Duo can take advantage of rivals loss
X-Roads and Robin Hood are no doubt grateful to Dandy Town for taking three points off champions PHC in midweek, now they have a job to do themselves when they meet at Garrison Field tomorrow in a top-of-the-table Premier Division clash.
X-Roads hold on to top spot on goal difference over the Zebras with Hood just a point back in the three-team title race which could see the lead change hands again this weekend.
Hood have not led the tables this season, after dropping points in drawn matches with Devonshire Cougars, Paget and PHC, though they are now the only unbeaten Premier Division team in the league.
“I don’t mind at all, last year we led the league for a long period and PHC still overtook us and we never got back on top,” said John Barry Nusum, the Hood coach. “We’ll trail and chase it. It’s no problem for us to do that.”
What Nusum would like to see from his team is to continue their good run. “We’ve had a good run, the problem is the draws in between which has slowed our pace up,” he acknowledged.
It is definitely going to be a good game, I know they are coming to play and we’re coming to do the same.
“In any top-of-the-table match, regardless of who is it, you have to respect the team. They are scoring goals and hopefully we can do our job and come out on the other side with a win.”
Robin Hood, who recently landed a first Dudley Eve title when they beat Somerset 2-0 in the final, are unbeaten in all competitions since their season-opening Charity Cup loss to PHC on September 2.
During the first month of the season they made scoring look easy by smashing in seven goals in each of their two Dudley Eve group matches against Somerset and Devonshire Cougars.
Now they will come up against a team that has been scoring freely all season themselves, thanks to striker Donavan Thompson, who has managed at least a goal every game he has played so far this season ... 16 in all in eight league games.
Nusum respects the striker and his team’s achievements so far, but does not have any specific plan to stop him. “To be honest we just have to play our game, really,” he stressed.
“I say it all the time that as long as we are focused and do what we have to do as a team, I’m not too concerned with one player.
“Our focus is always on us. Can we play to the level that we are expecting ourselves to play at? And if we do then we’re okay. We’re getting the results we need and we’re happy with where we are.”
After Hood, just four points separate the next six teams in the standings, with BAA climbing up to fourth after their 6-3 win over Devonshire Cougars on Thursday night. Keishen Bean took his tally in the league to ten goals with his hat-trick while Alan Douglas netted all three Cougars goals before being sent off in the second half.
In other games tomorrow, PHC will be looking to bounce back against Paget at Southampton Oval while Boulevard play North Village at St David’s and bottom team Somerset host Dandy Town in what is already a must-win situation for them. They are eight points adrift at the bottom, having picked up just a lone point so far.
A three-team promotion battle is developing in the First Division where top two sides Southampton Rangers and Somerset Eagles remain unbeaten. There is a six-point gap between Hamilton Parish, third, and Wolves in fourth, and Eagles will hope to hold on to second place when they meet Wolves at Garrison Field.
Leaders Rangers play Devonshire Colts at Southampton Oval where one more win or draw would take their unbeaten league run to a season-and-a-half, while Hamilton Parish take on Flanagan’s Onions at Goose Gosling Field.
In the other matches, St George’s play Ireland Rangers at Wellington Oval and St David’s and Vasco will meet for the second straight weekend with Vasco hoping to follow on from their first win of the season last weekend in the Shield competition with a first league win.
Vasco beat St David’s 8-7 on penalties last weekend after the match ended 3-3 in extra time. St David were forced to play the entire match with ten players.