Title chasers North Village held to draw by plucky X-Roads
X-Roads Warriors 2 North Village Rams 2
X-Roads played like true warriors to come from behind late in the match to earn a valuable point against a more experienced North Village outfit at St. David’s on Sunday.
Village captain Tahmi Williams had a nightmare start as his misplaced back-pass beat goalkeeper Detre Bell for pace to roll into an empty net, giving X-Roads an early lead in the ninth minute. Village stayed composed after the setback and nearly scored when X-Roads defender Nahjee Smith misjudged a diagonal cross to allow Justin Bell to get a shot off, but goalkeeper Jamin Furbert was equal to the task and positioned himself well to block the attempt.
What X-Roads lacked in skill, they made up for with determination as their backline, marshalled by stand-in centre-backs Tymon Daniels and Larry Simmons demonstrated a no-nonsense mentality to clear any ball in their path to safety.
Bell was at his best to block prolific striker Donovan Thompson on two occasions as he was able to breach the Village defensive line. Tre Ming nearly scored when he intercepted a weak backline kick only for the ball to sail over the crossbar with goalkeeper Furbert out of position and Village’s relentless pressure paid at the stroke of half time when Ming chased down a long clearance only to have his attempted cross hit the hand of defender Orlyn William. Referee Anthony Francis was given the easy task of awarding a penalty and Ming sent Furbert the wrong way to level the match at the break.
A stern half-time talk by coach Kenny Thompson saw a fired-up Village outfit take the game to their opponents at the start of the second half and it didn’t take long for them to move ahead.
A good build-up from midfield saw Khimo Harrison receive a backheel pass from Ming before playing the ball forward to Jaizel Smith-Deshields whose threaded pass to Justin Bell was side-footed beyond the outstretched arm of a diving Furbert.
X-Roads should have equalised moments later when Ajai Daniels did well to keep possession of the ball with two defenders around him before playing the ball into the path of Thompson, but he shot wide from six yards with Bell stranded.
X-Roads continued to battle and found the equaliser when Smith’s diagonal cross was allowed to bounce, leaving Chae Brangman to outrun his marker before hitting a low drive into the far corner of Bell’s net.
The last two minutes were nerve-wracking for both teams as Thompson thought he had found a winner for X-Roads with a thunderous header only to be ruled offside before Village sub Tarreko Wilson’s suffered the same fate at the other end, much to the relief of X-Road’s coach Ralph Bean Jr.
‘We had to be focused on ourselves based on our position firstly,“ he said,
“We have a job to do as we are in the lower half of the table so the point is valuable. Village came good especially in the second half when they had a better portion of the game but credit to my team for fighting back to get the equalizer.”
X-Roads: Williams og 9, Brangman 82
North Village: Ming 45 +1, Bell 56
X-Roads Warriors (4-2-3-1): J Furbert 6, N Smith 6, T Daniels 7, L Simmons 7, O Williams 6 --- A Daniels 6, D Simons (sub: D Woolridge, 73min) --- D Thompson 7, C Brangman 7, R Beek 6 --- A Wilson 6. Substitutes not used: T Lowe, Z McCarter, E Mensah. Booked: Brangman, Thompson, Beek.
North Village Rams (4-1-4-1): D Bell 6 --- T Bean 6, K Knights 6, T Fray 6, T Williams 6 --- K Harrison 6 (sub: T Wilson 68, 5) --- A Dos Santos 5, T Ming 7, I Simmons 6, J Bell 7 --- J Smith-Deshields 7. Substitutes not used: V Perinchief, O Deshields. Booked: Ming, J Bell.
Referee: A Francis.