Cougars and Town off to a flyer
Devonshire Cougars and Dandy Town enjoyed perfect starts to the new season with victories in their respective Dudley Eve Trophy groups at Bernard Park yesterday.
Cougars secured a 2-0 victory against Boulevard in group B, courtesy of goals in each half from Shakii Pearman and a penalty from Drewonde Bascome, while Town run riot against X-Roads in group A, with Jahnazae Swan’s first-half opener being added to after the interval by Angelo Simmons, Clay Darrell, Oneko Lowe, Jahtino Richardson-Martin and Jahkari Furbert to complete the 6-0 rout.
The latter’s emphatic victory is one that assistant manager Aaron Denkins believes was just rewards for Town’s hard work over the summer and he believes sends out a real stark warning to their rivals.
“This game is really a reflection of all our hard work over the summer,” Denkins said. “They started early and I think it really showed out there.
“We brought in some players in key areas which really took some pressure off the squad, particularly the goalscorers, and that was shown with the lads coming off the bench and make a major impact.
“It was a big issue for us last season, we relied too heavily on our goalscorers and now we have some more depth, the squad is certainly in better shape than last season.
“We want to win everything we can. Last season we were a little disappointed to come away where we did. We started slowly but we were happy with the second half of last year so hopefully we can build on that.
“I think we’ve put out a real sign of intent and hopefully the message will travel.”
It was an encounter that Town showed their attacking prowess, frightening power and pace on show going forwards throughout. However, for their attacking intent they only had a solitary goal lead to show for it at half-time courtesy of Swan, who raced on to Kwame Steede’s pass in the 27th minute before his cool to slot under Dashun Cooper.
However, Town showed their ruthless side after the interval with a flurry of goals. First captain Simmons won and then confidently dispatched from the spot, a minute after the restart, before the third goal arrived after 70 minutes as two substitutes combined with Furbert winning the ball in midfield and finding Darrell, with a deep cross, who dispatched brilliantly with a first-time volley over Cooper.
The fourth arrived just two minutes later as another substitute, Lowe, raced clear, rounded Cooper, not once, but twice, before slotting home. The fifth arrived in the 77th minute and courtesy of another spot kick, won by Swan and emphatically dispatched by Richardson-Martin, before Furbert capped proceedings, two minutes from time, finding himself free in the area to slot a left-footed effort past Cooper.
While less clinical than Town, Devonshire Cougars were no less dominant as they overcame Boulevard, helped by a fortuitous opener from Pearman after 16 minutes, whose inswinging corner from the left managed to allude everyone, including the Boulevard goalkeeper, who could only watch on as the ball ended up in the net.
Further chances came and went, including a disallowed Bascome effort and Pearman hitting the woodwork directly from another inswinging corner, before Devonshire wrapped up victory in the 61st minute as Darren Williams drove into the area before hauled down. Bascome stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.
“We played well overall,” Vance Browne, the Devonshire head coach, said. “We started strongly and overall I’m pleased with he win.
“We have brought some good players in, plus the players we had already and so we’ll be looking for a strong season.
“It was our first competitive game and so there was certainly things that we can learn from and take forward.”
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