Awesome foursome for Coke
Boulevard 4 Devonshire Colts 1
Ian Coke netted all four Boulevard goals, including a hat-trick in the first half, as bottom team Devonshire Colts lost ground on the teams immediately above them after crashing to their tenth league defeat of the season.
Colts, who were promoted with Boulevard two seasons ago, suffered another setback when midfielder Jomei Bean-Lindo, one of their top players, was taken to hospital early in the second half after suffering a serious knee injury.
The match was held up for almost 20 minutes while a motionless Bean-Lindo received treatment as officials awaited the arrival of an ambulance to take the teenager to hospital.
It is the second major injury for Colts in the last three weeks after the broken leg suffered by defender Quinton Jones during the FA Cup loss to X-Roads on January 15.
“I guess when you're on the bottom a lot of things don't go your way,” said a disappointed Colts coach Ray Jones.
“It looks like a serious knee injury and that probably means he'll be out for the rest of the season, another one after Quinton Jones, our captain, broke his leg.
“Quinton's out for the rest of the season, for sure, and I'm pretty sure Jomei is pretty much done for the season as well.”
The 18-year-old has been one of Colts' outstanding players this season and his loss will leave a huge hole to fill in midfield.
Colts were forced to give a debut to 16-goal-old goalkeeper Lejuan Matthews because regular goalkeeper Gregory Rose was off the island.
Coke capitalised on the inexperienced of the youngster, as Coke, the league's top scorer, produced some clinical finishing to carry his team to a victory that keeps them clear of the relegation zone.
Coke's first goal came when a long ball down the left channel put him into the box before his shot from an angle was parried by Matthews before finding the back of the net.
Coke, with 13 goals coming into the match, doubled the lead when he sneaked into the box on the left side after a throw-in and planted his shot into the bottom corner after some slack marking by the Colts defence.
A minute before the half Coke completed his hat-trick and made certain of the points for Boulevard when he tapped home from close range after a cross from the right by Niko Smith found him inside the six-yard box.
There was more drama early in the second half as Coke carved up the defence before running across the box and driving a shot under the body of Matthews. Colts had a quick response, with Lozendro Symonds pulling one back a minute later with a well-placed shot inside the near post.
However, there was another setback for Colts with Bean-Lindo's injury just two minutes later.
Players from both teams showed concern for the youngster as they gave him an encouraging round of applause as the ambulance left the field. Colts continued to fight to reduce the deficit but their spirit was affected by the injury.
“I saw a lot of character in the second half and that's all I'm asking,” Jones said.
Takeyhi Walker went close for Boulevard on a couple of occasions, including a 74th-minute effort that was smartly saved by Matthews at the near post. Afterwards coach Mikre Pace praised Coke's four-goal effort.
“We were able to give him ample opportunities to prove his worth and he came through for us,” Pace said.
“We have to show him how much we appreciate him because for the second straight year he's been one of the top two leading goalscorers and he needs to be shown the love that he deserves as one of Bermuda's best strikers.
“We were in a little bit of a panic because Colts had some good attacks early in the second half. We started off slow, went up 4-0 and then found our rhythm again and took hold of the game.”
Coke 18, 26, 44, 47
Boulevard (4-3-3): D Chambers — J Crockwell, K Smith, J Williams, Z Stovell — I Mallory (sub: J Symonds 51min), N Smith, D Taylor — I Coke, T Walker, A Famous (sub: T Douglas 65). Substitutes not used: S Foskin, S Worrell. Booked: K Smith.
Devonshire Colts (4-4-2): L Matthews — M Isaac, V Lambe, K Wilkinson, R Jones — L Symonds (sub: D Lambe 84), J Bean-Lindo (sub: F Lema 51), J Burgess, J Mallory — K Jones, E Smith. Substitutes not used: J Paynter. Booked: V Lambe.
Referee: A Francis.