Donovan Thompson brace sinks Devonshire Colts and gets X-Roads off the mark
X-Roads Warriors 2 Devonshire Colts 1
X-Road Warriors put on a gutsy display of determination to defeat Devonshire Colts 2-1 in a hard-fought match at Garrison Field this afternoon.
Donovan Thompson scored a second-half brace to give the Warriors their first league win of the season, much to the relief of stand-in coach Khomeini Talbot, deputising for head coach Kameron Fox, who was serving the second of a two-game suspension.
“It feels good to win,” Talbot said. “Credit to the players. I told them if they work hard and keep pressing at it, the win will come — as you saw today.”
The game started on an even keel, but X-Roads were clumsy, giving away three fouls in the space of five minutes. They were almost made to pay for this when one of the free kicks was floated to the back post where Richard Jones was left unmarked, but he misfired his shot and gave goalkeeper Dashun Cooper an easy save.
Minutes later, Colts goalkeeper Jahniko Francis kept the game goalless with a spectacular, full-length dive to push Calon Minors’s drive around a post for a corner after he was put through by a quickly taken free kick.
Midway through the half, X-Roads midfielder Kahmori Brangman’s cross found Darius Woolridge lurking at the back post. His shot beat Francis but was saved on the line by the recovering Jibri Salaam. Before the half could end, Cooper was called upon to push a Jones grass-cutter around a post, sending the teams into the dressing room level.
X-Roads made a change at the half, bringing on Keedai Astwood, a late transfer from Southampton Rangers, for Woolridge. This move paid immediate dividends four minutes into the restart when Minors sent Astwood down the right flank, where his cross found Thompson, who did well to control the ball before slamming it into the corner of the net from 12 yards.
This goal unsettled Colts and Thompson should have capitalised a minute later, but hit an upright from a failed clearance. The rebound was played upfield to striker Brandon O’Connor, who was put through and beat the outrushing Cooper to the ball but shot against the upright.
X-Roads kept on the pressure and scored their second when Astwood was again released down the right flank before picking out Thompson with a textbook pass to run on to. The striker obliged with a hard and low screamer that squeezed between Francis and his near post.
Colts had an appeal for a penalty ignored by referee Anthony Francis when Caleb McDowall, a star of the recent youth finals, appeared to have handled the ball in his attempt to clear.
Despite being two goals down, Colts kept up the intensity in search of a way back into the match and thought they had it when Salaam hit a piledriver through a maze of players, only for the partially unsighted Cooper to push it over the top.
As the game wore on, players were guilty of many clumsy and reckless tackles. In his frustration, Colts playmaker Salaam was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card in the 78th minute.
Colts continued to apply pressure and thought they had scored when substitute Teniko Eve’s point-blank shot from a goalmouth scramble took a deflection off a defender and landed safely in the arms of Cooper.
With time was running out, veteran defender Michael Williams gave his team some hope when he made a forceful run down the right flank from deep and cut inside before blasting the ball into the roof of the net.
X-Roads had to endure a nerve-racking five minutes of added time, and welcomed the referee’s final whistle.
Two-goal hero Thompson was humbled by X-Roads finally getting off the mark. “It feels good to score,” he said. “The team worked hard, but this is just one game. We just need to stay focused, as we have a tough game against Robin Hood next week.”
The win lifted X-Roads of the bottom for the first time this season, leapfrogging Somerset Eagles and St George’s Colts into ninth place.
Colts, who had come into this match on a two-game winning streak, remain seventh.
X-Road Warriors: Thompson 49, 61
Devonshire Colts: Williams 89
X-Roads Warriors (4-1-4-1): D Cooper – C Minors, T Burgess, M Furr, F Turnbull – C McDowall – K Brangman (sub: S Cannonier, 76min), T Daniels, C Trott (sub: J Sanchez, 70), D Woolridge (sub: K Astwood, 46) – D Thompson. Substitutes not used: J Bean, Q Darrell, T Lowe. Booked: C McDowall, S Cannonier.
Devonshire Colts (4-2-3-1): J Francis – K Cann, C Trott, M Williams, R Jones – J Salaam, J Burgess – R Smith-Jones, J Samuels, J Thomas (sub: T Eve, 61)– B O’Connor (sub: K Jones, 61). Substitutes not used: E Weldon, J Maybury, C Critchlow, J Eve. Booked: Salaam. Sent off: Salaam.
Referee: A Francis.