FORGET Merseyside and forget Glasgow, the weekend’s JFA Combination West vs East was enough to feed your football hunger as St Brelade and St Clement played out a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Both teams came into the game sitting mid-table in the Jacksons’s Premiership and a win for either side would have given them a confidence boost to go and the chase the league’s leaders. In the end a point-a-piece was well deserved after both had numerous chances to win but failed to do so.
St Clement started the brighter of the two with youngsters Jay Dos Santos and Jack Lumsden pulling the strings in the middle of the park and dictating play.
However it was St Brelade who took the lead early on. Francis Lekimamati’s cross from the right wing was knocked back across goal by Harry Cardwell and met by the head of Jack Gibson who tucked it into the bottom corner and put the home side ahead against the run of play.
Despite going behind, St Clement continued to dominate possession and Dos Santos who is fresh off the back of making his Jersey Bulls debut continually looked to make runs forward and get into dangerous areas.
First he popped up on the right wing and dribbled past two players before firing low towards Dan Birrell’s near post, narrowly missing the target. Two minutes later Dos Santos found himself cutting in from the left forcing Birrell to parry away for a corner.
St Brelade did not have the lions share of possession in the first period but did have the better of the chances when catching the away team on the counter.
Lekimamati hit the frame of the goal when his low drive from outside the box was deflected – catching the keeper and himself by surprise.
Shortly after, Harry Cardwell struck the post when he found himself a yard of space just outside the Clement’s box. Cardwell used his agility to spin away from his marker and unleashed a curling effort which bent round the defence and onto the woodwork.
Despite a multitude of chances for both sides, St Brelade remained one ahead as both teams headed for the changing rooms at half-time.
With the support of a vocal clubhouse, St Brelade looked rejuvenated and re-energised after half-time and it was not long before they doubled their lead.
Brad Stratford was alert to intercept a St Clement goal kick after they were caught napping. Stratford then slotted Lekimamati through on the right-hand side and he selflessly laid it back to Stratford who blasted the ball into the back of the net.
St Brelade, boosted by their second goal went looking for a third and they almost found it when Cardwell cut in from the left wing and stung the hands of St Clement goalkeeper Xav Sundby.
The tide soon turned though and Dos Santos who was at the epicentre of all things yellow and blue, got his side back in the game when he drove at goal and dummied the ball past a St Brelade defender onto his right foot and fired the ball into the bottom corner.
The home side almost replied instantly when Connor Maher hit the bar with an effort from outside the box.
But it was St Clement who drew level when substitute Jack Abreu smashed a volley from outside the box through a sea of St Brelade defenders and into the back of Birrell’s net.
A frantic last ten minutes followed but neither team could find a winning goal and both had to settle for a point each.
St Brelade: Daniel Birrell, Declan O’Connell, Brad Stratford, Tom Floyd, Harry Cardwell, Connor Maher, Francis Lekimamati, Kris Fogg, Jack Gibson, Tom Tilstone, Liam McCormick. Substitutes: Pedro Nobrego, Charlie Petulla, Ryan Campos.
St Clement: Xav Sundby, Chris Herlihy, Max Simpson-Cohen, Joe Brophy, Olly Reynolds, Jay Dos Santos, Michael De Barros, Jack Lumsden, Daniel Tostevin, Connor O’Shea, Kushal Frankson. Substitutes: Scott Hartas, Jack Abreu, Rhys Johansson, Lucas De Matos, Owen Anderton.