Paget let the points slip
X-Roads 3 Paget Lions 3
It was a case of two points dropped for Paget Lions after letting a two-goal lead slip early in the second half at Garrison Field as X-Roads fought back to earn a point in a high-scoring match.
Frustration showed on the faces of the Paget players, knowing that they deserved more than a single point in a hard-fought game.
“It's always good to get a point away from home, but I would have been happier getting the three points after leading 3-1,” Robert Lee, the Paget coach, said.
“On the day, anything can happen and that's what happened; they came back and we had to settle for a point.
“We're working hard to survive; that's our main objective, and I guess this point will add to our goal of staying alive. All three points would definitely have been better.”
The home team, looking for a win that would take them past the 20 points they amassed last season in their first campaign in the top flight, as well as surpass the six wins they managed last term, were stunned by a Dion Stovell goal in the first minute.
Paget, apparently not intimidated by their high-riding opponents, forced the first corner of the match after just 30 seconds, and when Akale Bean's high cross from the left was not cleared at the far post, Stovell pounced to drive firmly past goalkeeper Jez Burrows.
X-Roads found their feet quickly, forcing Paget to show their defensive qualities as they started to press forward with Donavan Thompson always looking a threat.
However, it could have been 2-0 in the ninth minute when Chare Smith penetrated a hesitant defence before poking his effort inches wide of the post with only Burrows to beat.
Pressure finally paid off for X-Roads when Thompson, the league's top scorer, scored his sixteenth goal of the season. Using his pace to get past the Paget defence, the striker chased down a long back down the middle by Ahria Simmons before scoring with a lob over the advancing goalkeeper Jason Smith.
That ensured that the striker has scored in all of X-Roads eight games so far, at an average of two goals a game.
However, the joy for X-Roads was short-lived as a minute later Paget were back in front when Akale Bean converted a penalty after referee Lionel Cann blew for a handball in the X-Roads box.
Minutes later goalkeeper Smith blocked a shot from Thompson at the near post after the striker got through again and was left with only the goalkeeper to beat.
The visiting side then added a third for good measure in first-half injury time for a comfortable 3-1 lead. Chare Smith tapped in from close range after Dion Stovell did the hard work in to get in a cross along the touchline from the left for Smith to score from inside the six-yard box.
Unbeaten at home this season, X-Roads came firing back in the second half, with Q'Shai Darrell coming on as a substitute at the start of the second half for Rico Beek on the right flank.
The youngster scored within five minutes, after Thompson used his pace again to go through down the right side and crossed for Darrell to slot home from close range.
Another goal followed six minutes later giving X-Roads a second equaliser to stun the visiting side.
From a free kick on the right by Tymon Daniels, goalkeeper Smith managed to block one effort before Patrick Richardson followed up to make it 3-3 with his second goal of the season.
Both teams battled frantically to find the winner with Paget having a shot blocked at the far post after Stovell got into the box on the right and opted to cross rather than shoot.
Shortly after, youngster Diaje Hart showed some good skills for Paget down the right flank in the dying minutes as he got past two defenders before crossing into the middle where Stovell went down from a challenge looking for a penalty, with referee Lionel Cann waving the play on.
The point takes X-Roads back to the top of the table on goal difference over PHC Zebras, whose match with Dandy Town was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch at St John's Field.
Thompson 34; Darrell 51; Richardson 57
Stovell 1; Bean (pen) 35; C Smith 45+1
X-Roads (4-3-3): J Burrows — L Simmons, J Furbert, K Wilkinson, A Burgess (sub: S Thomas, 72min) — T Daniels, P Richardson, A Heyliger (sub: Terencio Lowe, 62) — D Thompson, A Simmons, R Beek (sub: Q Darrell, 46). Substitutes not used: Teiko Lowe, J Sanchez, M Johston. Booked: Furbert, Heyliger.
Paget (4-4-2): J Smith — N Carpenter, R Richardson, K Hill-Tuzo, J Carpenter — T Welch (sub: S Richardson, 69), D Hart, C Smith, K Smith (K Durrant, 90+2) — D Stovell, A Bean (sub: W Bean, 69). Substitutes not used: S Worrell.
Booked: R Richardson, Carpenter.
Referee: L Cann.