Colts claim advantage in title race
Devonshire Colts gave themselves a major boost in the title race with a 3-1 win over St George's at Wellington Oval yesterday.
Colts, who dominated the first half with the wind in their backs, put the home side on the ropes with three goals in 13 second-half minutes to take firm control of a match that could have a huge bearing on the title.
The victory moves Colts three points clear at the top with one game remaining against St David's while second-place St George's have two games left, albeit tough ones against Vasco da Gama and Flanagan's Onions, the third and fourth-placed teams. Colts and St George's have already clinched promotion.
The match was full of emotion with tempers flaring during a second-half incident when Jelani Carlington reacted to a foul and was booked for dissent. Referee Martin Wyer booked six players, four from St George's, Oronde Bascome, Simmons and Dickinson, and Jahkeylo Burgess and Lema of Colts.
Colts failed to turn their first-half dominance into goals as St George's, who have the best defence in the division, soaked up the pressure, only getting a chance or two at the other end.
However, they started the second half more encouragement before Colts made some adjustments and began to threaten again.
After St George's midfielder Diego McCallan went off injured in the 58th minute, Colts had their best chance to break the deadlock when Richard Jones put a header wide from a free kick. A minute later he got another chance, this time making amends when he planted his header past goalkeeper Freddie Hall and inside the far post.
Colts began to dominate after that with forward Seanoj Mitchell striking the post and then Freeman Lema having an effort ruled out for offside after a ball through the middle opened the St George's defence before he beat the advancing Hall to the ball to slot past him.
Colts did get a crucial second goal in the 70th minute when Diego Richardson scored from close range after another good move.
Richardson then turned provider when he crossed from the right in the 76th minute for Mitchell to slot the ball beyond Hall to make it 3-0, the first time St George's have conceded three goals in the league this season.
They had conceded just five goals in the previous 13 games, although they could not deny the division's highest scorers from avenging a 5-1 defeat earlier this season.
St George's pulled a goal back in injury time Jahron Dickinson sent in a free kick from the right and substitute Macai Simmons netted past Jaden Mills-Furbert from close range. Colts almost restored their three-goal lead immediately when Chemarl Henry struck the upright.
“We had the wind in our backs in the first half and it didn't allow us to get our passing game together,” Ray Jones, the Colts coach, said.
“In the second half, I felt going against the wind was going to work in our favour because the balls would hold up in the channels and allow us to get on the end of them and get behind their defence.
“As you saw in that ten-minute blitz it was boop, boop, boop behind them and all sorts of trouble for them to deal with. Most people are concerned about going against the wind, but it works in our advantage based on the pace we have up top.”
Jones is confident Colts' superior goal different will enable them to claim the title even if St George's win their extra game to finish level on points.
“Right now we are eight goals better,” he said. “We'll take the victory, enjoy today and start preparing for next week [FA Cup semi-final against North Village].
“All in all it was a good day, I think people got their money's worth.”