Mallory magic proves the difference
A 40-yard wonder strike from Ijahmon Mallory was enough for Hamilton Parish to grind out a home victory over North Village Rams yesterday.
The win means Parish are level on points with Somerset Trojans at the top of the Premier Division, thanks largely to their excellent record at Wellington Oval, which players and management have dubbed “Sparta”.
Kieshon Smith, the Parish coach, heaped praise on his hardworking team, but remained happier talking about the threat of relegation than an unlikely title challenge.
“Village are a great team and they’ve been champions year after year after year,” Smith said. “We are just trying to make our mark, so we’re really pleased that we got the win against such a good team. Every time we win, it takes us a bit further away from the bottom.”
Mallory, the towering central defender, scored the winning goal in sensational style when his free kick from near the touchline surprised Troy Hall, the Village goalkeeper, and arrowed into the top corner. Some suspected it was a mis-hit cross, but Smith insisted it was no fluke.
“It was a shot. We knew the keeper couldn’t see because of the sun,” he said. “I’m very happy with my players. They covered a lot of ground. As I keep saying, this is a very hard place for teams to come.”
Village toiled for an equaliser but were repeatedly frustrated by Parish’s two banks of four, confidently organised by Mallory.
Their best chance came at a set piece shortly after half-time, when the ball pinged around the penalty area before falling perfectly for Ralph Bean, the Village player-coach, in a rare piece of space. However, Bean’s side-footed shot was well smothered by Stefan Dill, the impressive Parish goalkeeper.
Village attackers frequently found themselves outnumbered, with Coolridge Durham tackling everything that moved in front of the back four, and Chris Caisey, Casey Castle and Calin Maybury harassing relentlessly in the midfield. Angelo Cannonier made a nuisance of himself up front, and was perhaps unlucky to see a shot hit the post with Hall beaten.
Shayne Hollis twice went close to doubling the lead as Parish relieved the pressure by breaking with pace. Caisey’s superb run down the left ended with a smart cut back to the diminutive forward, who dragged his shot wide; minutes later Hollis wriggled through a number of challenges before forcing Hall into an acrobatic save. Macquille Walker, the substitute, then shot too close to Hall after streaking clear of the Village defence.
Village pointed to two penalty shouts in the first half, both after good work from Demetre Daniels, the tricky winger. First Daniels claimed to have been tripped inside the area, then he thought his dangerous cross had been deliberately handled; Stephen Allen, the referee, was unmoved.
Hamilton Parish (4-4-2): S Dill —
Z Bowen, I Mallory, A Smith, M Hill — C Caisey, C Durham, C Maybury (sub: T Webb, 72min), C Castle (sub R Rawlins, 82) — S Hollis,
A Cannonier (sub: M Walker, 79). Substitutes not used: N Burgess, M Rudo, C Smith, R Tyrrell. Booked: Mallory, Durham.
North Village (4-4-2): T Hall —
D Grant, T Wilson, D Tankard,
J Bailey — P Smith (sub: T Burgess, 72), R DeShields, R Bean,
D Daniels (sub: J Dickinson, 77) — T Walker (sub: J Samuels, 63), K Bean. Substitute not used:
N Smith. Booked: Bailey, DeShields.
Referee: S Allen.