A disappointing evening for the lads as we suffered our first defeat in this season's AFL D-League.
Despite us going on to lose the game, we made a promising start to this encounter, and we were able to enjoy a decent amount of possession which led to us winning a couple of corner kicks in the opening 11 minutes, however Diamond defended our set pieces very well. Our opponents then went on the attack and created their first goal scoring opportunity, but their striker dragged his shot wide of the target.
Diamond put a great passing move together in the 18th minute which created a golden opportunity for them to score, but they were denied by a superb last-ditch tackle from Nathanial Gumbs, we were then able to clear the resulting corner away from goal. Just one minute later, we put a great move together ourselves which saw Jauron Gayle's shot being blocked by a Diamond defender. In what was a pulsating period of play, Diamond then launched another attack on our goal but this time they were denied by a great save from Darian Carty. Darian then came to our rescue again when he bravely dived at the feet of Diamond player to deflect the ball wide of goal.
In the 24th minute, Diamond won a corner on their left, the ball was swung in and headed towards goal, this time Darian Carty produced an unbelievable save, diving to his left to push the ball away from danger.
On 31 minutes, we were awarded a free kick in a central position, 30 yards from goal. Jordan Deans tried his luck with a shot which went over the wall, dipping towards goal but it was saved by the Diamond custodian. We were then awarded with another free kick, this time closer to goal but on this occasion the shot from Jordan went straight into the defensive wall. Moments later, Diamond produced another good attacking move but this time they were thwarted by Chavoi Gumbs who was able to intercept their cross and put the ball behind for a corner.
In the 38th minute we created our best chance of the first half when Chavoi found Jauron Gayle with a pass, Jauron turned his marker, went past another defender, and fired the ball goalward, only to be denied by good save from the Diamond goalkeeper. Two minutes later we created another good opportunity, Rene Thomas whipped in a brilliant cross from the left which was met at full by stretch by Jauron who could not quite get the ball past the goalkeeper. Five minutes later, Diamond had a chance of their own but luckily for us the shot by their striker went wide of the target.
That was the last real action of an excellent first half of football from both teams which was a superb advert for the game in Anguilla.
It would be our opponents who would have the first real chance of the second half when their front man drilled a powerful shot straight at Darian Carty who was able to hold on to the ball.
On 59 minutes we created our first goal scoring chance of the second period when Jordan Deans floated a ball into the box from the left, it was met by Rene Thomas, but his low shot was saved by the Diamond goalkeeper. Just one minute later, Rene again went close when his free kick from 20 yards out was deflected just wide of the target. Five minutes later, Diamond took the lead when their initial shot was saved by Darian with the ball falling to a Diamond player who could not miss from two yards out. Our opponents then almost immediately doubled their lead but were denied by yet another brilliant save from Darian, this time saving with his legs from point blank range, probably the best save of the night!
In the 75th minute Diamond had another chance to double their lead when their striker was put clean through on goal but, guess who saved the day, that's right, Darian Carty with another worldy of a save!
On 84 minutes, Rene found Jordan Deans with a delightful pass, Jordan tried his luck from range but unfortunately for us his shot was straight at the goalkeeper. Rene then created another goal scoring opportunity when he whipped in a cross from the left, but the ball just evaded the heads of our players, and it was cleared to safety. Seconds later, Jauron Gayle went down under a heavy challenge in the Diamond penalty area, but the referee waved away our appeals for a penalty.
In the second minute of injury time and with us pushing hard for an equalizer, Diamond broke clear of our defence and Johnson placed a low shot past Darian to secure all three points.
So, a first defeat for the lads in this season's D-League but, despite the result we can still take plenty of positives out of this game and we now look forward to our next fixture against West End Predators.