St Thomas may fail to reach knockout roundTOUGH TACKLE: St James Central’s Stefan Bowen (right) putting in a strong tackle against St Thomas’ Shaquille Stewart. (Picture by Shaka Mayers.)
By RANDY BENNETT | Mon, November 12, 2012 - 12:05 AM
ST THOMAS won their first game but remain in grave danger of missing out on the knockout round of the David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils Football Classic.
Last year’s semi-finalists disposed of previously unbeaten St James Central 2-0 at Bridgefield on Saturday night.
It was St Thomas’ first win, having drawn two and lost one of their first three games, leaving them with only a slim chance of qualifying as one of the four best third placed teams.
They will, however, take pride in the fact that they are the only team so far to upstage St James Central, who had already booked their place in the round of 16 after having won their first three matches.
It was a match which almost had to be abandoned because of a faulty breaker which caused the lights to go out intermittently.
But once the match got underway, it was St James Central who created the game’s first opportunity, with Christopher Holmes blasting his first time shot straight at St Thomas keeper Anthony Rollins.
The visitors then almost took the lead through Kyle Smith, but his powerful header was superbly saved off the line by Rollins.
Holmes then wasted his team’s best effort of the half when he inexcusably kicked over from five yards out, after receiving a delightful pass from Garfield Browne.
St Thomas then took the lead with their very first opportunity of the game in the 39th minute, when Shaquille Stewart delivered a dangerous cross from the right flank across goal.
The ball evaded two defenders, and found the boot of a sliding Kevin Scott who directed the ball into the back of the net and past goalkeeper Renaldo Roach.
The second half saw the arrival of some showers which sent spectators scampering for cover, as both teams struggled to deal with the slippery conditions.
Another St James Central chance went abegging when Holmes scuffed wide, before Marville Harper’s timely challenge prevented Haden Holligan from getting in clean through on goal for St James Central.
Stewart then doubled his side’s lead in the 77th minute, superbly controlling a firm pass from Shane Vaughn on his chest, before turning and firing past Roach.
It took an acrobatic save from Roach to deny St Thomas from adding a third after a defender inadvertently headed the ball towards goal right into the path of Scott.
Harper then brought the crowd to life in the game’s dying minutes, dribbling two defenders before being brought down by Ayoola Cyrus just outside the penalty area.
Stewart’s free kick sailed high and wide, as the game petered out in the remaining minutes.
Earlier in the evening’s first game, St James South twice came from behind to defeat St Michael South East 3-2 in an entertaining match.
Strikes from Dario Wilson in the fourth minute and Damion Bill in the 37th, had seemingly set St Michael South East on their way to victory.
However, Mario Williams (5th), Gregory Wilson (41st) and Marcus Best (58th) propelled St James South to victory and a place in the knockout round.
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