Hall’s experience is key, says St George’s coach Hayward
Jarreau Hayward, the St George’s coach, acknowledged Freddy Hall’s value to the team after the veteran goalkeeper helped earn them their first home point of the season with an outstanding performance in the 1-1 draw with X-Roads on Sunday.
The promoted side have been plagued with injuries this season, with Hall returning on the weekend after missing the previous match against Robin Hood in the wake of a bike crash. St George’s lost to Hood 3-0, their biggest margin of defeat so far, but in the five matches Hall has played, the East Enders have conceded only four goals.
As he showed on Sunday, when a number of saves kept St George’s in the game before Jahron Dickinson equalised in the 75th minute to earn a valuable point.
“He’s been massive, I can’t measure what Freddy’s value is to us at all,” Hayward said after the team’s first Premier Division match with the Warriors on what the Bermuda Football Association dubbed “derby weekend”.
The coach added: “On the field, off the field, in the locker room, on the training ground, he’s immense for us.”
Hall, a former professional, is also one of the assistant coaches for St George’s, who are battling to prove themselves in their first season back in the top division.
“When we get our injuries and suspension back, we can start to really work on things,” Hayward said. “With him in goal and with our backline we’ll be all right, but we’re missing goalscorers and midfielders right now.”
St George’s were without striker Clay Darrell for the X-Roads match as he sat out a one-game suspension after too many yellow cards. He should be back for Sunday’s crucial clash with fellow promoted side Devonshire Colts, one of three clubs still seeking their first win of the season.
“We’re new to the division, so guys are kind of hesitant and not as confident, maybe,” Hayward said. “But the confidence is growing every game.”
After six weeks of the 20-game league season, four teams are battling to avoid the three relegation spots. PHC and Somerset Trojans moved into comfortable mid-table places with their derby wins over Southampton Rangers and Somerset Eagles on Sunday.
Devonshire Colts, X-Roads and Eagles occupy the relegation places, none with a win so far. However, that could change this weekend when Eagles and X-Roads meet in a clash of the bottom two.
All four teams have been promoted in the past three years, X-Roads with Young Men’s Social Club in 2016-17, Eagles with Southampton Rangers in 2017-18 and Devonshire Colts and St George’s Colts last season when they came up as joint champions.
Kameron Fox was the St George’s coach when they were last relegated in 2015 after a 1-1 home draw with Robin Hood in their final game wasn’t enough to keep them up. He is now facing the prospect of another relegation battle with X-Roads in his first season as their coach.
“Yeah I could hear the fans, but I love coming to Wellington, in fact anywhere in the east, as I’m an eastern boy,” Fox said.
“I wish them the best in their endeavours and I hope that my team pulls it through as well. The good thing is teams around us aren’t really getting away, either. We’re in a good space right now and have a good run of games coming.
“If we can’t beat the teams that we’re around right now, do we really deserve to be in this division? Our main focus is beating the teams around us.”
X-Roads meet bottom team Somerset Eagles at White Hill Field on Sunday before they have a bye and then return for matches against Devonshire Colts, Robin Hood and then Somerset Trojans to complete the first-half schedule.
n The Dudley Eve Trophy final between Dandy Town, the holders, and Devonshire Cougars will be played at National Stadium. The teams last met in the final in 2013, when Town won 5-4 on penalties after the game ended 2-2.