League leaders North Village through to Friendship Trophy final
Dandy Town 1 North Village 2
Z’Dao Dill’s second-half winner catapulted North Village through to their first Friendship Trophy final in five seasons at Lord’s on Monday.
The 20-year-old forward, who was a constant threat out on the flank with his wizardry and pace, drilled home substitute Owen Botelho’s cross from inside the box to settle a scrappy affair played in steady downpours.
Earlier, team-mate Jaizel Smith-DeShields and Town captain Angelo Simmons traded goals either side of the interval to keep the game wide open before Dill grabbed the winner.
Town were reduced to nine men in the closing minutes as defender Jomei Bean-Lindo went off with a groin injury and his team having not made their quota of substitutions within the specified period while midfielder Azendae Furbert was sent off after picking up a second booking.
Village coach Kenny Thompson was pleased with the win in difficult conditions.
“I thought it was a disciplined performance under difficult circumstances,” he said.
“The conditions were certainly not the best with the rain and the 90 minutes that was played on the pitch before [Shield semi-final]. It was not a pitch for a real high quality of football and so we had to mix trying to be controlled with being safe at the same time.”
The competition’s inaugural champions will meet the winner of the remaining semi-final between Somerset Trojans and PHC Zebras in the final on New Year’s Day.
“It feels good to win this semi-final,” Thompson added. “We spoke before the game about the semi-final that we lost in the Dudley Eve Trophy and that we’ve been here before and we know what it feels like. We had to show quality as much as possible but we had to also be prepared to show a lot of character to get to the final.”
Victory did not come without a cost for Village as experienced midfielder Tre Ming pulled a hamstring and is now doubtful for the final.
“We don’t know his status at the moment and we will see how he responds in the next 48 hours,” Thompson said.
“But if he does not make it we certainly have adequate cover in quality, especially in some of the younger players that have come back from school.”
With a spot in the final on the line, both teams threw caution to the wind and went straight for the jugular in search of the early breakthrough.
Village forward Jakeem Jennings had a shot cleared off the line by Bean-Lindo while Simmons had a goal waved off by the referee assistant’s flag in the first minute of play.
Village custodian Detre Bell then blocked Cecoy Robinson’s effort after racing clear while opposite number Jaiden Manders palmed away Jalen Harvey’s curling free- kick from a dangerous area.
Village squandered a glorious opportunity when Ming lost his footing with only Manders standing in his way while Terryn Fray made a timely tackle to dispossess Town forward Enrique Swan on the edge of the box.
Bell was called into action again to smother Town midfielder Tomiko Goater’s shot from an angle before Smith-DeShields broke the deadlock. Fray lofted a diagonal cross in the box where the striker’s looping header left Manders stranded.
Smith-DeShields was denied a second early in the second half after Manders rushed off his line to snatch the ball off the striker’s feet.
Village suffered a setback when Ming pulled a hamstring and was replaced near the hour mark, but the forced change did little to disrupt their momentum as Jennings had a shot deflected around the post while Smith-DeShield’s sliced a rebound in the area wide.
Those missed opportunities came back to haunt as Simmons brought the teams level. Bell parried Robinson’s low shot into his path and he rifled the loose ball into the roof of the net from point-blank range.
However, Town’s joy was short-lived as Dill scored the winner two minutes later after being afforded time and space in the box to pick his spot.
Town’s woes were then further compounded when Bean-Lindo was carried off hurt and Furbert received his marching orders to give their opponents a numerical advantage the rest of the way.
Dandy Town A Simmons 67
North Village J Smith-DeShields 41, Z Dill 69
Dandy Town (4-1-4-1): J Manders 8 – D Cook 6, J Bean-Lindo 7, S Darrell 7, J Johnson 5 (sub: Z Hart, 46min 6)- A Furbert 6 – D Scraders 5 (sub: D Blankendal, 56 6), T Goater 6, E Swan 6 (sub: I Blankendal, 70 6), A Simmons 6 – C Robinson 7. Booked: Scraders, Furbert. Sent off: Furbert. Substitutes not used: J Richardson- Martin, J Wilson-Butterfield, M Perott, J Chapman.
North Village (4-3-3): D Bell 8 – J Harvey 7, T Fray 7, K Knights 7, T Williams 7- T Wilson 7, I Simmons 7, T Ming 7 (sub: L Outerbridge, 53 7) – J Jennings 7 (sub: O Botelho, 66 7), Z Dill 8, J Smith-DeShields 7. Booked: Harvey. Substitutes not used: A DeShields, T Bean, A Dos Santos, A Kempe, R Simons.
Referee: A Francis.