe, 83). Substitutes not used: Q Darrell, T Pedro, R Beek, Terencio Lowe.
St George’s (4-4-2): Z Burgess — W Broadley-Samuels, D Signor (sub: C Marshall, 82), E Signor, G Wade,M Mendes (sub: K Wilson, 75), J Brangman (sub: K Ottley, 62), J Hayward, K Denbrook, T McCallan, M Simmons. Booked: Broadley-Samuels, E Signor, C Marshall.
Referee: G Swainson.