Super sub Rai Simons fires North Village to victory
Devonshire Colts 1 North Village 2
Rai Simons sprang from the bench and struck a double salvo to guide North Village to a come-from-behind win over Devonshire Colts at Police Field on Sunday.
The powerful striker cancelled out Shaki Swan’s first half tally with his first touch of the ball just seconds after coming on the pitch.
He then completed Village’s impressive second half fightback after slotting home from the penalty spot in the final minute of regulation time to finally settle what was a scrappy Premier Division affair.
After all was said and done on the pitch, Kenny Thompson, the Village coach, hailed his team’s resolve to turn their fortunes around and come away with all of the spoils.
“It was a slow start for us and we weren’t the best playing out of the back early in the game,” he told The Royal Gazette.
“They pressed us and we didn’t adapt quickly enough to the press where we were still trying to play out of the back, which led to a mistake that led to their goal.
“From that point I think we changed gears a little bit in terms of playing to the front players a little bit quicker and supporting from there.
“I think in the end we definitely deserved the points and a lot of credit to the players to come from behind to do it.”
As for Simons’s immediate impact on the match from a set piece, which proved to be another turning point in the match, Thompson added: “We had the corner and basically decided to get him on at that moment because we thought his presence in the box would make the difference. And he made an instant impact to put us in a position to win the match.”
The final outcome was a bitter pill to swallow for Colts, who gave everything they had but ultimately had nothing to show for their efforts.
It all looked so promising for the hosts when Swan broke the deadlock after capitalising on an error by Village goalkeeper Omari DeShields.
DeShields sliced Terryn Fray’s lateral pass in the box after the ball took an awkward bounce, leaving Swan with the simple task of slotting into the empty net.
DeShields redeemed himself moments later when he saved Swan’s firmly hit effort from outside the box.
Village mounted a series of promising attacks but lacked cutting edge in the box.
The visitors had a goal waved off by the referee assistant’s flag, while Colts goalkeeper Jahniko Francis, who was outstanding throughout between the posts, dove full length to keep out Fray’s inswinging free kick to preserve his team’s slim advantage at the break.
Village took charge of midfield when play resumed and pinned their hosts in their own half for long spells as they piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser.
Simons entered the fray in the 65th minute and made an immediate impact when he powerfully headed Justin Bell’s corner past Francis.
Village threatened again when substitute Thomas Brown dispossessed a defender in the box but had his shot brilliantly saved by Francis, while Simons clipped the post from a tight angle.
Colts’ luck finally ran out when substitute Jordan Saunders brought Village substitute Tahmi Williams down in the box.
Referee Martin Wyer had no hesitation pointing to the spot and Simons did the rest as he sent Francis the wrong way to secure the points for the visitors.
Devonshire Colts: S Swan 13
North Village: R Simons (sub) 65, 89
Devonshire Colts (3-5-2): J Francis 8 – C Minors 7, Z Burgess 7, M Williams 7- D Ball 7, D Davis (sub: J Saunders, 76 mins), J Paynter 7, J Salaam 7, B O’Connor 8 (sub: G Todd, 83), R Urquhart (sub: D Lambe, 45; sub: D Dillas, 76) – S Swan 7. Substitutes not used: B Robinson. Booked: O’Connor, Todd (sub).
North Village (4-1-4-1): O DeShields 6 – J Harvey 8, T Fray 7, Q Lema 7, K Knights 6 – V Perinchief 6 – I Simmons (sub: T Williams, 18 mins), D Daniels 7, J Smith-DeShields 7, J Bell 7 (sub: Z Dill, 83) – P Smith 6 (sub: R Simons, 65 8). Substitutes not used: D Bell, T Brown, K Carrington. Booked; Daniels.
Referee: M Wyer.