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Golden boot battle hotting up

Main threat: Angelo Simmons in action against North Village last weekend when he netted four times in a 6-2 win to take his league tally for the season to 15 goals (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Donavan Thompson’s recent scoring slump has enabled two veteran strikers to close the gap in an exciting race for this season’s golden boot.

Thompson set the pace in the first half of the season, scoring in each of his first ten league games after joining X-Roads’s from First Division side St George’s. However, his league-leading 19 league goals is under threat with Keishen Bean of BAA and Dandy Town’s Angelo Simmons tied for second on 15 goals.

Bean, another player who joined a new club when he left North Village for BAA, insists he would be happy to reach his target of 20 goals. Simmons, who netted four last weekend against North Village, does have another top scorer title as one of his targets as Town enjoy a good run late in the season.

Both players will play against their former teams this weekend, with BAA taking on Village tonight at Goose Gosling Field and Town playing Boulevard tomorrow. Village and Boulevard are tied on 14 points, just four points clear of the second relegation spot. Town and BAA are third and fifth in the standings, thanks to the goals from Simmons and Bean.

“The game this weekend is not going to be an easy game, it never is because it is a derby,” Simmons said of the Boulevard match. “Yes, I’m looking to build on my goal tally and hopefully we can get the three points that can keep pushing us up the table.

“We’re getting strong as a team, better as a unit with the young players like Eusebio Blankendal, Jahnazae Swan and Tre Manders in the midfield with Michael Parsons and it is giving us a very good push. Our coach has us ticking real well and hopefully we can build from last Sunday with another good performance.

“Last weekend I knew I needed to score to catch up and my goal is to do better every game and score goals to help my team. I was pleased to get four and hopefully I can build on it this weekend.

“My target before the season is always to win the golden boot, in the last three years I’ve won it two times. I just try to set my standard high in the season, but I don’t worry about who is in front of me. I just try to help my team by doing my job which is scoring goals.”

Town suffered a 3-2 home loss to Boulevard in the corresponding fixture back on October 28, as Simmons netted the second Town goal. “No I don’t worry about them being my former team, I just take every game as it comes,” said the Town captain.

“It’s always a challenge with Boulevard but I don’t dwell too much on the opponent, just focus on us. I think we have done a good job to come from where we were in the first half and now we’re in third place, but taking it one game at a time. Plus we’re still pushing for the FA Cup, so we’re focusing on staying third in the league and when FA Cup comes around hopefully we can get to the final and be successful.”

Town also played Boulevard in the Friendship semi-finals, with Simmons scoring the second goal in a 2-1 win just before Christmas.

This will also be the third time that Bean is facing his former team this season, with BAA winning the league encounter at Bernard Park 1-0 before Village won at BAA in the Friendship Trophy on December 1 as Bean scored BAA’s goal in a 2-1 loss.

The former Village captain is looking to add to his 15 goals tonight at Goose Gosling Field as North Village seek the win that should take them to mid-table safety. Those three points would be huge with just three matches remaining after this weekend, but Village won’t get any favours from Bean whose team are just three points behind third place side Town.

Bean, whose move from Village was one of the biggest transfers during the summer, would be happy to just reach the 20-goal mark.

“It’s definitely an honour to be among the top goal scorers, it tells me how lucky I am to be in a team like BAA,” Bean said. “BAA have really supported me and everybody here is helping to push me.

“Obviously everyone knows Village will always have my heart. I would be very happy to get to the 20-goal mark I set for myself. I saw Donavan just this morning and said to him, ‘keep going bro’.”

Village have missed Bean’s goals this season, scoring just 21 times in 14 league games, which is better than only Devonshire Cougars (20) and Paget (19). Bean has no fears of his former team being relegated.

“To be honest I highly doubt that it will happen, they are just obviously in transition,” he said. “I guess they miss my goals and my leadership.”

Another former St George’s player, Jarazinho Bassett of Southampton Rangers, has been in rich scoring form as he chases the First Division golden boot award won last year by Thompson.

Thompson scored 23 league goals last season and Bassett, who joined Rangers this season, has 15 this term as Rangers get set to clinch promotion this weekend in their match against bottom team Vasco.

Leo Burgess, whose team, Somerset Eagles, could also clinch promotion, has 14 goals while his team-mate Tahj Wade has 12, one more than Donte Brangman of Rangers and Hamilton Parish’s Shayne Hollis.