Simons saves the day for Hood
Robin Hood 4 X-Roads Warriors 4
(after extra time; 3-3 after 90mins; Hood win 3-1 on penalties)
Robin Hood fought back from a three-goal deficit, came from behind in extra time then outscored X-Roads in the penalty shoot-out to win a thrilling Friendship Trophy quarter-final against X-Roads Warriors at Goose Gosling Field yesterday.
Hood goalkeeper Jason Simons had an outstanding performance between the sticks as first he denied X-Roads a sure goal with a fingertip save in extra time, scored a penalty himself in the shoot-out, and then made two great saves from the spot to secure victory.
John Barry Nusum, the Hood coach, had nothing but praise for his goalkeeper saying: “We showed character today. Jason told me that he felt confident going into the penalty shoot-out and proved it in his performance.”
X-Roads opened the scoring within 30 seconds when they intercepted the Robin Hood kick-off and played the ball wide to Jamin Furbert, the captain. His first-time cross found the foot of new signee Jahmel Swan, who unleashed a hard and low drive which landed in the bottom left corner of Simons’s net before he could settle into goal. X-Roads pinned Hood in their own half and had at least four attempts at goal in the first 20 minutes.
There was no surprise when the second goal came midway through the half. Striker Paul Simons fought off his defender before dribbling along the byline and squaring the ball back to find the onrushing Swan, whose first-time shot rifled into the roof of the net leaving Simons helpless.
Before Hood could recover, they found themselves three goals down when Kahmori Brangman played a give and go with Swan, kept his composure to beat one defender and slotted the ball low into Simons’s right corner.
Hood started to catch themselves and would force X-Roads goalkeeper Dashaun Cooper to rush off his line to make a point-blank save from Antwan Russell, who had been put through by Nathan Peskett. A minute later, Peskett made a dazzling run down the right flank forcing a defender to clear for a corner. From the resulting corner, Russell found Jaylon Bather whose downward header deflected of skipper Jamin Furbert and landed into the back of the net.
Nusum’s stern half-time team talk paid dividends as the tables turned and it was now Hood who pinned X-Roads in their own half. It would only be a matter of time before they scored as the constant through-balls and crosses would have Warriors back-pedalling and making desperate last-minute tackles.
Hood’s second goal came midway through the half when Russell collected a ball from 25 yards, dribbled a few steps and then unleashed a blazing shot that sailed into the roof of the net catching Cooper off guard.
With the score now 3-2 and only minutes left, Hood keeper Simons pulled off the game-changing save when he got a fingertip to a goalbound header by Paul Simons, pushing it over the top for a corner. With only two minutes remaining, Hood would equalise when Russell floated an inch-perfect cross for Shakir Smith to glance off his head and over an outstretched arm from Cooper before resting in the top right corner of the net.
X-Roads thought they had won in extra time when Mackin McGowan scored with a powerful header three minutes into the first extra period.
However, Hood scored with the last kick of the game when a quick build-up involving several players fell to Lejuan Simmons, who planted his shot past the advancing keeper sending the game into penalty kicks.
Simons would continue his heroics when first he scored Hood’s second spot-kick and then made two crucial penalty saves to deny X-Roads victory.
Farid El Karfa, the X-Roads coach, said, “We missed too many chances. We showed a lot of character but this was a tough loss after leading 3-0.”
Furbert og 42, Russell 68, Smith 88, Simmons 120
Swan 1, 24, Brangman 39, McGowan 93
Robin Hood: J Simons — S Smith, J Bather, J Titterton, J Pereira (sub: E Outerbridge 40min), L Symonds (sub: Z Burgess 65), A Russell, C Ryan, L Simmons, N Peskett (sub: L Evans h-t), M Burchall. Substitutes not used: N Figureido, C Ricca, J Nusum. Booked: Bather, Titterton.
X-Roads Warriors: D Cooper — A Burgess (sub: M McGowan 88), K Wilkinson, J Furbert, O Williams, P Parsons, K Brangman (sub: J Bean 82), J Swan, A Simons, P Simons, K Davis-Jones (sub: A Spencer 69). Substitutes not used: T Lowe, F Pacheco, R Beek. Booked: Furbert.
Referee: L Cann.