Thompson hat-trick puts dagger in Blazers
X-Roads 4 Boulevard 3
X-Roads continued their impressive start to the season with a dramatic come-from-behind win over Boulevard Blazers in this high-scoring and entertaining match at Garrison Field yesterday.
A hat-trick from leading goalscorer Donavan Thompson and a converted penalty by Patrick Richardson rescued all three points for X-Roads and robbed the visiting side of a deserved point.
X-Roads capitalised on two major defensive blunders by Boulevard to win the game and stay top of the Premier Division, preserving their perfect record with four wins from four games. The loss leaves the Blazers pointless and anchored at the bottom of the table.
The Blazers would dominate the first half and it was no surprise when they took the lead through Ian Coke, who ran on to an inch-perfect through-ball by Clay Darrell, hitting it on the run to beat X-Roads goalkeeper Dashun Cooper at his far post. The Blazers should have increased their lead midway through the half when Coke returned the favour to Darrell, only for him to miskick when well positioned, allowing Cooper to smother the ball.
Boulevard gifted X-Roads the equaliser just before the half when centre half Jakio Williams preferred to hold on to the ball unnecessarily when clearing it seemed the obvious choice. Instead, he was dispossessed by Thompson, who stuck a boot out to deflect the ball into his path before planting his shot past a bewildered Ronniko Burchall in the Blazers goal.
It didn’t take long for the Blazers to score again after the half when their defence intercepted a X-Roads throw in to play a cross field, diagonal ball which Coke used his speed to outrun his marker and be first to the ball before lobbing it over the advancing Cooper into an empty net. Blazers continued to apply pressure on the X-Roads defence and would score their third shortly after when Darrell had his firm shot blocked by Cooper, but the rebound fell to Aldonte Smith, who coolly headed into the open net.
As the game progressed into its later stages, fitness and mental toughness started to take over. X-Roads maintained a never-say-die attitude and continued to run hard at the Blazers. This constant pressure paid off when Thompson rose high and unchallenged to head a Patrick Richardson free kick past a flat-footed Burchall. X-Roads would then get on level terms when Kyle Hamilton chased down a loose ball running away from goal, only for goalkeeper Burchall to needlessly foul him from behind, leaving referee Garic Swainson no choice but to award a penalty kick. Richardson planted his spot-kick past a deflated Burchall.
As the game entered stoppage time, the Blazers’ legs were becoming weary. Takeyhi Walker was dispossessed by Thompson deep in his own half. Thompson cut inside and dribbled across the top of the box, beating two defenders, before unleashing a hard and low drive that settled into Burchall’s far post, sending X-Roads players and fans into jubilant celebrations.
“They gave us a tough match today,” an elated X-Roads coach Farid El Karfa said. “We didn’t start as well as we should have, but the last 25 minutes we showed a lot of fight. I am happy for my players today. We showed a lot of character to come back like that.”
Thompson 41, 76, 90+2
P Richardson 87 pen
Coke 10, 49, Aldonte Smith 54
X-Roads (4-1-4-1): D Cooper — L Simmons, K Wilkinson, J Furbert, O Williams — T Daniels — T Lowe (sub: A Heyliger, 65min) — P Richardson, A Burgess (sub: N Johnston, 75), R Beek (sub: K Hamilton, 56) — D Thompson. Substtitutes not used: J Burrows, D Baker.
Boulevard (4-1-2-3): R Burchall — Z Stovell, Ahjahree Smith, J Williams, N Augustus — N Smith — E Trott, T Walke — C Darrell (sub: K Easton, 81), Aldonte Smith, I Coke. Substitutes not used: D Taylor, T Butterfield, X Darrrell, A Famous. Booked: N Smith, Ahjahree Smith.
Referee: G Swainson.
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