Bather steals Stovell’s thunder
Paget 2 Robin Hood 2
Robin Hood needed two goals from defender Jaylon Bather to prevent Paget from pulling off a major upset at Southampton Oval, where Dion Stovell’s brilliant volley late in the second half looked like earning the home team all three points.
However, Bather, whose foul on Stovell would lead to Akale Bean netting the opener, twice erased the lead taken by Paget in an exciting contest between two teams that finished second in different divisions last season.
Robert Lee, the Paget coach, admits he would have been happy with a share of the points going into the match against one of the division’s favourites.
“I guess I would have taken it, yeah,” Lee said after his team held on for ten added minutes at the end of a keenly contested match. “Robin Hood have been spanking everybody; I’m glad to come away with the draw.
“I think we should have had the three points, but that’s football. The guys dug real deep today. We’ve been working on that in training, trying to get them fitter and moving the ball quicker. I saw a bit of that out there today, so there is progress we’re making.”
Paget, who picked up their first win last weekend when Stovell scored twice in a 4-1 win over Boulevard, absorbed some early pressure from Hood before settling into their rhythm and taking the lead.
Stovell collected a pass on the left flank and raced into the box with Bather in pursuit before being knocked over, giving referee Anthony Francis an easy decision to award a penalty. Bean’s kick was saved by Dale Eve diving to his right, but the taker was quickly on hand to convert the rebound.
Hood equalised four minutes into the second half when a ball was knocked back into the box after a free kick and Bather was left with just goalkeeper Jason Smith to beat, Krishun Hill-Tuzo having miskicked his attempted clearance.
Robin Hood, who brought on captain Lejuan Simmons early in the second half, found new momentum as they enjoyed a good spell midway through the half. However, Paget were still threatening, too, as Delente Frost’s first-time left-foot shot from the corner of the box drew a good save from Eve at his near post. Moments later, Paget thought they had a penalty when the ball appeared to hit the hand of Aaron Nelson. Francis, with the whistle in his mouth, ignored the appeals.
At the other end, Smith made a point-blank save from substitute Simmons as the game hung in the balance.
Paget struck a spectacular second goal in the 76th minute when a cross from the left by Diaje Hart was met first time by Stovell. The shot from 20 yards flew inside Eve’s right-hand post with the former Stoke City goalkeeper helpless.
Stovell knows this ground well as the Southampton Rangers cricket captain and it was a goal deserving of being the winner.
“That was world-class, I clapped from the side, even though it was against my team,” said Hood coach John Barry Nusum, who brought himself on in the 83rd minute, just before Hood scored their second equaliser.
“That was definitely a class goal. I haven’t seen one like that in Bermuda. You have to watch TV for those.”
After Jason Smith pulled off a brilliant save to prevent a curling free kick from Antwan Russell finding the top far corner in the 84th minute, Hood netted from the resulting corner to preserve their unbeaten start to the season, with Bather’s header going into the same top corner at the near post.
“We’ll be working on that, too, set-pieces,” Lee said of the corner that denied his team a second straight victory.
Nusum admits he was impressed with the fight put up by Paget, insisting they never took the win for granted against the promoted side. “Paget have some experienced players at the back and I knew they were going to be defensive,” he said, referring to central pair Robert Richardson and McQuinn Burch.
“Once you don’t break through a defensive team after 30, 40 minutes, and they go up one, it changes the landscape of the game. We knew we were in for a fight, a small pitch and them having solid guys at the back.
“In the first half we looked lethargic, then in the second half we put a bit more fight into it.”
Bean 30, Stovell 76
Bather 49, 84
Paget (4-4-2): J Smith — J Carpenter, M Burch, R Richardson, D Frost — T Welch, D Hart, K Hill-Tuzo, S Richardson (sub: K Smith, 61min) — D Stovell (sub: M Piper, 81), A Bean (sub: D Smith, 90). Substitutes not used: S Worrell, J Beach. Booked: Frost.
Robin Hood (4-4-2): D Eve — J Pereira, J Bather, D Williams, D Andrade (sub: L Simmons, 58) — A Nelson, T Goater, P Parsons, C Castle — S Smith (sub: J Nusum, 83), A Russell. Substitutes not used: T Bean, L Symonds, C Ricca, R Wray. Booked: Nelson.
Referee: A Francis.