Village hold nerve to see off spirited Boulevard on penalties
North Village 3 Boulevard 3 (after extra time) (North Village won 4-2 on penalties)
North Village advanced to the semi-finals of the Friendship Trophy with victory over cross town rivals Boulevard, with penalties the ultimate decider of this six-goal thriller at Bernard Park.
Village looked to be about to escape with a 3-2 victory after Jalen Harvey had redeemed himself for a 69th minute penalty miss by scoring a minute later, only for Kamali Davis to score with the last kick in normal time, forcing two periods of extra time.
With extra time yielding many chances but no goals, players, coaches and fans were left to endure the nerve jangling unpredictability of a penalty shoot-out before Jakeem Jennings emerged the hero, scoring the ninth – and deciding – spot kick.
“I’m almost speechless,” said a relieved Village coach Kenny Thompson, after watching his side miss two penalties in normal time.“ Obviously it’s good to get to the next round.
“Cup games tend to be a little bit unpredictable. With no disrespect to Boulevard, we put ourselves in a position, but even as we showed character we put ourselves in a vulnerable position in crucial situations, that took us to this point.
“At the end of the day we’re fortunate to get through. It can be said that we stayed mentally strong in certain situations, but we have to mature a little bit more football wise.
“You can see at the top level that penalties are not a guarantee, but it’s the things in between that were most frustrating.”
Village squandered a chance to go ahead in the 14th minute when a referee Tyshun Simons awarded a hotly disputed penalty after Jaizel Smith-DeShields was brought down on the edge of the area by Anthony Williams Smith.
However, Azir Harvey made the first of his two penalty saves, going low to his left to deny Justin Bell.
Five minutes later Village went ahead as Smith-DeShields scored, with Hayward making hash of a looping forward pass by Bell, allowing the forward to get the faintest of touches for the ball to bound over the line.
While some might have expected the flood gates to open, given Boulevards’ established flaws in defence, instead the visitors found the inspiration to fight back.
Such was demonstrated in the 20th minute when Clay Darrell, after squandering a breakaway chance to draw his side level, immediately recovered to power home a header past Dimitre Bell.
The tied scoreline was short lived, as moments later Smith-DeShields restored his side’s advantage, one which lasted into the half-time interval.
As the match developed in the second half, the teams went toe to toe, the pendulum swinging one way and then the other.
Terryn Fray should have put Village further ahead three minutes after the break, when he was thrust into a one-on-one with the goalkeeper after receiving a defence splitting pass from Tre Ming, but he headed the ball directly at the custodian.
Boulevard responded in the 60th minute, when Sergio Woolridge bundled the ball over the line from two yards out, as Jalen Harvey had failed to clear.
Harvey made up for the error ten minutes later, scoring following a left wing corner, once again presenting Village with a lead
With time ticking away it appeared Harvey’s tally had been just enough to ensure passage to the next round, but the never say die Blazers refused to submit.
A short corner on the left resulted in Davis receiving the ball deep, but producing a magical curling effort that found the top right corner, sending the Boulevard team and supporters into celebratory frenzy and the match towards extra time.
A penalty awarded in the final minute of the added stanza presented Village the perfect opportunity to win, but again they failed to convert, Harvey again saving to his left.
Penalty kicks then became the deciding mechanism and after Boulevard were unsuccessful with two of their first four attempts, while Village scored three of their first four, it came down to Jennings to slam home the ultimate winner.
“I’m proud of my team today,” said Boulevard coach Jomar Wilkinson. “The showed character and a lot of guts.
“Even though we went down I believe we created enough chances to in and were unlucky.
“My goalkeeper was superb and, probably, our man of the match. He gave it everything and I’m proud to see his growth, his effort and the evolution of him as a player, and I like the direction we’re heading in as a team.
“The team’s evolving and playing better, which is the main thing. We want to make steps and it’s all about process, which we have to understand and go through.”
North Village: Smith DeShields 19, 30 Harvey 70
Boulevard: Darrell 27, Woolridge 60, Davis 90+2
North Village Rams (4-3-2-1): D Bell 5 – T Williams 5, T Fray 5, K Knights 5 (sub: J Harvey 46 5), K Harrison 5 – T Ming 6, A Dos Santos 5 (sub: T Bean 73 5), T Wilson 5 – N Smith 5 (sub: J Jennings 51 5), J Bell 5, J Smith-DeShields 7. Substitutes not used: I Simmons, R Simons, O DeShields, S Lambert. Booked: J Jennings, K Harrison.
Boulevard (4-3-2-1): A Harvey 7 – A Williams Smith 5, S Woolridge 6, J Bailey 5, D Hendrickson 5 – A Johnston 5, T Walker 6, E Trott 5 – Q Maynard 5, C Darrell 6 (sub: K Easton 74) – K Davis 6. Substitutes not used: A Famous, A Matthews. Booked: A Johnston, D Hendrickson, J Bailey, S Woolridge.
Referee: T Simons.