Colts and St George’s share spoils after two late goals in exciting contest
St George’s 2 Devonshire Colts 2
Devonshire Colts salvaged a valuable point in a dramatic finish at Wellington Oval on Sunday after the visitors felt hard done by after a couple of strong calls for penalties were turned down.
Despite taking the lead in the first half and having the better of the second half chances, the visitors almost left the east end empty-handed after St George’s Colts scored against the run of play with just four minutes remaining when substitute Jahron Dickinson put St George’s up 2-1.
However, the Colts’ response was swift, scoring the equaliser just over a minute later through left-back Freeman Lema to earn a point.
“The effort today has been far better, we really haven’t recovered from Covid and I’ve not been happy with the performances,” admitted Ray Jones, the Colts coach.
“The energy level hasn’t helped, we’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot of players in and out. But I challenged them on their character, ‘hey, we’re now in a relegation battle and have to find a way to pick up points’.
“I thought today our energy level was right, second half in particular I thought we created too many chances not to wrap the game up. Freddy Hall was on his ‘A’ game today. I hate to talk about officials, but it was two clear-cut penalties today.”
St George’s were also missing key players, with Philip Anderson, Nzari Paynter and Gregory Wade out of the defence. They had another injury setback as early as the seventh minute when winger Christian King suffered a leg injury that saw him struggle to shake off the knock before he was finally substituted in the fifteenth minute.
The substitution was a good one for St George’s as Jahron Dickinson, back from injury himself, immediately brought some creativity down the left flank even though it was Colts who took the early lead.
Laquan Paynter’s crossed into the box from the left side went across the penalty area before Brandon O’Connor met it at the far post to side foot past Hall.
St George’s were level eight minutes later when a throw-in on the left side saw Macai Simmons control the ball and turn on his marker before blasting into the goal from close range.
Both teams looked threatening on the break as they battled for a second goal. Colts had strong claims for a penalty turned down in the 39th minute by referee Dwight Jackson when Treshon Smith went crashing to the ground under a challenge from Alleyne Francis inside the box.
St George’s went close with a free kick from similar range early in the second half, when Tyrell Burgess’s effort hit the side netting. At the other end goalkeeper Freddy Hall went full stretch to his left to keep out a shot from O’Connor.
St George’s also struck the framework, with Dickinson meeting a cross from the right by substitute Lashon Dill and placing his header over the goalkeeper Jahniko Francis before hitting the crossbar.
Colts had another claim for a penalty turned down for a handball when the ball struck a player in the wall from a free kick. The experienced Hall then denied them with two more good saves at the base of his left-hand post.
Then Dickinson dealt them a devastating blow when he netted what looked like being a late winner similar to the one scored against North Village on January 30 after he took a pass from Simmons near the edge of the box before scoring past Francis.
However, Colts earned a deserved point just two a few seconds later when Lema capitalised on a defensive lapse before scoring past Hall.
St George’s: Simmons 26, Dickinson 86
Devonshire Colts: O’Connor 18, Lema 88
St George’s (4-3-3): F Hall 7 – A Francis 6 (sub: D Lodge, 84min), E Signor 6, T Burgess 6, J Darrell 6 – D Signor 6, J Burgess 6, C Burns 6 (sub: L Dill 70, 6) – M Simmons 6, T McCallan 6 (sub: K Ottley, 84), C King (sub: J Dickinson 15, 6). Substitutes not used: J Wales, S Paynter, J Brangman, B Swainson, A Smith. Booked: Burgess, Dickinson.
Dev Colts (4-3-3): J Francis 6 – M Williams 6, C Minors 6, S Thomas 6, F Lema 7 – Z Burgess 6, K Bailey 6 (sub: R Urguhart, 79), K Burch 5 (sub: L Symonds 62, 5) – T Smith 7, B O’Connor 7, J Paynter 6. Substitutes not used: E Weldon, A Famous, T Axelsen, J Tucker. Booked: Thomas.
Referee: D Jackson