Bean hits double for gutsy Village
North Village came from behind twice to dethrone holders Devonshire Cougars 3-2 and advance to the Friendship Trophy final for the first time in six seasons at a rainswept Goose Gosling Field last night.
Keishen Bean, the Village captain, led his team’s fightback with a superbly taken second-half brace that put paid to Cougars’ cup hopes.
Shayne Hollis scored Village’s other goal while Cougars replied through late signing Allan Douglas and Moses Steede.
“Cougars are a very tactical team and were tough to break down,” Bean said.
“But we came out today looking to be organised and exploit having two centre forwards that are on form. Shayne and I have scored some goals over the last couple of games and it’s definitely a blessing having both of us on form.
“In the second half our wing backs and wingers were looking to get the crosses in and I think the service was the difference.
“The things we have been working out on the training pitch are now starting to manifest itself in the game.”
Village will face unbeaten PHC Zebras in the final on New Year’s Day at Wellington Oval in a repeat of the 2007-08 final, which the Rams won 7-3.
“We still have some things that we are going to have to improve upon on the training pitch,” Bean added. “But I’m confident these boys are ready to go.”
Cougars woes were compounded by the losses of forward Machi Battersbee and defender Darren Williams to injuries in the second half.
Omar Butterfield’s team came out all guns blazing in the fourth meeting between these two sides.
They took a deserved lead after a few close calls when Steede dribbled to the touchline and pulled back to leave Douglas with a tap-in from close range.
Cougars’ joy was short-lived, though, as Village made an immediate response from the ensuing kick off as Hollis brought the teams level after being played through by Jaizel Smith-Deshield’s defence-splitting pass.
Cougars regained the lead after the break through Steede’s sublime effort. The forward charged into the box and drilled a shot into the top corner after Village failed to clear their lines.
However, Village are made of sterner stuff these days and their persistence paid off when Bean scored with a low strike from 30 yards that Ricardo Brangman, the Cougars goalkeeper, should have saved.
Brangman redeemed himself when he repelled Demetre Daniels’s fiercely struck free kick from outside of the area, while at the other end his opposite number Tahj Bell did well to save Battersbee’s volley.
Cougars were struck by a double whammy after losing Battersbee and Williams in quick succession and, before they had time to reorganise, Bean sneaked through the back door and slotted in the winner.
Hollis blew a golden opportunity to kill the game off when he dragged wide after wriggling his way in the box.
Village suffered a late setback of their own when defender Azende Furbert went off after taking a blow to the head.
Cougars nearly grabbed an equaliser in stoppage time, but Bell was equal to the task as he denied substitute Mark Steede from point-blank range.
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