Hall ʽthe Wall’ frustrates X-Roads
St George’s 1 X-Roads 1
X-Roads dropped two valuable points after a late Jahron Dickinson equaliser earned promoted side St George’s their first home point of the season at Wellington Oval yesterday.
X-Roads, with one point from five games, looked on their way to their first win after taking the lead late in the first half through Kahmori Brangman. However, Freddy Hall, back in the St George’s net after missing the Devonshire Cougars defeat because of injury, was outstanding and kept the home team in the game before Jahron Dickinson netted his second goal of the season late on to earn a point.
Kameron Fox, the X-Roads coach, saw it as two points dropped as saves and wasted chances came back to haunt them in their first Premier Division clash with their neighbours.
“One thing about Wellington is the wind goes one way and the sun is in your eyes coming from Somerset, so it’s a struggle when you defend the eastern end in the second half,” said Fox, who was coach of St George’s when they were last in the Premier Division.
“Even though Freddy Hall is a good goalkeeper who made some great saves, we have to score from some of the chances we’re getting. That’s what we’ve been lacking this season.
“It’s a new group and all I can ask from them is their best. It’s coming, one point is better than none and I feel we’re a better away team right now.”
The best chances of the first half came around the half-hour mark when midfielder Robert Turnbull’s ball into the box was just out of the reach of striker Donovan Thompson as it went untouched across the goal.
St George’s had their best chance at the other end a couple of minutes later when a long ball upfield by full back Jordan Darrell sent Jahkai Brangman through before his shot from 30 yards beat the advancing goalkeeper Dashun Cooper but rolled wide of the far post.
X-Roads went straight upfield and found the net moments later, Brangman pouncing on a loose ball before driving his shot in at the near post from the right.
Hall called on all his experience to keep St George’s in the game after that as he blocked a shot from Paul Simons, the X-Roads captain.
Just before the break, left back Caleb McDowall had a shot turned around the near post for a corner by Hall.
X-Roads kept up the pressure early in the second half, with Ian Coke, one of their new players this season, going close in the first minute of the restart when he took a pass from Turnbull and forced a save from Hall. Then a shot from Brangman from 25 yards was brilliantly turned around the far post for a corner by Hall, who had one fan behind his goal at the western end nicknaming him Freddy “Wall” for his performance.
Coke was beginning to threaten with his pace as St George’s made a double substitution in the 65th minute that proved to significant.
Macai Simmons and Lashun Dill, who came on for Cavun Ottley and Kenton Ottley, combined as Simmons’s pass sending Dill through on the right before his cross into the box found Dickinson to score the equaliser.
“I’m not sure if it was two points dropped or a point earned, but a point is a point and I think it will be a valuable point by the end of the season,” said Jarreau Hayward, the St George’s coach, whose team are still looking for their first home win of the season.
“We’re grateful, a point is better than nothing. We’re plagued with injuries, about ten players injured right now and trying to figure out different solutions. The double substitution definitely made a huge difference.
“Once we get some injured players back, I think we’ll be fine moving forward.”
St George’s: Dickinson 75
X-Roads: Brangman 35
St George’s (4-3-3): F Hall — A Francis, D Signor (sub: E Signor, 45min), P Anderson, J Darrell — O Bascome, C Burns, C Ottley (sub: M Simmons, 65) — J Brangman, K Ottley (sub: L Dill, 65), J Dickinson. Substitutes not used: T Smith, W Broadley. Booked: Burns.
X-Roads (4-3-3): D Cooper — J Furbert, C Minors, M Furr, C McDowall — R Turnbull (sub: A Burgess, 72), P Simons, F Turnbull — D Thompson, I Coke (sub: D Woolridge, 80), K Brangman (sub: C Trott, 90). Substitutes not used: T Daniels, R Beek, Q Darrell. Booked: Turnbull.
Referee: M Wyer.