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North Village stay in title race after stunning late comeback

Justin Bell scored the North Village equaliser (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Hamilton Parish 1 North Village 2

North Village maintained their position among the Premier Division’s leading pack after Jaizel Smith-DeShields completed a remarkable late comeback at Wellington Oval on Sunday.

Smith-DeShields’ last-gasp effort quickly followed a goal from Justin Bell, which cancelled out an earlier Aaron Nelson pile-driver for Parish to move in front, with Village remaining in touching distance for the title three points behind leaders PHC.

Village’s late goals were just reward for them having controlled large portions of the contest but with five minutes to captain Tahmi Williams thought he was waving goodbye to his championship hopes.

“I won’t lie. I thought they had us,” Williams said. “Once we got the first goal, I told the guys that we have time and to just focus on putting the ball into the box and we wound up getting a last-minute goal. We really needed those three points to stay up with the leaders.”

Village paid a severe price for high-pressure tactics in the 70th minute when a swift Parish counter-attack found Nelson in space 30 yards out. As Rams scrambled to recover ground and shut down the attack, Nelson unleashed a shot that flew goalwards, glancing in off goalkeeper Detre Bell’s right post.

Rams stayed positive in their play, with Bell netting an equaliser in the 86th minute following a left-wing corner that was only partially cleared. Bell accepted the gift, firing a low drive that just squeezed under the body of goalkeeper Nigel Burgess and over the line.

“It was definitely disappointing,” Williams said of falling behind. “A lot of our heads dropped and it was a strain for us to pick ourselves back up, because it really came out of nowhere, but we stayed the course and stood firm.”

As Parish packed the defence and desperately defended in numbers, Smith-DeShields again showed his worth in poking the ball home in the midst of a goalmouth scramble.

Despite having nothing to play for, Parish fought tooth and nail throughout and had no substitutes to call upon in the face of unyielding pressure toward the end.

“This one really hurt,” said Parish coach Omar Allen, standing in for the suspended Sergio Goater.

“The whole team hurt over this one. I thought we had it. The last five minutes we were just fatigued. You would have seen that we didn’t have any subs and we just were worn down at the end.

“We had players that could not make it at the last minute, which put a dent on us, but we played well.”

Village have by far the hardest run-in of the title contenders with two of their remaining three games coming against St George’s and Devonshire Cougars but they are fighting on two fronts with an FA Cup semi-final against Paget Lions to look forward to.

“We just have to take things a day at a time, do what we have to do to prepare in training and make sure we’re ready for the challenges,” Williams said.

“Those teams have a lot to fight for and so do we. We’re still in the FA Cup and have a chance at the league. Everybody is trying to get a result and we need to go from here and produce each time.”


Hamilton Parish: Nelson 70.

North Village: Bell 86, Smith-DeShields 90+2.


Hamilton Parish (4-5-1): N Burgess 8 --- M Turner 6, K Knights 6, Q Outerbridge 6, C Castle 6 --- Z Burgess 6, A Nelson 7, S Hollis 7, J Burgess 6, J Steede 6 --- C Lindo 6. Booked: Outerbridge, Z Burgess.

North Village (3-5-2): D Bell 6 - T Wilson 6, K Knights 6, T Bean 6 --- J Harvey 7, N Smith 6, V Perinchief 6, T Williams 6, S Somner (sub: P Swan, 68min 5) ---J Bell 7, J Smith-DeShields 6. Substitutes not used: Omari Des, K Harrison, D Dillas, N Anglin. Booked: Williams, Smith-DeShields.

Referee: A Calume (USA).

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Published February 27, 2023 at 7:43 am (Updated February 27, 2023 at 7:43 am)

North Village stay in title race after stunning late comeback

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